HANOI, Vietnam – Vietnam says it will begin participating in United Nations peacekeeping operations early next year, a further sign that the Southeast Asian nation wants to assume a bigger role in international affairs.
Facing a rising demand, the U.N. has publicly appealed for countries to send more troops and police officers to help carry out its peacekeeping missions around the world. Vietnam didn’t say how large a contribution it was prepared to make. Most of the 115 participating countries currently make only token contributions of less than 40 people.
State-controlled Tien Phong newspaper today quoted Vice Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh as telling visiting Assistant General Secretary Edmond Mulet that Vietnamese troops would be available early next year.
Vietnam opened its economy to foreign investment in the 1990s and has followed a steady policy of embracing regional and international institutions. But the communist rulers of the country’s 87 million people have shown no sign of relaxing bans on freedom of speech and political activism even as they seek greater global clout.