The Government released its third White Paper on National Defense December 8 to clarify about Vietnam’s basic defense issues to promote understanding and build trust with the international community.
Speaking at the release ceremony, Deputy Defense Minister Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh said: “Vietnam has an army ‘of the people, by the people and for the people’ that is organized well, disciplined, has reasonable standing forces and large and powerful reserve forces, is trained and equipped with modern weapons, and has the ability to protect the nation’s independence, sovereignty, territory, interests, and people’s democratic regime.
“Vietnam promotes international cooperation in defense and security, seeking long-term solutions to territorial disputes and others by peaceful means, and contributing to making Southeast Asia a peaceful, stable, and prosperous region.”
The White Paper mentions the dispute in the East Sea: “Despite having enough historical evidence and a legal basis to prove Vietnam’s undeniable sovereignty over parts of the sea and islands in the East Sea, including the Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands, Vietnam is willing to negotiate peacefully to resolve the disputes based on the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
While continuing to seek long-term solutions to this issue, Vietnam wants parties to maintain self-control, conform to the ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, build a Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, and reach a fair and long-term solution to this complicated issue for the East Sea to always be a peaceful, friendly, and developed sea region.”
The White Paper also provides an insight into the country’s defense cooperation policy in many areas and touches upon specific policies related to non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and anti-terrorism and the country’s participation in UN peacekeeping and search and rescue activities.
It put the country’s defense budget in 2008 at VND27.024 trillion (US$1.4 billion).