Global and Regional Situation - Opportunities and Challenges for Implementing the 10-year Socio- economic Development Strategy 2021-2030
With the spirit of “Solidarity - Democracy - Discipline - Creativity - Development” and high responsibility towards the Party, the State and the People, the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam took place and was a great success. This was the most important political event of the country in the past 5 years that took place in such a special time and situation of the world, region, and country. Our country has never enjoyed such fortunes, potentials, and international status and prestige as they are today. The Congress has set out the 10-year socio-economic development strategy for the period of 2021-2030 with the nation’s vision and aspirations, together with the people’s trust. The strategy is implemented and affected by the intertwined situation of global and regional opportunities, advantages, challenges, and difficulties.
1. Opportunities and advantages
The current situation of the world and the region are having great opportunities and advantages for the implementation of the Socio-Economic Development Strategy. First, the main feature of the global trend in the coming years is that “Peace, cooperation and development would remain the major trend.”(1) This is the great opportunity and advantage for the implementation of the 10-year socio-economic development strategy 2021-2030 as well as for the cause of national construction and development. The Party identifies the global situation as the trend of peace, cooperation, and development in the coming years which outlines the main and important trends throughout the years of the world. This has been evaluated and concluded by our Party and State based on analysis and study of developments and the situation of international relations during the late 20th century and early 21st century.
Looking back at the world since the end of the Cold War where the bipolar world order dissolved, the process of forming a new world order was extremely complicated and manifested in the uncompromising struggle between nations, especially among major countries. The US, with its outstanding economic, political and military strength, is still practicing unilateralism, pursuing the goal of establishing a unipolar world order dominated and controlled by the US. Meanwhile, the multipolar trend is being promoted with the efforts of major countries such as Russia, China, Japan, and the European Union. “The world conjuncture would continue to fluctuate in multi-polar and multi- center inclination; major powers would still cooperate and make compromises with one another, yet become mutually rivaling and containing more acutely.”(2) In addition, independent countries increasingly struggle to choose and decide their own development path. Meanwhile, many countries are actively fighting for an equitable and upright world, as well as upholding the role of major international organizations such as the United Nations, and respecting international law in international relations. It is clear to see the intertwine among the above trends. However, regardless of the goal, all nations desire and try to maintain peace and relationships in the form of cooperation, struggle, and mutual restraint, while avoiding direct military confrontation. Forms of cooperation and struggle relations are becoming more diverse, not following any pattern and flexibly changing according to each type of issue, object, region, and specific time.
Cooperation and development are becoming commonplace in international political life. International cooperation, regional connection, international links in economy, trade, science and technology, and other fields for the purpose of development are attracting more countries to participate. In the strong trend of internationalization and globalization and the development of the scientific and technical revolution, no country should be isolated and develop without a policy of association and cooperation with other countries and organizations in the global community.
On the basis of the global situation during the 20th century and the early years of the 21st century, at the 9th National Party Congress (April 2001), our Party made an overview of the main characteristics of the world in the first decades of the 21st century, in which it was affirmed that “peace, cooperation, and development are the great trends that reflect the demands of nations and peoples.”(3) Correctly recognizing and forecasting the trend of peace, cooperation, and development in the world and in the region allows us to focus our energies on the main task of economic development.
The terrorist attack against the United States on September 11, 2001, and other international events in the following years such as the war in Afghanistan, the Iraq war, tensions in the US-Iran relationship, the US-North Korea tensions, conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, etc. have had a profound impact on the global situation. However, through analyzing the situation, our Party and State still affirm that the main trend of the world is still peace, cooperation, and development. The 9th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (9th Tenure) in January 2004 assessed the context of the global and regional situation in nearly 3 years (2001-2004) as follows: “The global situation has become complicated after the event of September 11, 2001, in the US; terrorist and counter-terrorism activities have become the hot global issue… Major countries have struggled and compromised with each other…However, peace, cooperation, and development are still a great trend of the world, an urgent requirement of nations and peoples.”(4) In addition, when formulating the 5-year socio-economic development plan from 2006 to 2010, the 10th National Party Congress (April 2006) once again affirmed: “Peace, cooperation, and development will still be the major trend.”(5) Documents of the 11th and 12th Party Congresses (2011 and 2016) emphasized: “Peace, national independence, democracy, cooperation, and development are the main trends.”(6) Second, “globalization and international integration would move on”(7) is another advantage for the implementation of the 10-year socio-economic development strategy 2021-2030. Globalization is often viewed from the perspective of economic, trade, and financial development thanks to the advancement of science and technology. From the economy, globalization spreads to other fields. Economic globalization is an objective trend that is attracting countries to participate. This is a process of cooperation for development and struggle between countries to protect national interests. In the trend of globalization, economic liberalization and market reform are common. Economies rely on, connect, and penetrate each other, creating an increased interdependence among countries. Globalization promotes cooperation, the international division of labour, and economic growth. Forms of economic cooperation and linkage have become more diverse and richer in content, facilitating the development of international cultural and knowledge exchanges, enhancing mutual understanding and friendship among nations.
Great achievements in science and technology and information and communication have created new opportunities for economic development, promoting the development of new business forms such as e-commerce, e-business, e-banking, etc. However, it also requires countries to regularly innovate management methods, strengthen information infrastructures, innovate technology, perfect the legal system, and upskill human resources. However, the trend of globalization is being dominated by several developed countries and multinational corporations, with both positive and negative aspects, cooperationandstruggle. To promotethepositiveaspectsandminimize the negative effects of globalization, it is needed to actively participate in the international integration process.
Third, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution, particularly digital technology, would powerfully develop, instituting breakthroughs in multiple domains, and bringing about both opportunities and challenges to all countries and nations.”(8) Along with economic globalization, the world economy is also undergoing structural transformation and moving towards a knowledge-based economy. The trend of knowledge-based economy development has a strong impact on all countries, creating fundamental changes not only in the socio-economy but also in comparison to forces and positions of each country in the international arena.
The application of scientific and technological achievements in production, especially in spearhead technologies such as information technology, biotechnology, and materials technology is and will be the foundation of economic growth. Science and technology are becoming direct productive forces, promoting the development of the knowledge economy, rapidly and profoundly transforming the economic structure as well as all fields of social life. The proportion of GDP of occupations requiring high knowledge is increasing. Science and technology are increasingly evident as a crucial factor determining the strength of each nation. The role of other factors such as natural resources and cheap labour is becoming less important. Meanwhile, human resources with professional qualifications and creative capabilities are becoming decisive in the knowledge economy. The world is in the process of transitioning from industrial civilization to information age, from a natural resources-based economy to a knowledge- based economy.
The knowledge-based economy requires accelerating capital turnover and shortening the cycle of technology and product innovation. The competitive advantage belongs to businesses that embrace and use innovative technologies to create new products and services that meet the diverse and ever-changing needs of customers. Advanced countries are adjusting their economic structure towards industries and services with high technology content and environmentally friendly technologies, giving priority to training high-level scientific technology human resources and boosting investment in research and technological innovation. The knowledge-based economy gives developing countries, including Vietnam, the opportunity to shorten the gap with developed countries and improve their position. However, the knowledge-based economy also poses new issues such as preparing human resources, enhancing the level of knowledge and information mastery, adjusting legal regulations, and dealing with intellectual property rights correctly, strengthening information infrastructure, and quickly grasping and adapting well to rapidly changing business conditions in the global market. Otherwise, we will have to deal with the risk of falling further behind in the international community.
It can be said that science and technology will have a leap forward in the 21st century, that the knowledge-based economy will play a growing prominent role in the development of the productive forces, and that there will be an important advantage in the development of our country if we know how to seize this opportunity.
Fourth, besides the global opportunities and advantages, there are also advantages for the implementation 10-year socio-economic development strategy 2021-2030 in the Asia-Pacific and the Southeast Asia region. Our Party and State affirmed: “Enjoying an increasingly important strategic location, the Asia-Pacific, including Southeast Asia, would serve as a theatre of dramatic rivalry among major powers, fraught with multiple potential uncertainties… ASEAN has an important role to play in maintaining peace and stability and promoting regional cooperation, but would also confront numerous difficulties.”(9) The Asia-Pacific is a large region with an area of more than 55 million square kilometres and a population of more than 2.5 billion people, residing on about one-fifth of the world’s continent. This region consists of more than 30 countries and territories, diverse in terms of area, population, political institutions, levels of development, culture, religion, and roles in international relations. In the region, there are 3 major global economies: the US, Japan, and China. Regional cooperation has been active on many levels from inter-regional to group-country and bilateral cooperation, from economic field to the political and security fields. In the region, there are two large-scale international organizations with the participation of Vietnam and are operating effectively. It is the APEC – Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation with 21 member economies, accounting for 39% of the world’s population and 57% of global GDP. APEC is affirming its position as the leading economic cooperation forum in the Asia-Pacific. The other organization is ASEAN with increasing competitiveness, consisting of 10 countries in Southeast Asia with an area of nearly 4.5 million square kilometres and a population of over 600 million people. The above global and regional situation creates favourable conditions for Vietnam in economic development cooperation.
2. Challenges and difficulties
Besides the opportunities and advantages, the current global and regional situation still contains complicated and unpredictable factors that negatively affect the implementation of our socio-economic development strategy.
First, although the current trend is peace, cooperation, and development, the security-political situation in the world is still complicated. Relations among countries are intertwined between cooperation and struggle, between peace and conflict. Our Party and State have emphasized the unfavorable factors of the global situation that require us to monitor, analyze, and evaluate to be proactive in our activities. Besides the trend of peace, cooperation, and development in the world and in the region, our Party pointed out: “Peace, cooperation, and development would remain the major trend, but beset with multiple hurdles and difficulties; strategic competition among major powers and local conflicts would continue to unfold in diverse forms, more complicatedly and drastically, thus posing higher risks to the international economic, political and security environment…Extreme nationalism, great-powerism and vulgar pragmatism in international relations would grow. Developing countries, particularly small ones, would confront new difficulties and challenges.”
Cooperation and conflict are two sides of international politics and have a dialectical and reciprocal relationship. In the process of international cooperation, conflicts can arise, and even in conflicts, there can also be certain cooperation among factors. Cooperation and conflict are the most important elements of international action that determine the international system’s stability. The distinction between conflict and cooperation should not be absolute, but neither should they be identical.
Our Party and State consider that conflicts continue to take place in places with increasingly complicated natures because the great contradictions of the times are still present and acute. In addition, the direct causes of conflicts remain and become extremely diverse. It may be an internal or an external cause, it may be in one area or another. Different causes of international conflicts were formed over a long period of time – decades, even hundreds of years – and in each turning point of history were applied in various ways. Cooperation, competition, struggle, and interdependence among countries, especially “major powers would still cooperate and make compromises with one another, yet becoming mutually competitive and containing more acutely.”(10) In our region, the major trends of the world situation are clearly reflected. The destabilizing factors in the region have not yet disappeared. Our Party predicts that the Asia-Pacific region “would serve as a theatre of dramatic rivalry among major powers, fraught with multiple potential uncertainties. Disputes over territorial sovereignty, and sea and island sovereignty would take place more tensely, complicatedly and drastically.”(11) In Northeast Asia, North Korea’s nuclear issue has yet to progress. Relations between China and Japan have seen improvement, but disagreements have not been resolved. There are still a series of sensitive issues in the two countries’ relation that can easily lead to conflicts at a more acute level such as issues related to influence and power in the region, issues related to the Japanese fascist period (chemical poisons, mass massacres, history textbooks, sex slaves, Yakusini temple, etc.), issues of strengthening national defense potential, as well as the issues of disputes oil and gas exploration, commercial disputes, etc.
The relationship between Japan and Korea also has instabilities related to the sovereignty of Dokdo (in Korean) or Takeshima Island (in Japanese), the issue of history textbooks, the issue of the name of the sea between the two countries (East Sea or the Sea of Japan). The relationship between Japan and Russia – a country with a large part of the territory in this region – has not yet reached the conclusion of a peace treaty due to the dispute over sovereignty over the group of 4 islands in the south of the Kuril Islands. Additionally, the issue of Taiwan’s declaration of independence has always been a concern for countries in the region, a factor that is likely to cause instability.
In Southeast Asia, “Peace, stability, and freedom, security and safety of navigation in and overflight above the East Sea (internationally referred to as South China Sea) would face considerable challenges and potential threats of conflict,”(12) creating difficulties in promoting cooperation between countries in ASEAN. Disputes over influence and power, borders, territories, seas and islands, and resources among countries along with economic, political, and social instability in some countries put the region in an unstable state. The political unrest in Myanmar is currently a concern of countries in the region, especially since the military authorities arrested and convicted civilian leaders. Protests have become increasingly fi ce with a higher number of people killed in protests in Myanmar. According to international human rights activists, there are at least 550 Myanmar people have been killed since the coup on February 1, 2021, so far.(13) Moreover, maritime disputes over islands, seas, and natural resources in the East Sea are increasingly complicated, especially with China’s ambition to control the East Sea and willingness to use threaten force.
Second, the people of the world, including Vietnam, are facing more severe global issues. It is the sum of urgent problems that, from the causes, development, scale, and the overcoming of its consequences, are directly related to each human, each ethnic group, each nation, and to all mankind. It happens due to the rapid development of production, science, and technology, leading to the redistribution of social forces in the world, the process of struggle and cooperation in military, politics, and economies among nations and people.
In Vietnam, as early as 1991, in the “Platform for national construction in the transitional period to socialism,” the Party and our country have determined: “The people of all countries are facing global issues that concern the destiny of mankind. That is protecting peace, repelling the risk of war, protecting the living environment, limiting population explosion, and preventing diseases.”(14) Since then, global problems have continued to increase in number, scale, and nature, negatively affecting the development process of countries. Our Party pointed out: “Global issues, such as the protection of peace, human security, natural disasters, epidemics, social and non-traditional security, especially cyber-security, climate change, sea- level rise, environmental pollution, etc., continue to be complicated.”(15) The joint efforts of the international community over the years have resulted in reducing the greenhouse effect, handling water and waste, and treating HIV/AIDS, SARS, and the avian flu, among others. However, the serious and complex nature of global problems continues to require countries to actively coordinate and cooperate in a practical and effective way, both within the bilateral and multilateral framework.
Third, the crisis and strong recession of the global economy. Challenges and difficulties in the global and regional economy require us to think carefully in the process of planning and implementing our major policies. The correlation between the strength of the economies and the global development situation changes with the emergence of new linkages. Asia’s position in the world economy is growing. The solid development of several regional countries in terms of integration and implementation of free trade agreements is increasingly extensive, opening a large market but also creating fierce competition. The process of restructuring economies and adjusting global financial institutions will take place strongly, associated with innovative advances in science, technology, and the economic use of energy and resources. In the last two years from 2020 to 2021, in the context of the Covid-19 epidemic raging all over the world, there are unpredictable factors hidden in the global and regional economies. Economic globalization also contains unequal factors, causing great difficulties and challenges for nations, especially developing countries. The 13th National Party Congress stated: “The world economy would be engulfed in grave crisis and recession, which may be likely to protract under Covid-19 pandemic impact. Countries, especially big ones, would recalibrate their development strategies, reduce their dependence on the outside, hence changes in supply chains. Economic competition, trade war, and rivalry for markets, natural resources, technologies, high quality human resources and foreign investments among countries would become fiercer, exerting tremendous impacts on global production and distribution chains.”(16) Although developed countries have advantages in capital, science and technology, as well as markets, they cannot overcome inherent contradictions, especially those between the increasing socialization of production forces with the capitalist private appropriation of the means of production, the conflict between capitalists and developing countries.
In conclusion, opportunities and advantages, challenges and difficulties are always intertwined and dialectically moved. Seizing opportunities and repelling challenges depends firstly on the awareness and the ability to make policy and implementation of the Party, State, and People. The 10-year socio-economic development strategy for 2021-2030 set out at the 13th Party National Congress can only be successfully implemented when we take advantage of opportunities and favorable conditions while repelling challenges and difficulties. With a strong belief in the guidelines and policies set out at the 13th Party Congress, we will continue to achieve important and comprehensive milestones, contribute to creating outstanding imprints, and enhance Vietnam’s position and prestige in the region as well as the international arena.
(1), (2), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11), (12), (16), Communist Party of Vietnam (2021),
Documents of the 13th National Party Congress, National Political Publishing House, Vol.1, pp.105, 106, 107.
- Communist Party of Vietnam (2001), Documents of the 9th National Party Congress,
National Political Publishing House, p.66.
- Communist Party of Vietnam (2004), Resolution of the 9th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (9th Tenure), National Political Publishing House, p.13.
- Communist Party of Vietnam (2006), Documents of the 10th National Party Congress,
National Political Publishing House, p.183.
- Communist Party of Vietnam (2016), Documents of the 12th National Party Congress,
Office of the Party Central Committee, Hanoi, p.70.
- Brunei: ASEAN’s Leaders meeting on Myanmar - Tuoi Tre Online (tuoitre.vn)
- Communist Party of Vietnam (1991), Platform for national construction in the transitional period to socialism, Truth Publishing House, p.7.
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