Vietnam’s priorities after winning UNSC non-permanent seat
Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh has stressed the need to further boost the role of multilateralism in an interview granted to Vietnam News Agency's reporter after Vietnam won a seat on the UNSC.
Vietnam’s highest priority during its term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for 2020-2021 would be promoting multilateralism and compliance with international law in addressing global challenges regarding peace and security, said a senior official.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh made the affirmation in an interview with the press after Vietnam was elected to the UNSC for the 2020-2021 term with 192 approval votes out of the 193 UN member states.
Minh said the UNSC is one of the main organs of the UN and has primary responsibility for global affairs, especially peace and security, and Vietnam’s contributions to the council would be in line with the UN’s agenda.
“Vietnam also wants to leverage its past experience to resolve issues of great concern, such as post-conflict reconstruction, women and children in conflicts or dealing with unexploded ordnance,” he said.
“And of course, participating in the UN also means that we seek to contribute our part to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region and the world at large that is conducive to the country’s own development,” the Deputy PM added.
Regarding Vietnam’s efforts to achieve the proud election results, Minh said the country’s decision to join the UNSC is indeed significant, as it shows Vietnam’s improved global standing and its commitment to global responsibilities as a member of the UN and the international community.
Vietnam’s candidature to the highest organ of the UN reflects its desire to contribute to one of the world’s most urgent matter, which is to maintain peace, stability and security, he stressed.
Vietnam’s upcoming term in 2020-2021 will be the second after its very first stint in the council in 2008-2009. Vietnam’s contributions and performance of the duties during the first time serving in the council have been widely recognised and appreciated, which certainly helped the nation obtain high confidence from other countries as Vietnam ran for the position for the second time, evidenced by the landslide vote.
However, Vietnam’s candidature and eventual election to the UNSC must not be thought to be a “foregone conclusion”, this is a fruit of the country’s proactive efforts over the last ten years to maintain Vietnam as the sole candidate for the entire Asia-Pacific region, he elaborated.
According to the Deputy PM, it has to be said that competition is fierce between the member countries from the same group in running for a seat in the council. There was a time when no country received the required number of votes even after 140 rounds to represent the group of countries to be elected to the council. Over the past ten years, of course there were times when a few powerful countries in the region made moves to prepare for the election but with skilful approaches and measures, Vietnam has managed to persuade them, ensuring its status as the sole candidature for the Asia-Pacific region. This serves as a clear demonstration of other countries’ trust in Vietnam’s full capabilities to handle the duties as a member of the UNSC.
On the main challenges facing Vietnam as it assumes the role, Minh said in the UNSC, it is important that the five permanent and the ten non-permanent members coordinate and cooperate effectively to address issues of concern, and make sure that any issue put before the council receives unanimity in the best case scenario.
According to the Deputy PM, at the UNSC, 90 percent of all issues on the table can be resolved if there is a consensus, which ensures that the implementation of the UNSC’s resolutions will be effective. If a resolution fails to achieve consensus or gets vetoed by a permanent council member, that means there is a split of opinion amongst the members and that is something Vietnam needs to keep in mind to avoid such cases. Vietnam’s duty is to connect the members of the council to build consensus at the highest level.
There are also issues that may force council members to take a stance, which means that Vietnam will need to be careful in its deliberations to arrive at a suitable decision, he added.
Minh also noted that as Vietnam will also assume the rotating Chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2020, Vietnam will seek to further enhance the cooperation between the UN, or the UNSC, with regional organisations, including ASEAN. This is also high on the UN’s agenda so when Vietnam takes the leadership of ASEAN in 2020, the country will be in a great position to push for the realisation of this goal.
Of course, 2020 will surely be a busy and challenging year for Vietnam, as it will undertake the role of ASEAN chair and the rotating presidency of the UNSC from the beginning of the next year, he concluded.