Hanoi – Vietnam has announced that it is preparing to join the United Nations peacekeeping operations for the first time, signaling a shift in its attitude towards the international community.
To further contribute to UN activities, the communist nation has decided to stand for non-permanent membership in the Security Council for the 2008-2009 term.Vietnam’s ministry of foreign affairs is optimistic about their commitment. “Vietnam, an active member of the international community has been energetically participating in and making contributions to UN activities. Vietnam will share UN responsibilities in safeguarding international peace and security.” said the spokesman.
The decision came more than a decade after the idea was first raised in 1993 by former UN secretary-general Boutros Boutros-Ghali, signalling a significant change in attitude towards the UN. “A year ago, they were saying the public opinion was not ready, now they have moved forward”, cited a foreign observer.
A Vietnam expert at the Australian Defense Force Academy, Carl Thayer attributed the change of heart to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the regional pressure in supporting peacekeeping under UN auspices.
According to Mr Thayer, this pressure began in 2003 where Indonesia as chairman of the ASEAN Standing Committee raised the idea of regional peacekeeping forces. Several ASEAN members had contributed peace monitors to the Indonesian province of Aceh and the southern Philippines.
“Anything Vietnam does to participate more effectively in the activities of the international community is a good thing…it is positive if they look at things in a more global perspective”, added a foreign diplomat.
It is believed that Hanoi’s move has a good chance of succeeding but Thayer cautioned that the cost of training and English language competency may pose as obstacles. Some sources have also doubted if Vietnamese would actually send armed soldiers.
* Hanoi may take part in UN peacekeeping (The Straits Times, 7 Jan 2006)
* Vietnam mulls participation in UN peacekeeping force (Agence France Presse, 6 Jan 2006)
* Vietnam mulls participation in UN peacekeeping force (The China Post, 7 Jan 2006)
* Vietnam to partake in UN peacekeeping operations (Xinhua, 6 Jan 2006)
* Vietnam considers participation in UN peacekeeping force (ABC, 7 Jan 2006)
* VN may join UN peacekeeping force: ministry (Viet Nam News, 7 Jan 2006)
* Vietnam to run for UN Security Council membership (Nhan Dan, 8 Jan 2006)