The outstanding feature of the Vietnamese defense policy

What are the most striking characteristics of Vietnam's defense policy after 38 years of reunification? VietNamNet would like to introduce the translation of the interview with Deputy Minister of Defense, Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, a Party Central Committee member on Tuoi Tre Newspaper.

Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh
Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh

We would like to start the conversation from your thoughts – one of the military leaders who mature after the country’s reunification – about the historical event of April 30, 1975?

Each person, based on their particular circumstances, will have their own feelings. But there is one thing in common: it is the victory of the people of Vietnam and we are proud to pass an arduous war by the power of the entire nation. This victory has built the lasting peace, which is also a very important condition for the development of the country.

To go to the day of victory, we had to pay a very expensive price, with many people falling down. Perhaps after the April 30 victory, a few people thought that almost 40 years later, and perhaps beyond, our country must continue to make every effort to rectify the consequences of the war.

First and foremost are the psychological and emotional consequences. In addition, the war left many other consequences, such as Agent Orange, the landmine problem, finding missing martyrs ... These tasks need at least 30-40 years or longer to be completed.

You want to refer to the consequences of war to see more clearly the value of peace?

Peace is priceless, it's a peaceful life to the people, rice and warm clothing, the happiness of every family, the children's laughter, is no longer the mother who lost her children... With such simple but extremely spiritual meanings, it is well enough to see that peace is everything for us.

From the April 30 victory, we are proud, confident in the ability to protect the country, ensuring that the people of Vietnam will defeat all wars of aggression, but we must wholeheartedly keep the long peace of the country. A peace based on independence, territorial sovereignty, a peace which our people to decide our destiny.

All wars are all about peace, but that peace is peace in dependence or independence and freedom? We choose peace that the people of Vietnam are entitled to, which is peace in independence and freedom.

Things take to have peace, but there is a non-trade-off value – the national sovereignty, the right to live in independence and freedom. Moreover, to have sustainable peace, there must be independence and freedom. If we are dependent, the peace cannot last long, as cannot bring happiness to the people.

The difficulty today can make someone frustrated and question or concern whether the country can grow enough to avoid lag, enough to hold our territorial sovereignty?

In these days, looking at the April 30 victory, looking at the national spirit and ardent patriotism of the people, we have deep faith that the country will overcome all challenges to come up because we overcame long and hardship wars.

Currently, although there are obviously difficulties but there are much more convenient conditions. I do not agree when someone said that people, and especially young people are now less interested in the general issues of the country. It is absolutely not true. The problem is that we have to provide them with complete and objective information about the situation of the country, in terms of advantages as well as difficulties to create the strength of consensus.

The market mechanism affects people in many different directions, positive and negative. On the one hand we have to accept that characteristics of the development and integration, on the other hand we have to make everything transparent to the people to have the right direction.

To have sustainable peace, there must be sufficient capacity to protect the country, in terms of aggregate capacity of the country as well as characteristics of the defense. We believe to ensure that ability by the strategy on building the entire population defense. In any given moment we must always ensure self-protection, keep the territorial integrity, and not wait for new modern weapons for such assurances. The procurement of additional weapons and equipment, military modernization, strengthening the entire-people defense is to have to pay least, in the shortest time if problems occur with the Fatherland.

When at war, holding the gun to go to the battle field is dedication and sacrifice for the country, but now we need to tell young people what is dedication. When talking with my children, I often say that the most important for human is labor.

The predecessors must facilitate young people to work and dedicate with the right ability, qualifications and passion. So make sure our nation is a blessed nation, what the previous generations did, the younger generation will preserve and develop.

Whether peace, cooperation and development is a big trend, but right in our region there still exist many factors that make instability such as fiercer territorial and marine disputes. In this context, the national strength will be multiplied if we are truly tolerant and harmonious as the late Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet said?

Our people have a tradition of kindness, tolerance. The Party and State always aim to eliminate the guilt, hatred, close the past, look towards the future. As I said, every Vietnamese citizen though derive from particular situations have one in common – It is the national interest.

National unity must take the common goals as the similarities and accept differences, but not contrary to the national interest. Everyone when looking at the national interest will see and will make the similarities bigger.

In our meeting with the community of overseas Vietnamese, I always said that my greatest wish is that when they return home, they will feel that the country creates all conditions for their family reunification and for them to do business. We do not urge overseas Vietnamese to contribute to the country in one way, at first the country has to open her outstretched arms to her people.

The desire for peace can be seen in the defense policy of peace and self-defense in nature. However, on a number of regional forums, there were opinions around Vietnam’s purchase of aircrafts, submarines ... What do you think?

A country that buy weapon for defense in moderation is very normal. That procurement is in line with the economic potential of the country.

Vietnam is no exception. If you approach the purchase of weapon in military perspective, there are two features to note: First, we shop with a moderate rate, corresponding to the economic development of the country.

Second, we purchase weapons and military equipment just enough to our defense. We gradually modernize military. When military modernization in high growth, it will come back to help the country's economic development, for example, if national defense science and technology develops, it will have conditions to share resource to other areas.

According to information made public in the press, people know that Vietnam made deals with Russia to buy submarines, aircraft and military equipment from this country. This simply reflects that Russia is a prestigious weapon exporter or anything else?

This reflects that due to historical reasons, we are familiar with weapons of the former Soviet Union in the past and now the Russian Federation. Selecting weapons that are familiar with the existing maintenance system is more favorable than using the armament in the other systems.

Nowadays the sale of weapons and military equipment is normal, transparent and we have nothing to hide. We can purchase weapon of all countries, and many countries are willing to sell them to us.

It must be said that the weapons and equipment purchase should have trust between buyers and sellers. Vietnam and Russia had such a past; the current development strategy of Russia does not have a conflict with the interest for Vietnam. Russia is a strategic and a very reliable partner of Vietnam. That trust helps us to recommend the purchase of Russian armament while Russia, when Russia sell weapons to us, they also believe that we will never use the weapon to do anything contrary to their interests.

Another important reason is that Russian weapons are mainly defensive in nature. And generally, Russian weapons are very durable and have been tested over time.

A country like Vietnam needs durable weapons. We cannot change weapons continuously and Russian weapons meet that requirement. Finally, we have to say about the price, we have to find a seller with acceptable prices.

Observers commented that external activities of the Vietnam’s defense recently have become much more active. In that process, is there any country that has invited Vietnam to participate in military coalitions or set their military bases in the country?

So far no country has invited Vietnam to join military alliances or expressed a desire to put their military bases in Vietnam.

I think that the first cause of that silence is due to our initiative in making strong and consistent statement: Vietnam does not join military alliances, not allow other countries to set their military bases in our territory or use our territory against other countries, Vietnam not follow one to against the other countries.

It is the "three noes" of the Vietnamese defense policy.

How about Vietnam's perspective on participation in joint military exercises with other countries?

We should not use the word "military exercise," the word "rehearsal" is more accurate. In the current defense cooperation, there are “rehearsals,” not “military exercises,” for example, joint rehearsals on anti-terrorism, drills of maritime security protection, rehearsals on marine search and rescue.

These are cooperation of humanitarian, peaceful and constructive nature. We are ready to and have participated in such rehearsals, such as joint patrols at sea with some neighboring countries and countries in the region.

We do not participate in exercises of military nature, or the nature of threatening or attacking to a third country. We only join the rehearsals for peace and self-defense.

Does it mean that promoting defense external activities in the last few years is looking for new friends in this area?

First of all, the purpose of the defense foreign policy is to participate in the front of foreign affairs of the Party and State. The characteristic of the defense foreign policy is to create trust between countries. Nations may have a lot of cooperation fields, but cooperation in defense can enhance mutual trust. That mutual trust will return promote cooperation in other fields.

Another characteristic of defense cooperation is to directly address the risks on defense and military conflict, so we expand defense cooperation to make remote prevention.

Defense cooperation also directly serves the goal to modernize the army, acquire new knowledge to improve the qualification of our soldiers.

However, it is found that the defense cooperation must be based on the country's political stability. We have to build our defense potential strong enough to defend the country first, to have something to talk with others.

Recently, it was reported that Vietnam’s army will join the peacekeeping force of the United Nations. Can you give some details of this content?

So far, the preparation process has completed and if nothing changes, Vietnam will join the UN peacekeeping forces in the nearest time. Our aim when participating in this force is to implement the policy of Vietnam as a responsible member of the international community.

In principle, there are many but there are two basic principles: First, the activity that is truly peacekeeping, we will participate in at the request of the UN. We do not involve in the areas that are not peace making.

For example, we do not involve in the areas with wars and conflicts. We only engage in post-conflict reconstruction activities or the activities to deal with war consequences.

Second, we decide where to participate in, the level of participation, what to do and when to involve.... This is also the principle set out by the UN.

In the most recent meeting held earlier this month in Beijing, ASEAN and China realized that they should early launch formal negotiations for a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC). What do you think?

This is a good signal between ASEAN and China. We respond positively to that new move and the constructive attitude of related parties.

Of course, the important issue is that the COC will load what content, the negotiating parties to realize their commitments or not. Those who truly desire peace and stability in the East Sea are waiting for the COC to have binding provisions to urge the parties to comply with what they commit.

There are a lot of works to do. Personally I think there are two important principles: the first is international law, the second is the equality between countries.

In negotiations of the COC, it is necessary to assert and continue to strictly implement the DOC. In addition it is needed to point out the shortcomings of the DOC and the countries that do not implement what they committed.

Translated by Tran Cham


  1. What you get from his mouth is just verbal diarrhea of party line, isn't it? Get it right. The victory in 1975 came about as a result of the sudden shift in US strategies. South Vietnam was abandoned due to mounting anti war public pressure at home. Unlike China, the US did not ever intend to invade and occupy Vietnam.

    Tell us your achievements in your clandestine career as a chief spy in the General Department 2. How you spied on senior Communist comrades and made false accusations against them. Tell us about the trip to China with your Communist Party chief Le Kha Phieu, you booked a service from a pretty Chinese call girl for your boss without realising the his hotel room was bugged by Chinese intelligence and the call girl was a Chinese spy. What happened to the morning after that night what document Phieu was forced to sign. Tell us how many times you went to China as a messenger to take orders from your Chinese masters to instruct Vietnamese police to use brutal force to suppress your patriotic countrymen in the Anti China demostrations.

    1. Sounds like you're a sore loser. Most likely an ex-VNCH evil regime member.


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