Monday, 20:20 19-04-2021

Applying Ho Chi Minh diplomatic ideology in the cause of defending the Vietnamese Fatherland today

Ho Chi Minh Ideology Monday, 20:20 19-04-2021
Communist Review - Ho Chi Minh diplomatic ideology is an important part of Ho Chi Minh thoughts, an invaluable spiritual legacy, foundation of strength and key to successful and effective implementation of the lines, strategies and the foreign policies of the Communist Party of Viet Nam and the State of Viet Nam through the revolutionary periods. Currently, Viet Nam is accelerating the process of industrialization, modernization and international integration in such complicated domestic and international situations; therefore, the research and creative application of Ho Chi Minh diplomatic ideology are urgent tasks to expand foreign relations and protect the Vietnamese Fatherland in the new situation.

President Ho Chi Minh was the great leader of the Vietnamese people and the founder of modern Vietnamese diplomacy. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of Viet Nam and the light of Ho Chi Minh thought, Viet Nam’s modern diplomacy has matured and grown up in strength with the revolutionary steps of the entire Vietnamese nation, making a worthy contribution to the country’s revolutionary achievements(1). Ho Chi Minh diplomatic ideology, with its basic principles and contents, diplomatic methods, styles and arts, is an important part of Ho Chi Minh thought. Foreign activities of the Party and State of Viet Nam at present and in the future continue to derive from such ideological foundation and in the direction of such guideline. Therefore, the ceaseless research, study, thorough grasping and instilling of Ho Chi Minh diplomatic ideology will make a very important contribution to the successful construction and implementation of Viet Nam’s foreign policies, especially in the cause of renovation and international integration. By doing such things, Vietnamese diplomacy can rise to a level with its era, becoming a revolutionary, formal and modern diplomacy, being capable of flexibly, promptly and effectively dealing with any arising problems, making important contributions to the cause of construction, development and protection of the nation.

The role of diplomacy in the nation’s history and Ho Chi Minh thought

The history of Viet Nam is the one of a heroic nation, persisting and being resilient in conquering nature, overcoming all enemies to survive and develop. There is not much nations like Viet Nam, whose history has been associated with national defense.  From the beginning of the nation’s construction up to now, Vietnamese people, generation by generation, have to take up arms to fight against invading forces, protecting the country, races and national cultural identity. Rarely is a nation in the world, whose cause of country protection is often faced with a difficult situation like the Vietnamese people: The invading enemy is always much stronger. Due to its important geographical - political, geo-military, geo-economic position in the region, since its founding, over thousand-year history, Viet Nam has always been colonized by strong imperialist powers. But in the end, the victory always belongs to Viet Nam, the Vietnamese people are everlasting and developing. It can be said that in history, Viet Nam has always been able to overcome major obstacles because of its strong vitality. It is a heroic people, refusing to submit to any foreign invading forces.

The history of the Vietnamese nation’s struggle to defend the country has proved: Although the invaders were often much larger and stronger than Viet Nam, being able to unite the social strata and bring into play their great power of unity, the Vietnamese people often took few against much, weak against strong, and finally defeated all enemies. In all historical periods, protecting independence has always been the most important duty of the Vietnamese people. In order to protect national independence, the Vietnamese people often have to fight on many fronts, of which the military front is the most important. However, in order to make the military struggle get more favorable conditions, the Vietnamese people have to brilliantly carry out the struggles on the diplomatic front.

In the process of nation-building and defending, the Vietnamese people have known the important role of diplomacy as a peaceful tool to fight with other countries in order to achieve the goal of “prosperous nation, strong military, peaceful nation and good relation with foreign countries”. The clear-sighted kings and talented think-tanks of feudal dynasties all expressed the view: Diplomatic struggle always supports the military struggle against foreign aggression. Diplomatic combat can take place after or before military action. In many cases, diplomatic struggles go ahead and take place in parallel with military struggle, aiming to end the military struggle on favorable conditions to the nation and the country.

Viet Nam’s diplomatic history is known from the Hung King era. From the Ngo, Dinh, and Le dynasties onwards, our forefathers’ diplomatic activities became more and more talented, clever, flexible and suitable for specific situations. In the fifteenth century, the diplomatic campaigns conducted by Le Loi and Nguyen Trai with the Ming army facilitated the Lam Son insurgency to achieve more and more from military victories. These victories were the premise forcing Chinese general, Vuong Thong, who stationed his troops in Dong Quan to accept the surrender conditions set by the Le Loi insurgency.

In all historical periods, the goal of Vietnamese diplomacy has always been national independence, unified sovereignty, territorial integrity and happy and well-being people. For that purpose, the Vietnamese people must sacrifice their life to fight against foreign invaders. However, when the war broke out, particularly when the military force gained decisive victories on the battlefield, Viet Nam actively took diplomatic measures to end the war, including offering opportunities for the enemy to withdraw their troops from Viet Nam in honor.

In early 1077, Ly Thuong Kiet made the Song army of General Quach Quy miserable and tired on the northern bank of Cau River (Nhu Nguyet).  He knew that if the war continued, the Song might be destroyed. But until that day, the Vietnamese army and people would lose a lot of lives, and the country of Viet Nam would be devastated. Ly Thuong Kiet found that it was more beneficial to open a way for Quach Quy to pull troops back home, returning Vietnamese land to the Vietnamese people, than continuing the war. Therefore, he sent his orator to Quach Quy’s barrack to offer a diplomatic solution. Accepting Ly Thuong Kiet’s conditions, Quach Quy brought his remnants home. The war ended, peace was restored with favorable conditions for Viet Nam.

In case the enemy was too strong meanwhile our army and people were not ready to fight or not strong enough to win, our forefathers took diplomatic measures to take advantage of the time of delay to increase and reinforce our strength. When the force has been strengthened, if the enemy deliberately waged war to invade our country, the Vietnamese people determined to fight back and destroy them. This policy had been successfully applied by Tran Thanh Tong in 1258, Tran Nhan Tong in 1285, and Tran Quoc Tuan in 1288…

It can be said that Viet Nam’s diplomatic history is a treasure of valuable diplomatic experience for diplomats and army officers. The treasure shows that our forefathers were highly wisdom, “having both feet on the ground”, being able to make the opponents resort to accept our own conditions and in all times has always fought for goals of: national independence, unified sovereignty, territorial integrity and the happy and well-being people.

Promoting the diplomatic tradition of the Vietnamese people, in Ho Chi Minh thoughts, the diplomatic ideology takes an important position. His thought of diplomacy was inherited from the good values ​​of the national tradition, selectively absorbing the quintessence of human culture, especially the creatively applying Marxism-Leninist, through the process of practical researches in the country and the world. President Ho Chi Minh affirmed: Diplomacy is the struggle by peaceful means to protect the national interests, being a very important activity in the revolutionary cause. In the process of leading the Vietnamese revolution, President Ho Chi Minh always appreciated the role of diplomacy: “... the highest level of fighting is to use schemes. The second is to use diplomacy. The third is to use soldiers”(2) and “In diplomacy, who gets more favorite conditions will win”(3). Highly appreciating the role of diplomacy, the Resolution of the Tan Trao Conference that took place before the General uprising in August 1945 put “Diplomacy Issues” into its own section, considering it as important as the “Party’s policies” and “Military mission”.

Immediately after the August Revolution in 1945, the Communist Party of Viet Nam and President Ho Chi Minh determined: “After the issue of defense, diplomacy is an essential issue for an independent country”(4); since then, resolutely struggle to maintain diplomatic sovereignty and consider it an important expression of independence. When the war against the US entered the most drastic stage, the phrase of “diplomatic front” was officially born in the Document of the 13th Party Central Conference, Section III, 1967: Military and politic struggles in the South were the decisive factor for victory on the battlefield, serving as the basis for victory on the diplomatic front. By April 1969, the Politburo’s Resolution affirmed: Diplomacy has become an important front with strategic significance. Changing the diplomatic phrases, such as “diplomatic struggle”, “diplomatic issues” to “diplomatic front”, “diplomacy has become an important front”... has demonstrated the increasing appreciation of the Communist Party of Viet Nam and President Ho Chi Minh for the role of diplomacy in the revolutionary cause.

Based on comprehensive, historical and specific points of view, President Ho Chi Minh had correctly assessed the position and role of diplomacy as well as the dialectical relationship between diplomacy with other spheres of the revolution.  Diplomacy is one of the three basic battle fronts, of which diplomacy, politics and military activities are strongly complementary; military victory is an important decisive condition for diplomatic victory, because anything gained from the negotiating table should be equivalent to the ones achieved on the battlefield. Talking about the impact of the military and politics on diplomatic negotiations, he pointed out: “Viet Nam’s victories make the Vietnamese people and the world excited, lift up Viet Nam's diplomatic status in Geneva, the victories of Viet Nam forced the enemy to talk to Viet Nam”(5). During the resistance war against the American imperialism, our beloved President said: “Now we should keep fighting to gain victories in the battlefields, so that it would be easier for diplomatic activities”(6). The close alignment among the political, military and diplomatic spheres leads to the need for a smooth coordination of such activities in a struggle. President Ho Chi Minh always said that diplomacy only promotes its role and use on the basis of national capabilities, synthetic strength of: economic, political and military... He wrote: “If you do not have real strength, you cannot say anything about diplomacy”(7). He also gave an example: “Real strength is compared as the gong, diplomacy is compared as its sound. If the gong is big, its sound will be louder”(8). That means, whether diplomatic victories are great or limited and diplomatic activities are easy or difficult depend on the country’s real capabilities. His point of view has been proved in the reality. Obviously, without the great victories of the Vietnamese army and people in the 9-year resistance war against the French colonialism, there would be no Geneva Conference and Agreement on ending the war, restoring peace in Indochina in 1954. If there was no victory by the army and people of the North and South, especially the victory of the battle of “Dien Bien Phu in the air” at the end of 1972, there would be no victory of the Paris Agreement on ending the war, restoring the peace in Viet Nam in 1973. President Ho Chi Minh summed up: “Diplomacy at the Geneva Conference was successful because Dien Bien Phu won a big victory. Therefore, if you gain victories in the battlefields, you will win in the diplomatic fronts. This rule not only applies for Viet Nam, but also for other countries in the world. Undoubtedly, diplomacy is highly important, but the key to gain diplomatic victories is to achieve battlefield victories and obtain real strengths”(9). On the other hand, the victories in diplomatic front will create favorite conditions to reinforce the real strength of the revolution, laying as “firm foundation” for the country to build up international relations.

Some basic contents in Ho Chi Minh diplomatic ideology

Ho Chi Minh diplomatic ideology is to combine national strength with the power of the times, to build up the peace and to fight against the war of aggression, to be friendly and to cooperate with neighboring countries sharing bordering with Viet Nam, to be to build friendly relations with major countries, is to define diplomacy as a front, a combined army of the Vietnamese revolution. President Ho Chi Minh always determined that the Vietnamese revolution had a close relationship with the world’s progressive trends and forces, and strengthening international relations and cooperation was one of the keys to help us gain victories in the resistance wars and successes in national construction.  However, he also pointed out that if we want people to help us, firstly we should help ourselves; and self-reliance is a precious tradition of the Vietnamese revolution. The strength of Viet Nam is the great power of unity, bringing into play all the country’s resources and taking advantage of international support and cooperation. That is also the basis for promoting national strength in association with the power of the times.

Promoting the national cultural identity, the nature of the era and the struggles of the Vietnamese people, President Ho Chi Minh upheld the righteousness, morality and humanity in international relations. He said: “The Vietnamese people have long lived together with such a meaningful relationship. Since being led and educated by the Communist Party of Viet Nam, such tradition of Vietnamese people has been promoted to a higher level, connecting all people in the world to become friends, comrades, and family members”(10). President Ho Chi Minh often reminded that the Communist Party of Viet Nam and the people of Viet Nam should show deep gratitude to fellow countries, and strive to strengthen international unity. He attached great importance to strengthening friendly relations, cooperating with neighboring countries, properly handling relations with major countries, striving to expand Viet Nam’s international relations towards multilateralism and diversification - “Make friends with all democratic countries and do not hold a grudge against anyone”(11).

Along with the basic contents of diplomacy, President Ho Chi Minh also stood out with his outstanding art and diplomatic style.  Ho Chi Minh’s art of diplomacy is clearly shown through the application of sensitive and creative methods and behaviors, bringing high efficiency in foreign affairs. Such art is also shown in the implementation of concessions with specific principles, taking advantage of contradictions among the enemy, clearly understanding and skillfully applying the “five awareness” (five senses) of the Eastern philosophy: being aware of yourself, of other people, of the times, of the way to stop, of the way to change. The late Prime Minister Pham Van Dong commented that President Ho Chi Minh was a man who clearly knew what to gain and where to go, how to avoid obstacles, how to win the enemy..., mastering the art of possibility and keeping expanding the limits of possibility(12). 

President Ho Chi Minh also skillfully applied the motto of “using immutability to cope with uncertainty”, which means using the unchanged things (immutability) to cope with all changes (Uncertainty). Accordingly, the “immutability” is the interests of the nation, the people, of which national independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity of the Fatherland…etc. are the core. The “uncertainty” is skillful, flexible responses; harmonious combination of flexibility and determination, policies and strategies, hardness and softness, activeness and creativeness in specific situations; however, regardless of any level of difficulties, we should hold firm to our principles to gain the “immutability”. President Ho Chi Minh pointed out: “The principles should be solid, but the strategy should be flexible”(13). To successfully carry out the principle of “to cope with all changes”, the important things are to correctly assess the international situation and its impacts to Viet Nam, including advantages and disadvantages. In particular, in terms of strategy, it is necessary to determine the limits of concession in order to formulate appropriate and effective policies, methods to firmly hold the strategic principles: national independence is associated with socialism. Practical experience in the resistance wars against colonialism, imperialism has shown that victory can only be achieved on the negotiating table in case of gaining victory on the battlefield. Therefore, in the long run, Viet Nam’s politics and economy should be strengthened, holding an important position in the international arena in order to increase its diplomatic strength.

As a revolutionary activist fighting for the interests of all classes of the people, President Ho Chi Minh’s conduct is imbued with profound humanity. He implemented a foreign policy of “acting on others’ heart” (affecting people’s heart), clearly distinguishing between enemies and friends to have appropriate behaviors to arouse the peace love feeling of the people all around the world, calling for supporting Viet Nam in the struggle to protect national independence. He said: The way is to act on people’s hearts, conquering others with moral standards, transforming others with human feelings, convincing others with our hearts to multiply the power of righteousness. With a deep understanding of the cultures, languages, customs and practices of many ethnic groups in the world, President Ho Chi Minh had made fine and exemplary diplomatic gestures, leaving a good impression on international friends. For example, he took off his scarf and wrapped it around the neck of a German friend who coughed while visiting Viet Nam; taking off his coat for a French prisoner who was shaking in the cold weather in Viet Nam. When he visited India in 1958, he sent a wreath and a peach tree to commemorate the father of the Prime Minister of India Nehru (He met the Prime Minister’s father in the capital of Belgium in 1927 during the International Conference against colonialism, a brief and long-year-ago meeting), which touched the Indian Prime Minister’s heart, he said: “His action is simple, but it clearly proves the outstanding characteristics of President Ho Chi Minh”. A lot of international journals visiting Viet Nam wished to meet President Ho Chi Minh. During these meetings, President Ho Chi Minh transferred the goodwill of Vietnamese people to peace-loving people in the world to help them more understand about our struggles and support us. With sincere heart and political sensitivity upholding the righteousness, morality, as well as the ability to subtly behave in foreign affairs, had converted other people and become a feature of Ho Chi Minh’s “acting on people’s heart” diplomacy.

Ho Chi Minh diplomatic ideology paved the way for the cause of building and defending the country today

Renewal of the foreign policy of the Communist Party of Viet Nam was marked by the Resolution of the 6th Congress of the Party (1986) and Resolution No. 13-NQ/TW, dated May 20th, 1988, of the Politburo, 4th Term, “About the mission and foreign policy in the new situation”. Since then, the process of thinking renewal and diplomatic practice has been continuous and gradually perfected. On the basis of Ho Chi Minh diplomatic ideology, the Vietnamese Communist Party of Viet Nam has evaluated the world situation in an objective and scientific way, thereby building foreign policies to be more and more effective. Foreign policy of independence, autonomy, peace, cooperation and development; multi-lateralization and diversification of international relations; “Proactively and actively integrating into the world; being friend, trusted partner and a responsible member of the international community”(14) has been formed and developed from the vivid theories and practices of the Renewal. It is diplomacy using synthetic powers, effectively coordinating the performance of all foreign forces, being deployed in many fields and targeting many subjects, creating a strong premise and motivation for the cause of building and defending a socialist Fatherland to integrate and develop.

Currently, the world and regional situation is happening complicatedly and unpredictably; powerful countries have adjusted their strategies, both cooperating, compromising, competing, struggling and restraining each other. Researching, grasping and applying Ho Chi Minh diplomatic ideology to improve the effectiveness of foreign affairs, contributing to maintaining a peaceful and stable environment, to build, develop and protect the country are highly important.  

The movement of international relations in the process of globalization has changed the balance of power, leading to geopolitical changes in the world. Engaged in that global change with the current struggle among major powers characterized by the gathering of alliances, countries have been forced to choose strategies to adapt the changes. The world is facing the danger of a new cold war in the future, whereby the nature of this war depends on the strength of the equilibrium battle between major countries. Therefore, Viet Nam should choose and build a suitable diplomatic path to protect the highest interests of the nation and the people in the movement of the international situation.

In the current context, applying President Ho Chi Minh diplomatic ideology, Viet Nam’s top strategic choice is: Constantly strengthening internal strengths of economy and defense; building solidarity and consensus at home and abroad; proactively respond to international geopolitical developments to enhance Viet Nam’s strategic position; firmly protecting the country’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and strategic interests; protecting the freedom and happiness of the people.

Implementing the policy of multi-lateralization and diversification of international relations, up to now, Viet Nam has built up diplomatic relations with 189 countries around the world, establishing a strategic and comprehensive partnership with 30 countries (15); has economic and commercial relations with more than 230 countries and territories (16). While still maintaining a peaceful, self-defense policy; not joining any military alliances; not affiliating with one country against another; preventing foreign countries from setting up military bases or using Vietnamese territory to oppose other countries; not using force or threatening to use force in international relations; Viet Nam continues to flexibly and effectively strengthen strategic security relations with major countries and regional countries to enhance its strategic position. It is the correct application of President Ho Chi Minh’s views and thoughts to strengthen the position and force for the diplomatic struggle to protect the sovereignty and strategic interests of the country. Such ideology includes linking and binding the community of interests with other countries that support the legitimate interests of Viet Nam. Therefore, Viet Nam continues to maintain a multilateral and diversified foreign policy in order to minimize the negative effects of competition among major countries. To do this, with a foreign policy of multilateralism and diversification of international relations, Viet Nam should actively participate and contribute to shaping regional geopolitical developments, so as not to be passive, to be an outsider and a victim of bargaining in the game of major countries.

Completing and implementing a diplomatic line that upholds peace, national independence, freedom and happiness of the people. Peace, independence, freedom, and happiness are the goals and the common denominator to unite the entire Vietnamese people in building and defending the country; the basis for unifying ideas, building beliefs for the entire people, creating positive effects, promoting national pride, maximizing the national strength to overcome any difficulties and challenges in building and defending the country and building the nation. Affirming that the State of Viet Nam strives for the nation interests and human rights – the values ​​that the entire human race has been and will continue to fight for, thus, “peace - independence - freedom – happiness” shows the political civilization of the Vietnamese people in the face of the general evolution of humanity, at the same time combining national strengths with international and era strengths. “Proactively and actively integrate into the world; being friend, trusted partner and a responsible member of the international community. On the basis of both cooperation and fighting, external activities are to serve the goal of maintaining a peaceful and stable environment, taking advantage of external resources to develop the country and improve people’s lives”(17). Thus, such common denominator not only reflects the common value of humanity, but also serves as the basis for Viet Nam’s international integration, creating advantages for Viet Nam’s diplomacy in the globalization process. That is also the basis for the combination of national strengths with combining national strengths with international and era strengths in Viet Nam’s diplomatic activities.

Vietnamese diplomacy should clearly define the goal for the interests of the nation, on the basis of the current geopolitical movements, to properly address the ethnic - class relationship, being solid scientific basis to build up correct, consistent and long-term foreign policy for the country. At the same time, laying a theoretical basis for diplomacy to flexibly define and execute strategies with diverse methods, not bound or dominated by rigid, subjective factors arising due to the complex and quick movement in international relations now and in the future. Moreover, in today’s world, in all names, big and small countries all promote the interests of their nation - people. Protection of the Vietnamese nation’s interests on the basis of international law, according to the law of evolution and the general development trend, for the advancement of humanity should be the direction of Vietnamese diplomacy. When Viet Nam declares “being friend, trusted partner and responsible member of the international community”, it is also the message of Viet Nam about international cooperation in the trend of globalization, respecting international laws and practices. Taking the goal of building a country that is peaceful, unified, independent, democratic, rich and powerful and conducting foreign policy on the basis of international law for integration and development is the proper solution to deal with the relationship between nation and international, nationality and era. Such viewpoints are both the basis for the implementation of the motto “using immutability to cope with uncertainty” in diplomacy, as well as a condition for implementing multilateral foreign policy, diversifying international relations, creating balance to maintain peace, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country of Viet Nam


Imbued with the views of President Ho Chi Minh: “The Vietnamese revolution is a part of the force of peace, democracy and socialism in the world”(18); “The situation of Viet Nam affects the world, but the world situation also relates to Viet Nam”(19); facing with new requirements o domestic and foreign situation, Viet Nam continues to develop a comprehensive diplomatic strategy, more effectively serving the goals of national construction and development and national defense in the new period. The highest principle of diplomatic activities is: “For the sake of the nation, the people, for a rich, socialist country”(20). These two goals are united; in which, ensuring the interests of the nation and people is the basis for building a socialist country; and building a strong socialist Viet Nam is a necessary condition to achieve such benefits. To synchronously and comprehensively implement foreign affairs activities and actively promote international integration, the missions of foreign affairs are to “maintain a peaceful and stable environment, making the most of external resources to develop the country, improving people’s lives; being resolute and persistent in the fight to firmly defend the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Fatherland, the Party, the State, the people and the socialist regime; enhancing the country’s status and prestige and contributing to the cause of peace, independence, democracy and social progress in the world”(21). These are correct, timely and clear-sighted policies of the Communist Party and State of Viet Nam, in accordance with the new situation./.


(1) Vũ Trọng Lâm (Editor): Vietnamese foreign culture in international integration, The truth – National politics publisher, Hanoi, 2018, page 131

(2) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, The truth – National politics publisher, Hanoi, 2011, Volume 3, page 562

(3) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Volume 3, page 559

(4) The Vietnamese Communist Party’s complete documents, National politics publisher, Hanoi, 2000, Volume 8, page 290

(5) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Volume 8, page 548 - 549

(6) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Volume 15, page 61

(7) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Volume 3, page 488

(8) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Volume 4, page 147

(9) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Volume 15, page 60-61

(10) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Volume 15, page 668

(11) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Volume 5, page 256

(12) Vũ Trọng Lâm (Editor): Vietnamese foreign culture in international integration, The truth – National politics publisher, Hanoi, 2018, page 141

(13) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Volume 8, page 555

(14) Document of the 12th National Congress of Delegates, The truth – National politics publisher, Hanoi, 2016, page 153

(15) Phạm Bình Minh: Ho Chi Minh diplomatic ideology in the foreign policy of the Party and State,

(16) Thế Hoàng: “Viet Nam signed FTA with 60 economies in the workd”,,  dated 4-1-2020

(17) Document of the 12th National Congress of Delegates, page 153

(18) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Volume 12, page 674

(19) Ho Chi Minh: Complete works, Volume 8, page 346

(20) Document of the 11th National Congress of Delegates, The truth – National politics publisher, Hanoi, Hà Nội, 2011, page 236

(21) Document of the 12th National Congress of Delegates, page 153

Source: Communist Review, No. 942 (May 2020)


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