VIETNAM'S most senior leader has pledged that 'new blood' will be introduced into the Communist Party and Government. The party's General-Secretary Do Muoi, 80, insisted yesterday that younger officials were needed in the Politburo and Central Committee, but warned that 'opportunists' would not be tolerated. 'All men will die, so we will need new blood. We are getting old at all levels, so we have to admit a lot more youth through the party,' Mr Muoi said. 'They can build the country. We need a lot of people about 30 years old. 'I'm now 80 and I want to have rest but I will stay if I am given the task by the people and the party.' Mr Muoi's rare private comments followed the opening of the 50th anniversary session of the National Assembly, the country's law-making body. Wide changes in personnel could be expected at the party's eighth congress. The congress, scheduled for mid-year, would set a new pace and direction in Vietnam's 'renovation' reform drive, he said. The party would only tolerate those who put the interests of the 'people and nation before themselves'. Mr Muoi, like many senior government and party cadres, was politically active as a young man in communist revolutions against Vietnam's former French colonial masters and then America and the former South Vietnam. Like his peers, he also expressed fears that Vietnamese culture and identity needed to be protected amid growing foreign involvement in the country. Negative influences such as AIDS and opium had to be tackled, while positive 'off-shore' ideas were encouraged. Vietnam had to always assert 'peace, stability and development' while making new friends, he said. Mr Muoi echoed the sober monetarist tone of the assembly's opening address from Deputy Prime Minister Phan Van Khai. Money and financial spending would dominate upcoming debates, with Mr Muoi saying that without increased funds the country would struggle. The assembly will meet behind closed doors for about three weeks, setting the year's economic agenda and hammering out new laws controlling mining, state finances and co-operatives. Stiff debate is expected, with richer urban centres seeking a greater slice of central revenue.