Vietnam’s new diplomacyVietnam is actively pursuing pragmatic diplomacy. President Nguyen Minh Triet of Vietnam visited the United States, the first visit by a Vietnamese president in the 32 years since the end of the Vietnam War. President Triet announced that the United States is a partner of his country. One month ago, President Triet visited China and discussed drawing borderlines and enhancing investment. The Asian country is pursuing pragmatic diplomacy to guarantee its security and receive economic aid.
During his visit to the United States, President Triet made it clear that Vietnam prioritizes the future over the past, and national interests over ideology. Before his visit, the country ran a full-page ad in a U.S. newspaper, wishing that friendship and cooperation between the two countries would last forever. At the meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush, the Vietnamese president underscored that his nation is a very good country to invest in. In response to some American citizens’ criticism about the Vietnamese human rights issues, he answered calmly. He showed that if Vietnam wants to survive, it must not cling to its wounds from the past and it needs U.S. cooperation.
Vietnam’s pragmatic line began some 20 years ago when it adopted the first reform policy, doi moi, in 1986. Since then, the country accelerated reform and opened its doors by attracting foreign investment and privatizing state companies. In particular, the country did its best to improve its relationship with the United States. Vietnam cooperated fully with the United States in the search for remains of missing U.S. soldiers from the Vietnam War. In return, the United States lifted economic sanctions on Vietnam fully and granted favorable trade between the two countries. Vietnam’s economy has grown rapidly. It recorded economic growth of 8.2 percent last year and it is expected to maintain that pace until 2015. Last year, the volume of foreign investment was $10 billion and that is predicted to double this year.
These achievements brought by the Vietnamese leadership send a powerful message to both South and North Korea. Last year, the volume of foreign investment in South Korea was merely $3.6 billion. This is a pity. It is because the incumbent government has clung to hollow ideologies that emphasize cooperation between people of the same nationality and a project to uncover suspicious historical events. North Korea too must see that Vietnam has never imposed threats on international society with nuclear weapons.