Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung began his first official trip to Germany on Thursday. During the last years Vietnam has gained influence and prestige at the international level.
German Deputy Chancellor and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier talks with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung
In 2007 the People's Republic of Vietnam became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, shortly after it had joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). Ta Min Tuan from the Foreign Ministry considers these steps as great diplomatic achievements for his country:
"It gives us an international status. It means that the world will look at Vietnam with different eyes. And we almost got a unanimous vote for Vietnam (to join the UN Security Council). Other countries have to go through second rounds but we were elected in the first round. That means that the international community acknowledges Vietnam's rising importance in the world."
Good relations with China
As a newcomer to the Security Council, Vietnam has to compete with the other five permanent members and especially with its big neighbour China. So if the Security Council has to decide on issues like Myanmar or North Korea there is some potential for conflict. But Ta Min Tuan from Vietnam's foreign ministry doesn't believe that it could hamper his country's traditionally good relations with China:
"Vietnam and China have maintained very good relations in the last fifteen years and the relations have improved a lot. We enjoy the best time in our bi-lateral relations. We don't have a conflict of national interest at the UN Security Council. We have some differences but these are bi-lateral and don't concern the Security Council. That does give us much space to move between big powers particularly when it comes to China, but at the Security Council it could be easier for us to deal with China."
As a member of the UN Security Council, Vietnam is also obliged to contribute to international peace keeping missions. But they won't send troops for the moment and will focus only on logistics.