Top 9 foreign affairs events of 2017 selected by TGVN

Update: 14:54 | 04/01/2018
The successful organisation of APEC Vietnam 2017; a year packed with bilateral visits; celebrations marking diplomatic relations with key partners; honouring 40 years as a member of the United Nations – just some of the key events in Vietnam's foreign policy in 2017. Let's remember the top 9 foreign affairs events of 2017 chosen by The World & Vietnam Report.
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1 - Successful hosting of APEC Vietnam 2017

Vietnam’s most important foreign affairs event of 2017 was undoubtedly the hosting of the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Da Nang, which was lauded as a comprehensive success. As the host, Vietnam succeeded in promoting the common interest of member economies with the theme “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future” and 4 priorities that were supported by other members.

top 9 foreign affairs events of 2017 selected by tgvn
President Tran Dai Quang and spouse with APEC Economic Leaders and their spouse.

Vietnam’s biggest achievement was to maintain the APEC goals in an increasingly complex global political climate. The country took different approaches to issues in economics, trade, investment and other sectors, establishing Vietnam’s role and position in the international arena.

2 - Year of bilateral visits

It can be said that 2017 was a year of important bilateral visits. Highlights were the visits by U.S. President Donald Trump (11-12 Nov), General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping (12-13 Nov), the King and Queen of Japan (28 Feb - 5 Mar), Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (16-17 Jan), Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. President Trump’s visit took place during his first year as President, and Vietnam was Chinese Premier Xi Jinping’s first foreign destination immediately following the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

top 9 foreign affairs events of 2017 selected by tgvn
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping. (Photo: Trung Hieu)

Also in 2017, the leaders of Vietnam paid a number of historical visits to other countries: Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s official visits to China (12-15 Jan); Indonesia (22-24 Aug) and to Myanmar (24-26 Aug); President Tran Dai Quang’s visits to Belarus, Russia (26 Jun - 1 Jul); Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visits to the United States (29-31 May) and Japan (4-8 Jun).

His trip to Washington D.C. marked Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc's first visit as the head of the government and the first contact between leaders of Vietnam and the U.S. since the latter formed a new government. With Japan, 2017 was a record year for visits made by the two countries. Among them, the arrival of the Emperor and Empress of Japan was long-awaited.

3 - Celebrating diplomatic ties with key partners

To commemorate the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Friendship and Cooperation Agreement, the two countries celebrated 2017 as the "Vietnam-Laos, Laos-Vietnam Friendship Year" with a series of meaningful events held in both countries. Also, Vietnam held many events to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic ties with Cambodia, 45 years of diplomatic ties with India and 25 years of diplomatic ties with the Republic of Korea.

4 - Vietnam - a responsible partner regionally and internationally

2017 marks 40 years since Vietnam joined the United Nations (UN) and 22 years as a member of ASEAN, marking a milestone in Vietnam’s active and responsible participation in the international arena. UN Resident Coordinator Kamal Malhotra highly regarded Vietnam’s initiatives in promoting inclusive growth.

5 - Making impressions at regional forums and international organisations

Last year, veteran diplomats with resounding "victories" contributing to the success of Vietnam's years of multilateral diplomacy have been elected to international and regional organisations: Ambassador Nguyen Hong Thao, the first Vietnamese elected to the International Law Commission; Ambassador Duong Chi Dung, Head of the Vietnamese Permanent Mission to the UN was elected as Chairman of the WIPO General Assembly; Ambassador Hoang Anh Tuan, elected as the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN; Ambassador Phan Kieu Thu elected as the Colombo Plan’s Secretary General. Additionally, in 2017, Vietnam had its first candidate running for Director General of UNESCO. All these achievements have underlined Vietnam’s rising status, international prestige and the recognition of the international community for the positive and responsible contributions of our country.

6 - TPP-11 revived as CPTPP

top 9 foreign affairs events of 2017 selected by tgvn
Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh and Japanese Minister of Economy Toshimitsu Motegi at the announcement of CPTPP at APEC 2017, Da Nang. (Photo: AP)

After the U.S. withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), increasing the risks of division and protectionism, Vietnam and 10 other APEC member economies agreed to adopt the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to promote free trade. The CPTPP represents the great efforts of the 11 member countries to promote economic development, create jobs, improve people's well-being, facilitate trade and cooperate with countries in the Pacific area. The CPTPP accounts for about 15% of global GDP, 15% of global trade and 500 million people.

7 - An impressive year for Vietnam’s economy

The General Statistics Office officially announced Vietnam’s GDP growth in 2017 as rising by 6.81% compared to 2016. Unlike previous years, GDP growth didn’t depend on mining, crude oil or credit. Instead, the country’s growth came from the export industry (reaching a record US$213.77 billion), the import-export turnover hitting a sensational US$400 billion; the industrial sector showing clear signs of recovery; FDI attraction was at nearly US$36 billion, of which a record US$17.5 billion was disbursed, the highest in 10 years. The growth of the stock market reached 40%, making Vietnam one of the world's largest stock markets.

8 - 2 new Intangible Heritages and 1 Documentary Heritage

With UNESCO moving Bai Choi singing of Central Vietnam and Xoan singing of Phu Tho from the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding to the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Vietnam continues to affirm its rich cultural identity. Now, Vietnam has a total of 11 Intangible Heritages recognised by UNESCO.

top 9 foreign affairs events of 2017 selected by tgvn
A performance of Bai Choi Singing.

Also in 2017, with unique values of content and form such as originality, authenticity and international influence, royal documents from the Nguyen dynasty were officially recognised as a UNESCO world documentary heritage. Previously, in 2014, the documents were recognised as a UNESCO Asia-Pacific documentary heritage.

9 - Winning year for Vietnamese sports

According to the Vietnam Sport Administration, in 2017, Vietnam won 46 gold medals, 39 silver medals and 31 bronze medals at the international level; 64 golds, 50 silvers, 44 bronzes in the Asian arena; and 315 golds, 212 silvers and 244 bronzes in South East Asia. Highlights were the achievements of the Vietnamese team at the SEA Games 29, breaking 12 SEA Games records and ranking third among the 11 countries in attendance. 2017 was also the first time Vietnam competed in the FIFA U20 World Cup. Additionally, 6 national football teams got a chance to play in the Asian Cup 2018, including the Women’s national team, Men’s national team, U23 national team, U19 national team, U16 national team and the Futsal national team.

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