Vietnam: putting the past behind and looking to the future


The Ambassador of Vietnam to the United States, His Excellency Nguyen Guoc Cuong, visited BYU on Friday and spoke to a full room in the HRCB about the next phase of reforms in Vietnam.

“There was much difficulty after the war, but we started reforming in 1986,” Cuong said.

Cuong said there are 90 million people in Vietnam, with 90 percent of the population under 60, and 50 percent of the population under 30. He said one of the areas being reformed is foreign policy.

“National interests are the ultimate goals and highest principle guiding foreign policy,” Cuong said.

He said one of the messages the country is supporting in its foreign policy reforms is “Striving for the interests of the nation and people for a strong and prosperous socialist Vietnam.”

He said they would like to carry out and implement their foreign policies in a synchronous and comprehensive way. He said Vietnam has diplomatic relations with almost 200 countries, and is in negotiations for strategic policies with the U.S.

“Put behind the past, put the war behind, look forward to the future,” Cuong said is Vietnam’s outlook for future relations with the U.S.

Cuong concluded his address by opening the floor for questions from those in attendance.

Cuong was asked if  there is a country in particular whose economic development plan they are seeking to follow.

“I think when we’re talking about our development, we also have to look at what other countries are doing,” he said. “We listen to all their advices, but of course we choose our own. So I don’t think Vietnam is adopting anyone’s model for development. Of course we learn from others, but we have our own circumstances so we have our own way of developing.”

He was asked how the government and people of Vietnam, after being in a war with the United States, made a peaceful amendment and did it without reserving any bitterness.

“We know we can not live with hatred,” Cuong said. “We have to go on, move on. But it’s not only because of the government or policy, but it’s the people of Vietnam and their characteristics of forgiveness.”



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