Vietnam is basking in its new-found confidence.
It is one of the fastest growing economies in East Asia. In 2007, Vietnam is expected to grow by 8.5% and reduce poverty rate to 14.7%. It is likely to grow by 8.5-9.0% in 2008. It is targeting to reduce the poverty rate to 11-12% by the end of 2008.
Other than economic development, Vietnam has also gained some political prominence by winning one of the seats as a non-permanent United Nations (UN) Security Council member. This is the first timeVietnam is in the UN Security Council and it will be a member from 2008 to 2009.
Vietnam has potential to play a greater role in international diplomacy. Its model of socio-economic development without political liberalisation is likely to be attractive to both the Myanmar military government and even North Korea. This week, Vietnam hosted a visit by North Korean Premier Kim Yong-il. Both countries also signed tourism and agriculture deals. Some Korean analysts believed that there is currently great interest in North Korea in Vietnam’s way of economic reform.
The Vietnamese government is also considering participating in UN peace-keeping operations. The general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee, Nong Duc Manh said that in its term in the UN Security Council, Vietnam focus on realising the Millennium Development Goals, especially accelerating poverty reduction and educational generalization, improving health of mothers and children, controlling diseases and protecting environment.
Despite maintaining that Vietnam is different culturally and politically from the United States, the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung assured a delegation of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom that the government would be willing to listen and enter into dialogues with the US. This is s clear reflection of Vietnam’s increasing confidence and participation in international society. (5 November 2007)
A country finds its standing (Straits Times, 2 November 2007)
N Korea's envoy gets a glimpse of the future: New world beckons on premier's mission (South China Morning Post, 2 November 2007)
Vietnam ready to have religious dialogue with U.S. (People’s Daily, 24 October 2007)
Vietnam to have stronger voice in int'l affairs: top leaders (People’s Daily, 24 October 2007)
Vietnam strives for stronger economic development in 2008 (People’s Daily, 24 October 2007)
Reclusive N.Korea engages in a flurry of diplomatic activity (Straits Times, 3 November 2007)