Vietnamese Border Guard
The Border Guard, equivalent to a service, is a component of the VPA. It exercises the functions of controlling, protecting national sovereignty, territorial integrity, public order and security of national borders on land, at sea, and border gates as regulated by laws. It is also a force in defence zones of the border provinces and districts. The Border Guard has the task of fighting all plots and acts of the hostile forces, counter-revolutionary cliques, spies, bandits, sea pirates, rangers, and other crimes infringing upon the security and social order and safety in the border areas on the land, islands and sea.
Until 1979, responsibility for border security was vested in the People's Armed Public Security Force (PAPSF), under the control of the Ministry of Interior, and paramilitary units acted collectively as a border patrol. Border defense became a full-time task only with the rise of the China threat. As a result, the Border Defense Command was transferred to the Ministry of Defense in 1979 and divested of such responsibilities as dealing with smugglers and illegal border crossings so that it could devote full attention to border defenses.
The command was organized into battalions and included a mixture of PAVN and paramilitary units. Their duties included operating border checkpoints, patrolling the border, operating boats in the coastal waterway network, maintaining security on nearby islands, and operating roving border-area units (mostly composed of Montagnards) to guard against incursions by Chinese patrols.
The Border Guard is a people's armed force of the Party, the State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, constitutes part of the Vietnam People's Army, plays as a core and specializes in managing and protecting the sovereignty, territorial integrity, security and order of the national border on the land, islands and sea and at the border gates according to its tasks prescribed by law and is a member force in the defense areas of the border provinces and districts.
The land border areas of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (hereinafter referred to as the border areas for short) cover communes, wards and townships with their administrative boundaries adjoining the national land borderline. The border belt is a territorial area adjoining the national border, measured from the borderline inwards 100 meters at the narrowest place and not exceeding 1,000 meters at the widest place, except for special cases stipulated by the Prime Minister. The restricted area is a territorial area lying within the border area where a number of administrative measures are applied to restrict the residence, travel and activities of citizens. The border areas, the border belt and the restricted areas must have signboards which are made in the uniform form and put up in necessary places, easy to spot. The filming, photographing or drawing of landscapes and objects in the border areas must not be conducted in places where there are signboards prohibiting such activities.
The grassroots political systems in the border regions is constantly consolidated and firmly built according to the Party’s and the State’s undertakings and policies; ensure to well perform the functions of leading, managing and building the border regions and managing and protecting the national borders. The contingent of grassroots officials in the border regions is recruited and fostered to raise their leading and managerial qualifications suitable to the requirements of socio-economic development, defense and security maintenance; priority shall be given to training and fostering ethnic minority officials and officials moving from delta regions for long-term working in border regions.
The entire-population border protection and the entire-population border protection disposition is built on the basis of building of the political system; the socio-economic construction and development; the enhancement and consolidation of defense and security in the border regions; the creation of posture for the defense of the Fatherland, the management and protection of national borders, the maintenance of security as well as social order and safety in the border regions. The entire-population border protection and the entire-population border protection disposition are built up in combination with the entire-population defense, the entire-population defense disposition and the people security disposition. The Border Guard Command shall have the responsibility to advise the Defense Ministry and guide the levels, branches and localities on implementation organization.
The Border Guard has the tasks of managing and protecting the national borderline, the system of national border markers; fighting and preventing all acts of encroaching upon the border territory, illegally crossing the border on the land and sea, illegally entering and residing in the country, stealthily exploiting natural resources and other acts of infringing upon the national sovereignty, interests, security and order, causing harms to the border environment; assuming the main responsibility and coordinating with the concerned branches and localities in managing and protecting the national border and maintaining the security and social order and safety in the border areas on the land, islands and sea and at the border gates.
The Border Guard bears the main responsibility for coordinating with concerned branches and forces in local areas and authorities in controlling and protecting the national border lines and border landmarks; ensuring the implementation of agreements, regulations and laws on border issues; detecting and fighting against all illegal activities and sabotages, and crimes of all kinds to preserve sovereignty, security and public order in the boundary areas; carrying out the border guard external relations, maintaining contacts with agencies concerned of neighbouring countries to settle the border related issues with a view to building the border of peace and friendship, hence making contribution to the creation of an environment of stability and development that actively supports the policy of expanding international cooperation.
The Border Guard is consistently organized and commanded from its Headquarters to grassroots units, including the Border Guard Command, border guard provincial (municipal) commands, border guard maritime brigades, and border guard posts, border guard maritime detachments. The Border Guard Command has the Commander and Vice Commanders, the Commissar and the Deputy Commissar.
It also consists of agencies responsible for military affairs, Party and political work, technical and logistic issues, the Department of Drugs Prevention and Control, and affiliated units. The Border Guard has become increasingly stronger, professionally competent, and adept at mass mobilization and expert in Vietnam laws, as well as international laws and practices. It is equipped with border guard professional means and devices and increasingly modern weapons to accomplish its tasks.
The Border Guard deploys forces and appropriate means to perform the function and tasks of managing and protecting the national borders, maintaining security, social order and safety in the border regions and at border gates; to examine and control border crossings, entries into, and exits from, border regions, border belts, control entries and exits at the border gates (excluding the aviation border gates managed by the Public Security Ministry); to prevent and combat crimes, smuggling, trade frauds and effect the work of border protection-related external relations, to effect combat readiness against armed conflicts and aggressive wars according to law provisions.
The Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) should increase cooperation and exchanges of delegations to learn from each other’s experiences. The view was shared at a meeting in Hanoi December 04, 2012 by Senior Lieutenant General Ngo Xuan Lich, Director of the VPA’s General Department of Politics, and Lieutenant General Chai Shaoliang, Director of the Political Department of the PLA’s Chengdu Military Region. The two sides agreed that in recent years, the two countries’ border guard forces have cooperated in joint patrols, exchanging experiences and organizing art exchanges, contributing to national border security and safety.
An official welcoming ceremony was held June 19, 2013 for visiting President Truong Tan Sang and his entourage in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. The two sides praised the two defense ministries and relevant agencies for signing the revised border guard cooperation agreement, the working regulations of the committee for cooperation in land border gate management. They said this agreement will contribute to enhancing management cooperation, maintaining security and order, facilitating exchanges in border areas and building a common border of peace, stability, cooperation and development.
On February 20, 2014, at the Ministry of National Defense’s Meeting Hall, Viettel held a ceremony to receive the title of Hero of the People’s Armed Forces and to review its emulation movement in 2013. Viettel has developed rapidly to become one of the leading economic groups in Vietnam. Viettel is the only telecom business that covers all border guard stations, remote, border areas and islands with 670 BTS stations.
Since its establishment on 03 March 1959, after 50 years of growing, and maturing, and increasingly striving, the Border Guard’s officers and soldiers have achieved numerous feats of arms and glorious victories. The Border Guard has been awarded a Gold Star Order and the title of Hero of the People’s Armed Forces (two times). The Viet Nam Border Guard High Command was awarded the Ho Chi Minh Order at a ceremony 03 March 2014 marking the force's 55th founding anniversary. This was the third time the force has been honoured with the Ho Chi Minh Order, the country's second highest award. Upon presenting the noble decoration to the force, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung hailed the force's great achievements.
President Truong Tan Sang on 20 January 2014 paid a New Year visit to the Border Guard Command. The President praised the border guards’ achievements in building a strong people’s national defense. He asked them to bring into play the heroic tradition to defend the nation and combat sabotage attempts by any hostile forces. He stressed the need to strengthen the border guards’ political stance, promote unity and improve the soldiers’ fighting capacity. Sang said it was important to build a border of peace with neighboring countries in line with the Party’s external policy.
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