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Deputy PM Nhan’s speech at The Future of Asia Conference VNTimes


Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan delivered a speech at the 19thInternational Conference on the Future of Asia, which took place inTokyo on May 23 under the theme: “ Asia ’s Search for Steps towardsStronger Ties and Integration.”

Following is the full text of the Deputy PM’s speech.

“It gives me great pleasure to attend the 19th InternationalConference on the Future of Asia under the theme: “ Asia ’s Search forSteps towards Stronger Ties and Integration”. I believe this topic ishighly relevant to the common endeavor of Asian countries to enhancecooperation and integration for each country’s interest and the commonbenefit of the region and the world.

“I wish tothank the Nikkei Newspaper for giving me the opportunity to address thisprestigious forum to share with you some ideas on the cooperation pathsto forge a better future for our continent in an integrated world.

“Rapid and unpredictable developments have been unfolding in theregional and world situation with the emergence of many new issues andnew opportunities affecting the future of our region and the world.These issues and opportunities are no longer limited to traditionaldomains like economics, politics, military etc. They have expanded tonon-traditional areas such as environment pollution, climate change,water resources utilization, cyber security, maritime security andsafety and so on. Thus, we are required to adopt new approaches andideas on integration and connectivity.

“It is theview of many that dynamic development makes up the character of Asianeconomies. This view reflects the truth but the causes of it have notyet explained clearly. In my opinion, the growth over the long period oftime and dynamics of many Asian economies lie on five factors: thedriving forces from the domestics and international markets, thecooperation and integration among countries as the basic policy ofgovernments, the similarities of cultures, the geographical proximityand the role of Government in management of national economies. In thecontext of international globalization and integration, although havingdifferent development levels, the Asian countries has long prioritizedon cooperation and integration.

“What happened inAsia showed that cooperation and integration can only last if theinterests of each country are harmonized with the interests of othercountries and the common interests of the entire region.

“Joining a regional cooperation mechanism is one way to buildconfidence, hence, diminish the risk of conflict. Reality shows that ininternational relations, “confidence” and “cooperation” areinter-related. “Confidence” provides the basis for “cooperation”, whilelatter helps build and strengthen the former. More cooperation andconfidence means less likelihood of conflict and better promotion ofdevelopment for individual country and the entire region. Hence, VietNam has always actively and responsibly participated in the regionalcooperation and integration frameworks.

“Thecooperation among countries which is based on the works of governmentsand mutual political trust not only has the role in formulating andrealizing the economic opportunities with market signals but alsoforming a collaboration among non-economic areas such as politics,climate change, education and training, health-care, science andtechnology, national defense, transportation safety, cyber security,anti-terrorism and cultural exchange …

“TheVietnamese has a proverb that reads: “one tree alone makes no mountain;three trees together make a high mountain”, or “In unity there isstrength”. It means solidarity and cooperation always generate power.

“At the regional level, in order to overcome theexisting formidable challenges and fulfill potentials, I believe we needto promote cooperation and integration in the following 3 directions:

“First, solidify and promote the existing cooperationmechanisms within ASEAN, among ASEAN with other countries such asJapan , the U.S. , Russia and China …, among ASEAN membercountries with other countries, and enhance people-to-people exchangesfor trust building. It has been proved that trust is the basic elementand the precondition for countries to forge closer bonds and joinefforts to overcome challenges.

“Second, deepenrelations among countries via economic integration and promotion ofFTAs. In relations among nations, economic interest is a core element.Therefore, strengthened economic cooperation also helps create apeaceful and stable environment in the region.

“Third, encourage cooperation on education and training, science andtechnology, climate change mitigation, utilization of common waterresources, cyber security, economic development and poverty alleviation.This is key to the building of a world of equality, peace anddevelopment.

“The evolutions taking place in Asia –Pacific testify to the fact that cooperation and integration is anobjective imperative and the best way to overcome challenges and realizethe development potentials of each country, together build an Asia ofpeace, stability and development. This is because interest of eachindividual nation is invariably linked to that of others; development ofan economy will contribute to the common prosperity of the entireregion. Promoting cooperation and economic integration at multi-levelswould also help maintain a peaceful and stable environment essential toeach and every nation.

“The past years have seenAsia- Pacific’s far-reaching effective cooperation at various levels andin different areas. Much has been achieved, but we all know thatchallenges ahead are daunting. In order to continue maintaining dynamicgrowth, hence contributions to a more stable and prosperous region, weneed to strengthen cooperation and integration in the six followingareas:

“First, intensify trade and investmentliberalization along with risk minimization of financial investment.Asia-Pacific economies have been taking the lead in promoting trade andinvestment liberalization. The ratio of export and import of goods andservices of the regional economies averaged at some 21 percent of GDPin 2009 and have been continuing to grow on a year-to-year basis. Incase of Vietnam today, it is over 130 percent of GDP . However, westill need to develop a more reliable system of financial statistics toprovide timely data on the investment inflows in and outflows from eacheconomy, which gives the essential basis for risk assessment of thefinancial market and establishment of financial monitoring system in theregion and in the world. Until today, national statistics from alldeveloped countries such as USA , Germany , Switzerland , UK ,Canada , France , Japan and Singapore provide no data oninternational financial investment in their economies.

“Second, ensure the manpower supply for developed countries, whichhave aging population, and for developing countries, which lackhigh-skilled labor force. Human resources play an important role, evendecisive in the pace and quality of all economies’ growth. In Asia –Pacific, some economies have abundant human resources while others havehuge demand for importing trained and highly skilled labor. To supporteach other, we need to establish mechanisms and common regulations forpromoting demand-based human resource development and create a managedflow of labor, which ensure mutual sustainable benefits amongstakeholders.

“Third, step up the development ofgoods transport services. Transport is important foundation forpromoting trade and investment. With the average growth rate of 5.6% in2012 and the share of 40% of world economy, Asia – Pacific has hugedemand for developing goods transport services in a unified manner, fromplanning of sea port system to training of human resources and ensuringmaritime security and safety. According to the past experiences a 5%growth of economy might require a 10% growth of transportation capacity.We should make together faster and more efficient so thattransportation capacity becomes the launch, but not a bottle neck foreconomic growth.

“Fourth, work together insustainable management and exploitation of water resources. Asia is hometo many big rivers, such as Ganga and Mekong . However, populationgrowth, economic development, change of land use pattern and climatechange have made the already scarce water resources become ever scarcer.The distribution of water resources is normally not dependent uponadministrative boundary. Therefore, management of water resources mustbe conducted based on river basin. Exploitation, utilization anddevelopment of water resources must be closely combined with mutualbenefits of related countries and environment protection. Watercooperation will help us better address the issue of poverty reductionand hunger eradication, ensure social equality and security, develop theeconomy and protect the environment. For this kind of internationalcooperation, we need international regulations. This fundamentaldocumentation exists since 1997 already – the UN Convention on Law ofnon – navigational uses of international water courses. But this law isnot yet effective because so far only 30 countries have ratified this UNConvention while 35 signatures are required to make this law effectiveand bound for all countries in the world. Vietnam is preparing tojoint this UN Convention by 2015.

“Fifth, strive tominimize environment pollution and mitigate climate change. Environmentpollution and climate change are striking with increasing severity,directly threatening the fruits of development of all economies.Sea-level rise, draught, air pollution, greenhouse gas effect arethreatening lives of the Asian people, where agricultural activitiesstill account for a large proportion in the economies. It is obviousthat efforts by a single country are not enough. More than ever before,we need to strengthen cooperation and pool resources to rise above thesechallenges.

“Sixth, cooperation to ensure cybersecurity. In the era of globalization and deepened internationalintegration, the exploitation and exchange of information amongindividuals, organizations and countries have become a must. Access tofull and reliable sources of information is vital to all nations. Weneed to encourage countries with higher development level to transfertechnologies and train human resources for those of lower developmentlevel to enable poor countries to achieve sustainable development. Thisis essential for the building of a world of equality, peace anddevelopment.

“One may assert that cooperation andintegration are essential for stability and development of Asia . Tostrengthen integration and connectivity in an effective manner, we needto have a new, more comprehensive and focused approach in addition totrust-building efforts.

At present, Asia – Pacific has a numberof cooperation forums and mechanisms on issues of common interest, suchas the Asia – Pacific Water Summit, mechanisms for Mekong subregionalcooperation, Mekong – Japan , Mekong – Republic of Koreacooperation, Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum and so on. For the existingcooperation mechanisms, we should take stock of them and if possible,elaborate a common framework to facilitate information exchange andpooling of resources. For new cooperation areas, we may study togetherand create a common forum for the exchange of information, experiencesand sharing of initiatives among countries.

“On that note, I would like to propose the idea of establishing six specialized forums in the Asia region, including:

1. Asia Forum on cooperation in environment pollution minimization and climate change mitigation;

2. Asia Forum on cooperation in development of shipping services; maritime security and safety;

3. Asia Forum on cooperation in water resources protection and proper utilization;

4. Asia Forum on cooperation in cyber space security;

5. Asia Forum on cooperation in human resources development and labor abroad;

6. Asia Forum on cooperation in transparency of financial market.

“These forums aim to review and support countries’ implementation ofregulations and instruments of the United Nations on the relevantissues; to exchange information on best practices and models; toestablish a common database; to promote cooperation in research on andparticipation in establishing new instruments and regulations in therelevant areas.

“Among these forums, Vietnam andsome countries within and outside the region already had some form ofcooperation, including Japan, Republic of Korea, China, India, Malaysia,Thailand, Russia, ASEAN and the EU. I hope that these countries andcommunities a will share ideas and be willing to join us instrengthening cooperation and integration in the 6 areas above forpeace, stability and development in the region.

“Iwould like to underline more on the issue of development of shippingservices and maritime security and safety. As a responsible member ofASEAN and APEC, Vietnam is always ready to collaborate with othercountries in the region in shipping and related areas such as search andrescue, maritime safety and security.

“As a coastalcountry, Vietnam attaches great importance to the promotion ofmaritime comparative advantages for trading within and outside theregion. We have set the target of becoming a country with a strongmaritime economy. The reality of Vietnam economic development in thepast 20 years shows that a 7 percent growth of GDP requires a growthof commodity transportation by sea and port capacity by more than 15percent.

“In the framework of Asia Forum oncooperation in development of shipping services, maritime security andsafety, Viet Nam proposes that countries in the region considerestablishing an annual mechanism for substantive, open dialogue ondevelopment plan for shipping services, maritime security and safety,combating of piracy, search and rescue and information sharing, andnatural disaster warning at sea. The main objective of this mechanism isto enhance understanding, promote dialogue and cooperation betweengovernments, businesses and scholars to find effective solutions to helpensure adequate shipping service capacity, maritime security and safetyin the sea of Asia .

“ Japan is a leading economic partnerof Vietnam . It is the biggest ODA provider, the largest foreigninvestor and also the third largest bilateral trading partner ofVietnam . In 2012, Japan made up 30 percent of the total ODAcommitted to Vietnam . Many works and projects using Japan ’s ODA inenergy, transport, agriculture, rural development, and urbaninfrastructure have been completed and operationalized, contributingactively to the socio-economic development of Vietnam .

“In terms of investment, Japan has had 1,900 on-going FDI projectsin Vietnam with the total paid-up capital of over 31 billion USD. Inthe first three months of 2013 alone, Japan invested in 50 projectsof 3.1 billion USD of paid-up capital (making up 52.3 percent of thetotal FDI in Vietnam ).

“Since the establishmentof strategic partnership in 2009, relations between the two countrieshave been growing continually both in depth and in breadth. Cooperationin politics, diplomacy, and security has been expanded with newprogress. Many exchange mechanisms at all levels between the twoGovernments, people and businesses have been put in place. The twocountries also conduct regular exchanges and coordination in regionalcooperation frameworks, such as Association of South East Asia Nations(ASEAN), Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) and Cooperation between fourcountries Cambodia – Laos – Myanmar – Vietnam (CLMV).

“Relations between Vietnam and Japan rest upon the solidfoundation of trust, understanding and friendship. Bilateral ties meetthe aspirations and interests of the two peoples and actively contributeto peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and theworld.

“2013 was identified as the Vietnam –Japan Friendship Year to observe the 40th anniversary of establishmentof diplomatic relations. 2013 also marks 40-year cooperation andfriendship between ASEAN and Japan . The size and the far-reachingnature of our cooperation indicate the meanings and significance ofcooperation, integration and connectivity. Only through cooperation andintegration can we, together, find solutions for immediate challengesand build a stable, prosperous and developed Asia . That is also thereason for our gathering here today.”-VNA

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