Following Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts on peace, friendship and cooperation

Human beings have experienced so many wars that one can say that war is an inevitable part of human history. But there is another fact that people always aspire to peace. For countries like Vietnam, which has had to fight foreign invaders for freedom and independence since the early days of its foundation, peace has been more valuable and indeed become the nation’s principle and people’s philosophy of life. President Ho Chi Minh, an excellent Vietnamese diplomat, when alive, embodies that Vietnamese spirit.
Ho Chi Minh’s thought for peace is displayed in his wish to settle conflicts between nations via peaceful negotiations and in his viewing the use of force as the last resort. In 1919 when Nguyen Ai Quoc (a Ho Chi Minh’s name) sent the Eight-Point Demand to the Versace Conference, he requested participating major powers to give back power, freedom and independence to the Vietnamese people. That was his struggle for national independence via a peaceful solution.
President Ho Chi Minh
In the 1945-46 period, when relations between Vietnam and France were very strained, President Ho decided to sign the Preliminary Agreement on March 6th, 1946 and the Temporary Treaty on September 14th, 1946. In the two documents, President Ho and Vietnamese Government accepted some compromises to the France in order to settle conflicts between the two countries. Head of the French negotiating delegation Jean Sainteny admitted that Ho Chi Minh was smart while making fewer requests and claims, in order to reach the final target – national freedom and independence. Unlike others from the newly-born Vietnamese government, Ho Chi Minh well understood that a complete independence for the nation could not be immediately achieved so he temporarily accepted a limited independence for the nation, he recalled.
Although the Vietnamese Army and people completely defeated the French Army in the Dien Bien Phu Campaign in May 1954, the Vietnamese Government under the leadership of President Ho Chi Minh, once again, gave the French side some compromises to sign the Geneva Accords to restore peace and end the war with the French. In fact, during the 1954-58, President Ho Chi Minh and Vietnamese Government pursued a policy on peaceful solutions with the French in an effort to preserve peace and unify the country, even though the Ngo Dinh Diem backed by the US tried to violate the Geneva Accords. Until January 1959, when the Ngo Dinh Diem Government and  the US explicitly waged war against the Vietnamese Government and people, President Ho Chi Minh and the Party decided to issue a resolution at the 15th meeting of the Party Central Committee, demonstrating the nation’s high determination to fight back the US and its lackey force for complete national independence and unification via revolutionary violence means.
Ho Chi Minh’s policy leaning toward diplomacy is also displayed in wartime. From December 1946 to March 1947, in spite of the breakout of the war between the Vietnamese people and French colonists, Ho Chi Minh still sent 8 letters to the French Government, Parliament and President to ask them to restore peace in Vietnam. In the war against the US, although the US Army was violently bombing on the North, President Ho Chi Minh still showed his wish for peace calling the US Government to stop the war: “The Vietnamese people love peace, a true peace in a real national independence and freedom.”
Ho Chi Minh’s desire for peace also rests on his permanent willingness to make friendship with other countries, including adversary ones, and his permanent readiness for negotiations. He said that, when the enemy got bogged down in the war or deescalate the war, we should provide them opportunity for negotiations. He claimed that the target of fighting was not to annihilate the whole enemy but to defeat their invasion spirit. In the resistance war against French colonists, when the French Government suffered big losses after 8 years of the war in the battlefield and sought negotiations to end the war, President Ho Chi Minh reconfirmed the Vietnamese Government’s goodwill and readiness for peace negotiations. He said, “The war in Vietnam was waged by the French Government…but if the French Government has drawn a good lesson from the war…they want to end fighting in negotiations and settle the Vietnam issues with peaceful means, the Vietnamese people and Government are ready to accept. But the prerequisite for the end of the conflict is that the French Government must truly honor Vietnam’s independence.”
In the war against American imperialists, Ho Chi Minh always confirmed his position when saying, “[Vietnam] is ready to give the red carpet and flowers to withdrawing US troops,” and “[Vietnam] is ready to play music and present flowers and any gifts when seeing off them.”
His words show that Ho Chi Minh appeared to be a great character with his great kindheartedness in external relations. He was even ready to treat well toward the national enemy as long as they stopped the war, withdrew military forces from the country, and honored the nation’s independence.
Ho Chi Minh also appeared to be an honest and sincere diplomat. On December July 1946, in Paris, President Ho Chi Minh announced, “We do not want to kick the French out of Vietnam… Vietnam needs France. France needs Vietnam, too. But only mutual trust and equal and sincere cooperation could lead the two countries to successful friendship.” Later despite the US intensive and violent intervention in Vietnam, President Ho Chi Minh still said, “Please believe me when I say that I would be very delighted receiving the US President if he visited the country in a peaceful manner. We extend our friendly hand to any nations that recognize Vietnam as an independent country.”
Although Ho Chi Minh was determined and undaunted in fighting foreign invaders, he was a peace-lover and always tried to settle conflicts in peaceful negotiations. He sometimes even comprised with the adversary in the aim to gaining national liberation and independence. He always wanted to make friendship with other nations across the world, and was ready to set aside conflicts and contradictions with the enemies to open friendly and cooperative relations.
Ho Chi Minh’s view on peace and friendship for development was a great thought as it had been drawn from human knowledge and experiences in international relations. His thought has, indeed, suggested an effective approach and solution for settling issues in international relations of the modern world. With his high respect to Ho Chi Minh, famous Indian Prime Minister J. Nehru said that the world was now experiencing a crisis so what was needed for all was peace and friendship, and Ho Chi Minh was the very symbol for that approach.
Ho Chi Minh’s view on the approach to peace and friendship among nations has, indeed, guided us to the major principles in dealing with affairs in international relations.
First, as the world comprises more than 200 countries with some common interests and some contradictory interests, disputes and conflicts over national interest are inevitable. Therefore, we should keep in mind Ho Chi Minh’s thought: seeking dialogue rather than confrontation; firmly defending national interests while avoiding armed conflicts and negative impact on cooperation. To settle tensions and disputes over the East Sea, we should well utilize our national “soft power”, rely on historical evidence and international law.
Second, as President Ho Chi Minh has laid foundations for Vietnam’s multilateral diplomacy in the spirit of mutual peace and benefits, our nation should actively foster  and bring into full play the diplomatic policy.
Third, we should grasp his view “never invading other countries” and “never being invaded by other countries.” That is to say, we honor other countries’ independence and sovereignty; and at the same time, we must consider our national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity national core interests, which must be firmly protected. We need a real peace rather than not a vague peace and friendship that may hurt our national fundamental interests. The Vietnamese people’s peaceful but determined massage should be spread worldwide.
Fourth,  we, the Vietnamese people, should follow Ho Chi Minh’s view: “A real and true peace must be accompanied with a real and true national independence.” In the past, Ho Chi Minh always put the Vietnamese revolution in the context of the international revolution. He built up national strength, particularly in military and political terms, on one hand, and smartly took advantage of the international revolution on the other hand, in order to gain power and national independence from foreign invaders. Following his thought, we should build up our national power, particularly economic one, and also actively integrate in the international community, that is to say to take every good opportunity to bring prosperity to the nation and ensure real and true peace and national independence for the country.
Fifth, the world’s order has now changed and international forces have also changed, which has greatly impacted national interests of our nation and other nations. Thus, we should learn Ho Chi Minh’s flexible diplomatic view. To firmly protect our national interests, we should understand that globalization brings about both opportunities and challenges, is a process containing both cooperation and competition, both cooperation and struggle. In this context, the boundary between partners and rivals and/or threats is unclear since we may have cooperation with rivals and threats, and we may have rivalry with partners, as well.
In summary, the 20th century history of mankind and modern Vietnamese history have marked Ho Chi Minh’s great thought on diplomacy. He has become a symbol of the peaceful diplomacy and peaceful culture. Having inherited his valuable diplomatic and cultural thoughts, we, the Vietnamese people, should follow and successfully apply his ideas in the reality according to the new context, in order to firmly protect peace and national independence and build up national power.
Chia sẻ bài viết ^^
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