Việt Nam responds to US-ASEAN summit rumours, not being invited to the US-led Summit for Democracy

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Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Việt Nam Lê Thị Thu Hằng during Thursday press briefing from Hà Nội. — Photo from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam is committed to building a Socialist democracy and stands ready to talk with the US on any differences, the foreign ministry spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng said in response to queries on Việt Nam not being among the invitees to the US-led Summit for Democracy.

The virtual event held on December 9 and 10, chaired by US President Joe Biden and is slated to be followed by a year of action before an in-person summit later in 2021, saw the participation of 112 countries and territories.

Addressing reporters yesterday during a regular press briefing held virtually from Hà Nội, Hằng said Việt Nam’s policy is to build “a Socialist democracy in tandem with upholding people’s rights to democracy in all aspects of their social life.”

This is in line with the Constitution and the laws of Việt Nam and is guaranteed under the leadership of the Communist Party of Việt Nam, she noted.

“It offers a means for the people to exercise their rights to freedom and equality, and identifies the people as the one who can exercise this power,” Hằng said.

In recent years, Việt Nam has been continually making every effort to improve its legal system pertaining to human rights, joining international treaties, and promoting economic cooperation in junction with social equality, and constantly striving to better people’s living standards, the Vietnamese diplomat has underlined.

She added that Việt Nam’s efforts have brought about great achievements and “earned recognition and praise from the international community.”

Most recently, in a cycle of the universal periodic reviews, many countries have followed with keen interest and attended the sessions pertaining to Việt Nam, according to Hằng.

Many countries have welcomed Việt Nam’s efforts and accomplishments, voiced their support for Việt Nam’s approach, as well as “put forth numerous constructive recommendations,” Hằng remarked.

On whether the snub would affect bilateral ties, Hằng said Việt Nam-US comprehensive partnership has witnessed significant developments in recent times.

She said: “Việt Nam is always willing and ready to discuss with the US issues of mutual interests, to increase mutual understanding, strengthen cooperation on the basis of candidness, openness, and mutual respect, and contribute to the enhancements of the comprehensive partnership between the two countries.”

On a related note, in response to reports claiming that US President Joe Biden is planning to host an in-person summit with ASEAN leaders in Washington in January next year, Hằng sad Việt Nam has “received the information on the US’ wish to convene a summit with ASEAN leaders” and ASEAN members are actively discussing the matter.

“It should be noted that foreign affairs are important to ASEAN and for the ASEAN Community building efforts,” she said.

ASEAN, and Việt Nam in particular, are always willing to engage in dialogue and cooperation with partners, including the US, on the basis of equality, and mutual respect, towards shared peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the region and in the world, according to Hằng.

Also in response to a question asking for Việt Nam’s reaction towards US Government along with some of its Western allies’ ‘political boycott’ of China’s 2022 Olympic Winter Games over alleged human rights issues, the Vietnamese diplomat said the Olympics as an international sporting event is meant to facilitate the exchange and increase solidarity, friendship and mutual understanding between nations of the world.

“In the spirit, Việt Nam hopes that all countries would contribute to the success of the event,” Hằng added.

The Olympics Winter Olympics Games is due to take place in Beijing, China, and the neighbouring province Hebei, in February next year. — VNS

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