Nhan Dan Online – Over the past year, Vietnam and France have made thorough preparations to demonstrate their commitment to improve bilateral relations and to celebrate the upcoming 40th anniversary of their diplomatic ties in 2013. Nhan Dan (The People) Online Newspaper interviewed Ambassador to France, Duong Chi Dung, on bilateral relations with France in 2012 and the potential for 2013.
Interviewer: Can you please review Vietnam’s relationship with France, as well as with Portugal, Principality of Monaco, and Principality of Andorra in 2012?
Ambassador Duong Chi Dung: Vietnam and France has witnessed positive developments throughout 2012, despite political changes. In a letter replying to Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang’s message of congratulations, France’s President Francois Hollande stressed the need to boost high-ranking delegations and exchanges and bring the Vietnam-France relationship to new heights whilst also agreed to accelerate the process to develop the relationship to a strategic level in discussion with Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, on the sidelines of the 9th Asia-Europe Meeting Summit in Laos.
The two countries’ co-operation in economics, culture, education and training are also to be enhanced. At the annual meeting of donors to Vietnam, recently held in December, despite its financial and economic difficult situation, France maintained its position as the largest ODA provider to Vietnam among EU countries with US$340 million pledged in assistance for the country making a total in the past ten years of US$2.15 billion.
The Vietnam Embassy in France has co-operated with the relevant domestic agencies in organising the activities that will mark the two countries’ 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties in all fields of defence, economics, culture and science-technology, in a bid to further the establishment of a strategic partnership in Vietnam-France relations.
The bilateral ties have received enthusiastic support from people of France, which can be seen through the vigorous and widespread development of movements in support of Vietnam, across the country in 2012, particularly the organisation of the first Friendship and Solidarity Festival in May, which coincided with the President Ho Chi Minh’s 122nd birthday.
In 2012, Vietnam recorded positive results in developing relations with Portugal, Monaco, and Andorra. Mutual understanding between Vietnam and Portugal has been strengthened through the visits made by Vietnamese and Portuguese businesses, as well as at seminars seeking opportunities for co-operation and investment between the two countries. Cultural and oceanographic co-operation between with Vietnamese and Monacan’s research centres have also gained much progress. Vietnam has also increased exchanges with Andorra, including through multilateral forums, to develop mutual understanding and seek chance to boost co-operation with the country.
Interviewer: Vietnam and France will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties in 2013, when the Vietnam-France Year will also take place. Can you tell us about the significance of the event as well as notable activities that will be held in the two countries on the occasion?
Ambassador Duong Chi Dung: The Vietnam – France Year, which will run through September 2014, will hold a wide range of activities and events in various fields of politics, economics and trade, investment, culture, education and training, science and technology as well as co-operation at local level. The activities will not only mark the Vietnamese-French development period, but will also create a new step in the traditional comprehensive relationship between the two countries.
In addition to high-ranking political exchanges, the two nations will prioritise in reforming bilateral dialogue mechanisms such as the Vietnam – France Joint Committee on National Defence Co-operation, the Council on Economic Co-operation Development, the Security Strategic Dialogue, the Joint Committee for Science and Technology Co-operation.
The Year has received encouraging responses from partners at all levels and sectors, as well as businesses, training and research centres, co-operative agencies, localities and organisations across the two countries.
More than 100 events will be scheduled on the occasion, including trade and investment promotion activities, exhibitions on the history, culture, ethnicity of the two countries, Vietnamese Day and Week and France, art performance programmes as well as film screenings, culinary festivals and sporting events. The events will bring Vietnamese and French people closer and help them discover the cultural similarities between the two nations.
Interviewer: Can you please tell us about Vietnam’s plans to boost relations with France as well as Portugal, Monaco and Andorra in the new year of 2013?
Ambassador Duong Chi Dung: Vietnam and France are stepping up to lay a foundation for more effective co-operation at the new level. In 2013, the two sides will increase political dialogues, high-ranking exchanges and mutual visits of senior leaders and ministers from both countries. France is scheduled to welcome the visits made by Vietnamese Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Minh, and Minister of Culture Sports and Tourism, Hoang Tuan Anh. French President Francois Hollande is expected to visit Vietnam between the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014.
Vietnam also seeks to enhance the co-operative potential to develop relationships with Portugal, Principality of Monaco, and Principality of Andorra. A delegation of Portuguese businesses led by the country’s Foreign Minister is scheduled to visit Vietnam and boost the two sides’ economic diplomacy. The Vietnamese Day in Monaco will be held in the coming year to introduce the country’s land, people and culture to Monacan friends. The two sides are also putting forward the implementation of the co-operative agreement between the Oceanography Institutes of Monaco and Vietnam’s Nha Trang city. Vietnam is also expected to welcome a visit made by Monaco’s Prince Albert II, which will help facilitate the signing of co-operation agreements between the two countries. Regarding relations with Andorra, Vietnam has increased co-operative opportunities with the country in culture and tourism exchanges. Vietnam is ready to welcome Andorra’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Tourism as well as the country’s businesses.
I believe that the year 2013 will bring fruitful results to Vietnam’s relations with France as well as its other partners.
Interviewer: Thank you every much for the interview.
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