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$1.9 billion allocated to build Mekong Delta expressway



The National Assembly on Thursday approved a number of major resolutions on infrastructure development and law adjustments during the last day of their third sitting in Hà Nội. — VNA/ Photos Văn Điệp

HÀ NỘI — The National Assembly on Thursday agreed to spend nearly VNĐ45 trillion (US$1.9 billion) building more than 188 kilometres of highway in the Mekong Delta.

On the last day of their third sitting in Hà Nội, legislators passed a resolution to carry out Phase I of the Châu Đốc–Cần Thơ–Sóc Trăng Expressway construction, with 478 over 479 deputies (95.98 per cent) voting in favour.

The expressway will connect the Mekong Delta cities and provinces of Cần Thơ, An Giang, Hậu Giang, Sóc Trăng, and improve trade and transportation between the northwestern and southeastern regions.

The 188.2km construction will be built in four stages as public investments.

It will occupy 1,205ha of land, including 860ha of paddy fields, 24ha of residential areas, 127ha for perennial crops, 64.93ha for annual crops, 10ha of aquaculture land, and 119ha of public land.

The whole project will cost VNĐ44.691 trillion ($1.911 billion), with VNĐ30.758 trillion taken from the State’s budget for the 2021-25 period, and VNĐ13.933 trillion from the central budget for the 2025-30 period.

Preparations for the construction will start this year. Major sections are expected to be built by 2025, the whole expressway by 2026, and it will be open for public use in 2027.

The ministries of transport, finance, and related central and local agencies were assigned to carry out the project in accordance with special mechanisms and policies.

They were assigned to develop plans to gain back investment capital and return it to the central and local budgets, in proportion with what they contribute. This is in line with Article 5 of Resolution 43, issued by the National Assembly on January 11, 2022, on fiscal and monetary policies to support the program of socio-economic recovery and development.

More construction projects approved

The NA also adopted resolutions on some other major road projects and special mechanisms and policies for south-central Khánh Hòa Province.

With 474 deputies showing support, the parliament approved a resolution on investing in the Belt Road 4 project of the Hà Nội Capital Region.

NA deputies vote on a resolution on the investment of the Belt Road 4 in Hà Nội.

The 112.8km road, traversing Hà Nội, Hưng Yên, Bắc Ninh, and some other localities, will help boost regional connectivity and urban restructuring, effectively capitalise on satellite cities to reduce the population density in Hà Nội’s inner areas, according to the NA Standing Committee.

A resolution on investment in the Belt Road 3 project in HCM City was also given the green light after winning the approval of 475 deputies.

The 76.34km road aims to connect HCM City with Đồng Nai, Bình Dương, Long An, and some nearby localities in the southern region, improve the effectiveness of existing and future projects, create new development space, and make use of local land potential in order to build a sustainable and modern system of cities.

Meanwhile, 467 deputies voted for a resolution on investment in Phase 1 of the Khánh Hòa–Buôn Ma Thuột Expressway project.

The 117.5km expressway, running from Khánh Hòa to Buôn Ma Thuột City in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk, is meant to link the two regions and create momentum for their development while helping boost the effectiveness of existing and future projects, meet transportation demand, guarantee defence–security, reduce poverty, and improve the economy’s competitiveness.

Chairman Nguyễn Phú Cường of the NA’s Finance and Budget Committee presents reports on special development mechanisms and policies for the south-central province of Khánh Hòa.

With support from 475 deputies, another resolution on investment in Phase 1 of the Biên Hòa–Vũng Tàu Expressway project was also adopted.

The road, about 53.7km long, is hoped to be put into use in tandem with the eastern wing of the North-South Expressway and Long Thành International Airport, connect and optimise economic and seaport centres to meet transportation demand,  and provide room and impulse for development in the southeastern region.

The NA also passed a resolution on piloting some special mechanisms and policies for the development of Khánh Hòa Province, which was supported by 477 legislators.

The resolution, which will be effective in five years starting August 1, regulates the pilot implementation of some mechanisms and policies on financial and state budget management; state management in planning, land, and environment; the separation of resettlement and site clearance projects from public investment ones; and the development of Văn Phong Economic Zone and the maritime economy in Khánh Hòa.

Law adjustments and resolutions approved

In the morning, the NA agreed to pass the revised Law on Insurance Business, which will come into force on January 1, 2023.

The lawmakers also passed the amendments to the Law on Intellectual Property with 95.58 per cent of votes in favour. The revised law will start to take effect on January 1, 2023.

They also voted on a draft resolution on piloting vocational training outside prisons for inmates, with the approval of 93.78 per cent of deputies.

The resolution will come into force on September 1 and the pilot will be carried out in five years. It stipulates the pilot model of organising labour activities, job orientations and vocational training outside prisons for inmates under the Ministry of Public Security, with prisons allowed to pilot cooperation with domestic organisations for such activities. —



Vietnam proposes measures to foster Mekong-Lancang cooperation in post-pandemic recovery



Vietnam’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son has recommended four measures for beefing up the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) to promote growth and sustainable development from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Son was speaking at the seventh MLC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Bagan, Myanmar on Monday, centered around ‘Solidarity for Peace and Prosperity.’ 

The event was attended by foreign ministers from the six member countries of the MLC mechanism, including China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. 

Participants highly appreciated the MLC’s recent contributions to regional cooperation and development, especially amid the complicated developments of COVID-19, and discussed coordination in organizing the second MLC Ministerial Meeting on Water Resources in Vietnam this year.

In this context, the Vietnamese diplomat delivered a speech proposing four major measures to make the MLC more effective.

He firstly mentioned the need for cooperation in boosting economic recovery and resilience from the pandemic, and strengthening customs cooperation and trade facilitation in order to solve goods congestion and ensure the free flow of goods and services in the region.

Second, it is necessary for mutual support among member countries in climate change adaptation and the transition to a green economic model, including clean energy development and climate-smart agriculture.

He also called for stronger cooperation in managing and using water resources in a sustainable manner, strengthening consultation and dialogue on water resource development plans, increasing the sharing of hydrological and meteorological data and hydroelectric dam operations, and expanding coordination between the MLC and the Mekong River Commission.

Vietnam’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son (L) bumps elbows with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at the seventh Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Myanmar, July 4, 2022. Photo: Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Vietnam’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son (L) bumps elbows with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at the seventh Mekong-Lancang Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Myanmar, July 4, 2022. Photo: Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Lastly, it is advisable to promote people-to-people connections through tourism activities and cultural exchange programs, Son said.

His speech was highly appreciated by the other member countries and was reflected in the conference’s documents, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The event came as two-way trade between the lower Mekong River countries and China reached nearly US$400 billion last year, up 23 percent from 2020, while many large infrastructure works have been completed and hundreds of technical assistance projects are being built by the MLC member nations, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

The meeting emphasized the principles of equal cooperation, mutual consultation, benefit-sharing and respect for the United Nations Charter and international law, as well as the legislation of each country. 

It came to an end with the issuance of four joint statements on strengthening agricultural cooperation, disaster prevention, customs and trade facilitation, and exchanges between MLC civilizations. 

Founded in 2016, the MLC is a multilateral cooperation mechanism between the riparian states of the Lancang River and Mekong River. 

The Lancang River originates from Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in southwestern China.

It is called the Mekong River as it flows through the other five countries – Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam – before entering the sea.

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Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to visit Vietnam



Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov is scheduled to visit Vietnam on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday night.

The visit is made at the invitation of Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son.

In September 2021, Minister Son conducted a business trip to Moscow, where he met with many Russian officials, including his counterpart Lavrov.

In late 2021, State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited Russia at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin.

Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Russia, while this year is the 10th anniversary of the two nations’ comprehensive strategic partnership.

Lavrov’s visit takes place in the context of new developments in the international and regional situations.

In March, Minister Son joined separate phone talks with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba about the military conflict between the two countries.

In both dialogues, Son affirmed Vietnam’s consistent stance that international disputes and disagreements should be resolved by peaceful measures and in compliance with the basic principles of the United Nations Charter and international law, especially the principle of respecting the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of countries.

The official asked relevant parties to exercise restraint, reduce tensions, and conduct more dialogues to find a long-term solution that is in line with international law and takes into consideration the legitimate interests of all sides.

During the talks, Minister Lavrov praised Vietnam’s contribution to peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the region and the world.

The official shared recent developments in the situation in Ukraine and affirmed that he would try his best to support the safe evacuation of Vietnamese citizens from conflict zones.

The two sides also discussed bilateral relations, with Minister Son suggesting that Russia continue to pay attention to and create favorable conditions for the Vietnamese community there to stabilize their life, production, and business operation.

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Vietnam leaders congratulate US on 246th Independence Day



Vietnamese leaders have sent congratulatory messages to leaders of the U.S. government and Congress on the occasion of the country’s 246th Independence Day.

State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh sent their congratulations to U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue also extended greetings to President of the Senate Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

On the same day, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son sent a congratulatory message to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Vietnam and the U.S. established bilateral relations in 1995, paving the way for a partnership of trust, friendship, and mutual respect.

The bilateral relationship is guided by the comprehensive partnership signed in 2013 and joint statements issued by the leaders of the two countries in 2015, 2016, and May and November 2017, according to the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi.

After lifting the ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam in May 2016, the U.S. continued to support the Southeast Asian country in maritime security, including handing over Hamilton-class coast guard ships to Vietnam in 2017 and 2020.

The people-to-people relations between the two countries have also developed rapidly, with tens of thousands of Vietnamese students having come to the U.S. to study, contributing nearly US$1 billion to the local economy.

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