DPM Dam’s remarks at 20th int’l conference on Asia future
08:51 | 26/05/2014
VGP – The following is the full remarks of Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam at the 20th international conference on the future of Asia held in Tokyo on May22.

I would like to begin by thanking the Organizers for inviting me to attend and address at this prestigious forum.

This conference takes place in a context where peace, cooperation and development remain the prevailing trend, whilst security and the political situation are faced with complexities and dangers.

Asia continues to experience dynamic development, yet challenges and hidden dangers remain.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Looking back over its thousands of years of history, Asia, once the cradle of human civilization has undergone many wars and conflicts. The cultural, ethnic, religious and political diversity and differing development levels of Asian countries present both opportunities and challenges in the future.

Since the late of 20th century, many Asian countries have progressed by leaps and bounds, giving rise to the "Asian Miracle".

Experience has shown that the transformation of economic institutions has served as an engine for development in many Asian countries, and the future development of Asia requires further changes and transformation.

Many Asian countries are facing emerging issues of sustainable development. These include, especially the quality of growth; regional imbalances; the rich-poor gap, and lack of harmony between economic growth, social and cultural development and environmental protection.

Challenges remain inherent in Asia and across the world in addressing transnational issues such as epidemics, disasters, and threats to peace, cooperation and development.

Apart from national endeavors, enhancing the cohesion between countries is extremely important. On that note, I would like to stress the following:

Firstly, policy coordination

The recent global financial crisis and economic downturn pointed to the fact that all economies need to strengthen their sustainability and resilience.

This will be made possible by further liberalization, not by going back to protectionism.

We need to move forward with integration and increase linkages between economies to ensure effective allocation and utilization of resources.

Policy coordination towards a greater level of economic openness will increase capital and technology inflows to developing countries whilst expanding markets and the space for growth for those more developed.

The emergence of regional and inter-regional FTAs such as TPP, RCEP, trade and investment agreements between ASEAN and its partners together is an appropriate way.

This helps enhance economic integration amongst Asian countries and between Asia and the rest of the world. In this spirit, Viet Nam is actively taking part in TPP and FTAs negotiations.

Secondly, transport infrastructure connectivity

This is an important topic that has been discussed at various fora. These efforts at cooperation, including the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity and projects within the framework of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) and the South Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (SAREC) have generated positive results.

Despite many regional efforts, there remain multiple “bottle-necks” and “missing links” in the road, rail, water and air transport systems.

To increase connectivity and fully implement the infrastructure system, it is essential for countries to enhance cooperation and implement comprehensive solutions to promote public private partnerships.

At the same time, it is imperative to intensify cooperation and address issues of policy and red-tape to expand and capitalize on existing transport routes between countries.

Thirdly, connectivity in science and technology development and transfer.

This is a game changer.

Global experience indicates that developing countries need to increase investment in Research and Development (R&D); integrate more deeply into the global production network and value chain; promote venture capital for new technologies; and most importantly maximize individual innovation.

Let me tell you a story. In Viet Nam, everybody knows Hai Luy, a Vietnamese farmer dubbed “Magic Lamp Genie”, who managed to relocate a newly-built house for road construction while preserving it intact. With his determination and creativity, the house was moved by a limited manpower, followed by the successful relocation of many houses, pagodas and even buildings. Since then, “Magic Lamp Genie” Hai Luy has been dubbed the ancestor of the new business of house relocation.

In developed countries, most of the inventions and innovations can be translated into production. However, many developing nations do not have such an enabling environment.

I want to tell another story about a farmer in Viet Nam who tried to create pesticide spraying helicopters for his rice field. There is no ban on self assembled helicopters, but given safety was not guaranteed, the farmer did not receive flight permit. And as a result, two helicopters of this “peasant innovator” are now on display at American and Korean museums.

I also wish to underscore that regional cooperation in Science &Technology is needed for transformation toward a greener growth model.

Developing countries have weak financial capacity while green technology requires huge start-up investment.

This requires international collaboration to create an environment conducive to technology transfer and ensure the balance between IPR protection and the need to share knowledge with poor countries and their peoples.

It would be a mistake not to mention ICT as a miracle maker that has generated enormous opportunities for socio-economic development. The Internet enables the peoples of poor countries to engage with the world. 

It is an unforgettable memory and amazing experience to see surprisingly brilliant faces of the children in a small mountainous village to discover,  for the first time in their life,  the wide world through the internet.

Cyber security has also become an increasingly complex issue given the growing threat of cyber attacks.

It is essential to forge closer cooperation amongst countries to fight cyber crime.

We need to show a clear-cut attitude towards any attempt or action to use cyber tools to instigate attacks that may cause harm to individuals, corporations, economies and even entire societies.

Fourthly, enhancing linkages in human resources development. 

The process of international integration has led to the development of the global value chain, generating new opportunities for working people.

A worker in a developing country like Viet Nam can take part in the global process of manufacturing cutting-edge equipment while still living in his small house in his village.

For this to be realized, the decisive factor is to train farmers habitually engaging with piecemeal production to become skilled workers in an industrial environment.

Nations need to increase investment and strengthen cooperation in education, especially vocational training.

Asia which is home to 60% of humanity boasts an abundant labor force, 40% of them are from rural areas. Given their hard working conditions and weather-dependent life, there is a need to equip farmers with professional skills that open up new opportunities; helping improve their lives and ensure social equality and social safety. 

Many of us may take catfish as a favorite food and may know that the Mekong River Delta of Viet Nam is producing and exporting hundreds of thousand tons of catfish. There, farmers live with fish. Yet, perhaps not many people know that a single decision on tariffs or fees in a faraway country can drive many farmers into bankruptcy and back into poverty.

Fifthly, increasing linkages in environmental protection

Although impressive achievements in economic growth have been made, many Asian nations are faced with serious pollution and depletion of natural resources. Under pressure of rapid development, it is easy to fall for the temptation of trading growth for environment.

 In the long term, not only these countries but the entire region and the world suffer from the consequences.

Like other continents, Asia is faced with the reality of climate change. And Viet Nam is one of those countries which is most affected by rising sea levels.

According to some forecasts, in the next century, we could lose 40% of the Mekong River Delta area where 1/5 of global volume of rice exports is produced, and life of millions of people could be affected.

Forging a new path towards a balance between economic growth, social advancement and protection of the environment is an urgent task.

No single country is capable of tackling them on their own. We look forward to increased cooperation to seek a long-term solution on the basis of harmony of interests.

I wish also to underline the importance of cooperation in implementing global and regional instruments on emissions, green-house gases, protection of water resources of rivers, and others.

Ladies and gentlemen,

A peaceful and cooperative environment is a must for sustainable development.

The rise of many Asian economies over past decades was closely connected with a period of peace and stability. Today, nations have become more and more inter-dependent.

We may all be aware that the location of the East Sea is of strategic importance. It is situated on the world’s leading trade route which accounts for one-fourth of the total freight, one-third of crude oil and half of gas in the world.

Recently, peace, stability, maritime security and safety, and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea have been seriously threatened, causing deep concerns in the region and the world.

Since early May, China has blatantly deployed a deep water oil rig escorted by many armed vessels, military ships and aircrafts deep within the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of Viet Nam. I would like to make clear that the Paracels islands are under Viet Nam’s sovereignty, but were occupied by China by force in 1974.

This constitutes a serious infringement on international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) between ASEAN and China.

Viet Nam strongly desires peace. We have exercised utmost restraint, sincerely shown every gesture of goodwill, and exhausted all dialogue channels to demand China to withdraw immediately the oil rig and its escorting armed vessels from the area.

However, China has failed to meet Viet Nam’s legitimate demand. On the contrary, China has increased the use of force in a more dangerous and serious manner.

Viet Nam always attaches great importance and does its utmost to enhance friendship with China. Nevertheless, we strongly protest against any infringement on our sovereignty. We are determined to take all necessary measures to safeguard our national sovereignty and national interests in line with international law. Viet Nam always exhibits our sincere desire to resolve disputes through peaceful means to maintain peace and stability in the region.

The international community has raised serious concerns about the consequences of China’s actions.

The ASEAN Ministers’ Meeting and the Chairman of the 24th ASEAN Summit have adopted declarations on the serious situation in the East Sea. This clearly manifests the unity, and the role and responsibility of ASEAN to preserve peace, stability and security in the region.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend Viet Nam’s sincere gratitude to countries, organizations and individuals for your support for our legitimate position.

We call for your continued support to ensure peace, stability, safety, maritime safety and security, and freedom of navigation in the East Sea.

Recently the people of Viet Nam have strongly protested against China’s infringement on Viet Nam’s sovereignty in the East Sea. In a few parts of Viet Nam, some individuals have manipulated the legitimate protests to violate Vietnamese law by damaging the property of enterprises including foreign-invested companies and individuals and acted against on-duty officials.

The Vietnamese Government has taken the necessary measures to prevent repetition of these actions and prosecute the people concerned.

We pledge our appropriate assistance to affected companies to recover and continue their business. Almost all have now returned to normal operation.

We pledge to continue to fully implement international commitments and to use necessary measures to ensure the safety and legitimate rights of foreign enterprises and individuals in Viet Nam.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Despite difficulties and challenges, if international law, practices and regional commitments are fully respected and responsibilities are shared, then there is a bright future for Asia.

ASEAN, once deeply divided by war, has now become the common home of all South East Asian nations.

Wars have always left sad and painful imprints in the relations between countries. However, many countries which went to war against each other have now become strategic partners and good friends.

Viet Nam – Japan relationship is a good example.

Let me share with you one more story. In 2010, following the tsunami disaster in Japan, in a mountainous district of Viet Nam, a woman traveled more than 10 kms on bare feet to offer her US$ 2 to support the Japanese people. When people asked her why, she said “I don’t know where Japan is, I only know that Japan built school for my children”.

Mutual cooperation in all areas brings not only benefits for each country but also fosters a truly close friendship between our respective peoples.

Such a good relationship is not based on similarities, but mutual understanding, sincerity, trust and above all respect for national sovereignty, international law and practices.

In Vietnamese villages, there are big and small houses, rich and poor people. Every family has its own interests; but their interests are in harmony with the common interests of the village. There are disputes. People sit down and resolve their issues. However, above all, they have to respect the country’s law as well as village practices. In the worst case, people can move away. However, it is not possible for countries. That’s why we need to strictly comply with international law and practices.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A world of peace, cooperation and prosperity is the desire of all nations and people.

The future depends on present decisions and policies.

We hope that all nations will take actions with sincerity to further promote cooperation based on mutual respect, trust and adherence to international law.

As a nation that has gone through many devastating wars, our aspirations for peace and prosperity burn ever more brightly.

Viet Nam always desires and exhausts all efforts to build and maintain peace. We welcome and support every endeavor and initiative for peace, stability, cooperation and development.

I wish you all good health and happiness, and I wish great success for the Conference.

Thank you for your attention.

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