The meeting on July 27 was chaired by Minister of Public Security To Lam, guests were called by the police newspaper “the head of the Vietnamese Representative Mission Overseas who have been appointed by the President for 2020.”
It is reported that apart from Minister To Lam, there was the presence of Deputy Ministers of Public Security Lieutenant General Bui Van Nam and Major General Tran Quoc To, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Le Hoai Trung.
Speaking at the meeting, Minister To Lam, in addition to congratulating those who, according to him, has been trusted by the Party, the State and the People to be responsible for representing Vietnam abroad, also emphasized the realization of the Party’s policy which aims to proactively integrate into the world, maintain a peaceful environment and create favorable conditions to stabilize the country.
Foreign affairs and international cooperation are very important tasks, Mr. To Lam continued, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in general and Vietnam’s diplomatic missions abroad in particular, with the coordination of the Party and the State, plays important role to bring the country deeper and deeper into the world, contributing to ensuring the security, order and protecting Vietnamese citizens abroad.
Engineer Tran Bang, an activist in Saigon, thinks that such a meeting is normal in Vietnam, but this time caused public opinion to comment because of the bad things in the diplomatic branch 3 years back:
“It is clear that the Ministry of Public Security holds both security and police. Insecurity, there is internal security and foreign security, but foreign security must definitely refer to embassies.”
“In Vietnam, the country’s diplomacy is really the Communist Party’s diplomacy, so Vietnamese representatives and Vietnamese ambassadors abroad must take up national security and defense. Politburo member and Minister To Lam is in charge of security, of course, it is normal to rely on security issues to Vietnamese representatives abroad.”
A few years ago, Mr. Dang Xuong Hung – a former Vietnamese diplomatic representative abroad had an article about the relationship between security and diplomacy of Vietnam.
The author of the article, formerly a diplomat now residing in Switzerland, wrote: “In the police regime, it is easy for security to intervene in every corner of socio-political life in Vietnam. Right from the time of Nhan Van Giai Pham had a very expensive compact sentence, that is: Police stand in the middle of the human heart. Most ministries in Vietnam have the presence of secret security. This article would like to highlight the content of ‘cooperation’ between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam.”
According to journalist Vo Van Tao, officials and diplomats have to listen to the Minister of Public Security and it is very common. However, the very big speech of Minister Lam before a very heavy audience to reflect the policy of the communist party. Vietnamese products from now on:
“Everyone knows in the history of world diplomacy, not just anything in Vietnam, it is clear that diplomacy and intelligence are always sticking together, the embassies are spies, there are always security officers or public or disguised.”
“When I was at Foreign Trade University, I was also determined that the Government would send us to become Commercial attaches or Commercial Counselors later. From the time when our students understood that it was a principle, so it is not surprising that Mr. To Lam wants to meet the heads of Vietnam Representative Offices abroad.”
Journalist Le Trung Khoa, who lives and works in Germany, thinks that the diplomacy dominated by the police is obvious, but the 2017 kidnapping involved Mr. Trinh Xuan Thanh – a former official of the oil industry accused of corruption, has led to bad consequences:
“Apparently the German side investigated the abduction of Trinh Xuan Thanh in Germany on July 23, 2017. One of the defendants, Mr. Nguyen Hai Long, was sentenced to 3 years and 10 months in German prison. I witnessed him plead guilty in court that he is a Vietnamese agent in this matter.”
“The trial is very detailed, of course, there are many Vietnamese officials from the Embassy in Germany and Europe who also indirectly participated in that. The consequences were very heavy, with one of the two positions representing the General Department of Intelligence, or intelligence of the Ministry of Public Security were now cut off. The second position is the liaison officer of the Ministry of Public Security. Since the abduction happened, Germany did not allow him to work again. The trust between Vietnam and Germany seems to have to go from the beginning, which is a detriment to the development of exchanges between the two countries.”
The second reason to explain why the Ministry of Public Security must follow closely, must grasp the work situation of Vietnamese officials and diplomatic staff abroad because:
“The reason that can be seen is that Vietnam is very afraid of evolutions, self-transformation, especially Vietnamese officials going abroad, many people will have different assessments from those that Communist party launched. The second thing, Vietnam is implementing the newly launched party leader to protect the country from afar. That is, even in the regions and countries where Vietnam has an Embassy or Consulate General, where they have to find ways to manipulate and mobilize expatriates living in that country to support the views of the party and the government wants to control associations, organizations or individuals that go against the wishes of the Communist Party of Vietnam.”
Following journalist Le Trung Khoa, blogger Tran Bang commented:
“When it comes to embassies in the world, they are actually places of intelligence. The guest country itself has set up a diplomatic base here to gather intelligence in the host country. In response, the host country tries to send its staff in foreign diplomatic missions to gather information back. There is something secret or obvious like the story of Consulates in Houston or in India that is normal. Anyone who is interested in diplomacy can see that.”
In short, not only in Vietnam, but also in other countries, there are security officers or intelligence officers in the embassy or diplomatic missions in any country.
The problem, however, the poor profession of disguised spies, plus subjective direction and failure to respect international law, will cause a bilateral crisis as in the case of Vietnam and Germany in 2017, said journalist Le Trung Khoa.