Two Vietnamese officers took off to join the United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Republic of South Sudan from June as Vietnam launched its peacekeeping center Tuesday.
Lieutenant Colonel Mac Duc Trong, 43, and, Tran Nam Ngan, 42, will serve as communication officers from their African base.
Trong graduated from the Military Science Academy and has worked for 12 years at the Institute for Defense International Relations at the defense ministry.
His English competence won him ticket to study with Indian army and was used to help organize many multilateral defense events at the ministry.
He said joining UN peacekeeping forces is a dream comes true, a mission he has studied about since 2005, as he was sent to a two-month course in Australian, training UN military observers focusing on negotiation skills.
“I realized that UN peacekeeping mission is the best security system, with highest legality and prestige, to solve conflicts,” Trong said in a Tuoi Tre report.
“It is a system by and for a group, and not for serving some individuals’ interest, and is not one with much [military] intervention.”
He was the first Vietnamese officer to join a peacekeeping assistance course in the UK and then joined a course for peacekeeping lecturers in Mongolia.
His counterpart Ngan is more experienced in bilateral diplomacy with 17 years working experience at the Foreign Affairs Department of the defense ministry.
He has accompanied government leaders to 30 countries, including Botswana and North Korea.
He was prepared for his South Sudan mission through a course by UN experts.
He said his role as a peacekeeping communication officer is to connect the commanding units with other UN units, international organizations, different government and military forces in the local country.
The inauguration ceremony of Vietnam Peacekeeping Center was joined by Ameerah Haq, head of UN’s Department of Field Support.
Defense Minister General Phung Quang Thanh signed a decision to establish the center last December.
Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said the participation in UN peacekeeping mission is Vietnam’s long-term and serious commitment to contribute to the creation and maintenance of world peace.
Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said Vietnam has gone through many harsh wars against invaders, so the people always long for peace.
“Participating in the United Nations peacekeeping act is an honor and a responsibility of any member state,” Dam said at the ceremony.
“It shows that Vietnam is a responsible member in the world community. It also marks a new step in the integration process of our country and our military.”
Vietnam Peacekeeping Center will operate under the defense ministry to advise, train, and command forces to join UN’s peacekeeping activities.