Standing Deputy Prime Minister: Strengthening international solidarity and partnerships - key to addressing interlocking global challenges

Standing Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh delivered a speech at the general debate of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 24 (local time). The following is the full text of the remarks.

Mr. President,

1. I join others in congratulating you on your election as President of the 77th Session of the General Assembly. As Vice-President, Vietnam has full confidence in your able leadership and guidance, and will work with you to steer the work of the Assembly to success.

I thank Mr. Abdulla Shahid, President of the 76th Session, for his important contributions to the work of the General Assembly, and to Secretary-General António Guterres for the leadership and innovation instilled in the Organization over the past year.

Mr. President,

2. We are at a watershed moment in history.

Confrontation, conflicts and violations of international law continue to intensify, mirroring great power competition and unilateralism.

Global military expenditure surged to a record high of 2.1 trillion USD, while the international community fail to mobilize 100 billion USD for climate actions.

The nuclear risk reaches its highest point in decades. But that was still not enough for the NPT review conference to achieve any collective commitment to action.

The outbreak of armed conflicts and hightened tension, especially between major powers, have made the international security climate more volatile than at any point since the Cold War.

The climate crisis and other non-traditional security risks threaten our very existence.

The COVID-19 pandemic have wreaked havoc on health systems, economies and societies worldwide. Poverty, inequalities, violence and exclusion are denying the rights of millions to the basic necessities of life. With less than a decade to go, the Sustainable Development Goals are even further off track.

Facing these multiple crises, developing countries and vulnerable groups, who lack the capacity, resources and resilience to cope with external shocks, are those hardest hit.

3. To reverse this course, we must fundamentally change our ways of thinking and doing things. This entails reshaping a global approach to address global issues, enhancing resilience and placing people at the core of all development efforts.

And key to such an approach is international solidarity and partnerships at all levels.

We know this from our own history. International solidarity has been crucial for the success of Viet Nam's national liberation and reunification. Multilateralization and diversification of partnerships, meanwhile, have proven indispensable in Vietnam’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development.

They have opened the door for Vietnam to the world, and helped bring catalystic resources to propel Vietnam’s Doi moi renovation process. They have helped improved the lives tens of millions of Vietnamese and brought prosperity to a formerly war-torn country, and now confidently on a path to become a developed, high-income country by 2045.

But I believe the experience of Vietnam is not an exception. There is an abundance of stories about how solidarity and partnerships triumph over mistrust and fragmentations, and bring about positive change.

Mr. President,

4. As we move forward in the spirit of solidarity and partnerships, I wish to underline four key points:

First, a confrontational and zero-sum game approach must be eliminated. Imposition, intervention and unilateral acts have no place in the good conduct of international affairs. Major powers are particularly looked upon to behave responsibly, and work for the common good and not their own selfish interests.

Vietnam calls for strengthened multilateralism and international cooperation in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness, equality and mutual benefit. Major UN and international agendas, especially the 2030 Agenda and climate actions, must not be put on hold due to isolated disagreements among countries. We must stay focused on our common goals and responsibilities.

We stand in firm solidarity with the people of Cuba and call for the immediate lifting of the unilateral embargoes against Cuba contrary to international law.

Second, our actions, both individually and collectively, must be guided by and in accordance with international law and the UN Charter.

Vietnam firmly believes that respect for international law, especially vis-à-vis the respect for sovereign equality, political independence and territorial integrity of states, the peaceful settlement of disputes, is the most effective and viable measure to prevent conflicts and promote sustainable peace and security.

Constructive dialogue and respect for the legitimate rights and interests of all parties, in accordance with international law, are key in resolving differences and reducing tensions.

Standing Deputy Prime Minister: Strengthening international solidarity and partnerships - key to addressing interlocking global challenges
Vietnam's Standing Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh highlighted solidarity, cooperation at UN session.

Vietnam calls for the cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, and stands ready to contribute to the diplomatic process, and the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Ukraine.

Third, we need strong and effective multilateral institutions, with the UN at the heart, to best address global challenges. They are best positioned to initiate and incubate transformative ideas approaches and solutions, and to forge partnerships and mobilize resources for the implementation of those initiatives.

Vietnam welcomes the forward-looking proposals in the Secretary-General’s “Our Common Agenda” report. We will engage actively in the deliberation of these proposals, and in the preparations of the Summit of the Future and the SDG Summit. We have high hopes these Summits. These Summits will provide concrete, meaningful and long-lasting commitment and actions.

Fourth, regional organizations can pioneer and play a prominent role in bolstering multilateral cooperation.

In South East Asia, ASEAN is doing its part to help address regional and global issues. We are working to build a strong and united ASEAN Community and advance the central role of ASEAN in the regional security architecture. Building a broad and extensive network of partnerships, ASEAN has created a premier forum for strategic dialogue engaging important partners of the region, especially with major powers. ASEAN is working hard to implement the Five-Point Consensus to help find comprehensive solutions to the situation in Myanmar.

Vietnam underlines the need for maintaining peace, stability, maritime safety and security in the South China Sea, and call on all parties to resolve disputes by peaceful means, with full respect for legal and diplomatic processes. We call on parties to exercise self-restraint, refrain from unilateral activities and attempts to change the status quo, and not to threaten or use force, in accordance with international law including the UN Charter and UNCLOS 1982.

Mr. President,

5. This year Vietnam celebrates its 45th year as a member of the United Nations. Since that September day in 1977, the UN has been a trusted friend and reliable partner, standing with us in our most difficult times of post-war reconstruction and more recently in the fight against COVID-19, and accompanying us on our path of Doi moi renovation, improving our people’s lives and advancing the country’s development.

Welcoming Vietnam to the United Nations 45 years ago, President of the 32nd Session of the General Assemby highlighted Vietnam’s dedication to the purposes and principles and affirmed that, and I quote, “The admission of Viet Nam marks a further step towards consolidating peace and security in the world”, end of quote.

45 years on and these statements remain valid. Vietnam’s history and its vision for the future has always been intimately linked with the aspirations for peace and development. We have consistently supported and pursued a balanced and constructive approach in seeking lasting solutions to global issues.

As member of major UN bodies, most recently the Security Council, Vietnam has consistently underlined the importance to uphold the UN Charter and to ensure that the UN best serves the needs and interests of all members.

Our men and women are proudly serving in UN peacekeeping missions in South Sudan, Abyei and Central African Republic.

Vietnam is sparing no effort to realize our commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, an ambitious goal given the level of development and technology capacity of Viet Nam.

At the Human Rights Council, Vietnam has consistently worked to advance mutual understanding and respect, foster dialogue and cooperation. We lead efforts to promote the rights of vulnerable groups in the context of climate change.

And now we are aspiring a seat at the Human Rights Council for the term 2023-2025. I hope we can count on your valuable support, just as you can count on us as a reliable, responsible and constructive partner in the promotion and protection of all human rights, for all.

Mr. President,

Let me conclude by quoting President Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s hero of national liberation and Great Man of Culture. He said, and I quote, “Solidarity, Solidarity, Great Solidarity. Success, Success, Great Success”, end of quote.

Let us all work together in unity, solidarity and a spirit of partnership to surmount the interlocking challenges we all are facing together, in this watershed moment, for the sake of sustainable peace and development in the world.

I thank you, Mr. President.

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