Concept of National Security
Vietnam has a distinctive concept of national security. Unlike most countries where national security relates to the survival of the state, to Vietnam it is, according to a senior Vietnamese diplomat, “the survival of the ruling regime that acts in the name of [the] country”.
Its latest defence White Paper, “Vietnam's Defence Policy at the beginning of the 21st Century,” while declaring that the country was ready to defend itself against “all aggression, threat against national security, infringement on its national interests”, insisted that the “preservation of a peaceful and stable environment for economic and social development, the achievement of industrialization and modernization under socialist orientation are the highest national interests”.
A major architect of Vietnam's defence diplomacy, Vice-Minister of Defence Senior General Nguyen Chi Vinh insisted that defence diplomacy is only an “important part of, and an instrument to implement the [broader] foreign policy of the Party and State in defence matters”. While asserting that defence diplomacy must contribute, and has contributed, to “the defence of the country's independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, and national interests”, he linked this traditional mission of the military to the mission of protecting the party and socialism. According to him:
Defence diplomacy contributes to the struggle against peaceful evolution and subversive violence, protects the Party and socialism and political stability to develop the country, and plays an important role in the mission of providing solid protection for the country's independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity.
His superior, former Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh, made clear that: “Today, [the task of] protecting the fatherland does not only mean maintaining the country's independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, but also protecting the Party, state, people and the socialist regime …”
The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) which prides itself for having led the successful struggle for the country's independence finds it impossible to separate the protection of national sovereignty and territorial integrity from the leadership of the party. Resolution No. 28-NQ/TW of the party Central Committee on 25 October 2013 stressed that “In both wars of resistance against France and the United States, our party always fought under two banners: national independence and socialism and have achieved complete victory. Realities have also demonstrated that [it was] only by persistently linking national independence to socialism that our country won true independence.”