HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh hosted a reception on Friday for Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjártó who is paying a two-day official visit to Việt Nam on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties.
Deputy PM Minh highlighted the meaning of the Hungarian official’s visit and expressed his belief that the visit would create a new driving force to promote bilateral relations.
Việt Nam always attaches importance to its traditional friendship with Hungary, Minh said, believing that the upgrading of the bilateral relations to comprehensive partnership on the occasion of Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng’s visit to Hungary in September 2018 was a firm foundation to deepen the relations between the two countries in a practical and effective manner.
Minister Szijjártó affirmed that Hungary wishes to promote an effective comprehensive partnership with Việt Nam and highly appreciates the increasingly important role and position of Việt Nam in the region.
The two sides expressed their delight at more active co-operation between the two countries and agreed on specific directions and measures to promote stronger relations.
The two sides spoke highly of regular collaboration and supporting each other in the election of important UN agencies and organisations.
Two foreign ministers assessed that the economic and trade relations between the two countries has developed stably, but has not reached their potential.
They agreed to encourage and facilitate businesses and investors from both sides, especially in areas where Hungary has strengths and Việt Nam has demand, such as effective exploitation of water sources, environmental protection, pharmaceuticals, food processing, renewable energy, manufacturing industry, defence and infrastructure development.
Deputy Prime Minister Minh thanked Hungary for its active support for the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and being the first EU member country to ratify the EU-Việt Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA). Those agreements have brought many practical benefits to trade and investment relations between the two countries, contributing to connecting the EU-Hungary market with ASEAN and Asia-Pacific markets.
Deputy Prime Minister Minh also highly appreciated Hungary’s consideration of Việt Nam as a priority partner in its international development assistance. A number of Hungarian Official Development Assistance-funded projects have created socio-economic benefits for Việt Nam, contributing to the country’s sustainable development goals, such as the project building a population management system, the project supplying domestic water to Quảng Trạch District, central Quảng Bình Province.
The two sides agreed to work closely to promote the disbursement of approved projects using Hungarian loans within the framework of a financial co-operation agreement worth EUR440 million (US$468 million) signed in 2017 between the two governments.
During the meeting, the two officials exchanged views on co-operation in important areas such as security-defence, education-training, health, agriculture, culture-tourism, natural resources-environment, labour as well as international and regional issues of mutual interest including the East Sea issue.
Before Szijjártó’s visit to Việt Nam, he said the visit was part of Hungary’s plan to boost its “Look East” policy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Szijjártó, the role of “the East” in the global economy has significantly improved in recent years and balanced bilateral ties with Eastern countries will benefit Hungarian enterprises. The COVID-19 pandemic is shaping a new global economic order in which Hungary wants to be one of the winners.
The visit also proves Hungary’s appreciation for Việt Nam’s role and position in its “Look East” policy.
Due to COVID-19 that led to disruptions in the global supply chain, Hungarian enterprises tend to diversify potential markets, including the movement of their manufacturing operations to Việt Nam. As Hungary lies at the centre of Europe, the Vietnamese firms will have a chance to learn about nearby markets, contributing to popularising Vietnamese trademarks in Europe in the near future.
Despite the pandemic, trade between the two nations still rose in the first half of this year, amounting to $456.76 million, up 43.11 per cent year-on-year. Việt Nam’s exports to the European nation were mostly electronics and spare parts, transportation equipment, footwear and apparel while importing machinery and pharmaceuticals.
The two countries are facing difficulties in the disbursement of a EUR500 million preferential credit package funded by the Hungarian Government. Only EUR60 million of which has been disbursed for the construction of Cần Thơ Cancer Hospital.
Tens of thousands of workers lost jobs in Hungary due to the pandemic. Around 2,700 Vietnamese guest workers are in the European nation. —
Cubans eternally optimistic, life-affirming, and passionate in fight for ideals: Vietnamese official
HÀ NỘI — Former Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of the Party’s Central Committee Vũ Khoan recounted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs his memories on the beginning of the Việt Nam-Cuba friendship, which has been marked by loyalty and affinity, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations (December 2, 1960 – December 2, 2020).
Below are Vũ Khoan’s full remarks.
“Our generation never forgets the feeling of utmost excitement when hearing about the triumph of the Cuban Revolution just as Việt Nam’s struggles against the American aggression to liberate the country entered a new chapter.
I have not been in charge specifically of Việt Nam-Cuba relations but I have had the good fortune to have been able to meet a number of high-level leaders of our comrade country.
In 1960, when I was working at the Vietnamese embassy in Moscow, Việt Nam’s Government asked the then-ambassador Nguyễn Văn Kỉnh to make contacts with Cuban ambassador in the Soviet Union (now the Russian Federation) to start talks on the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. I accompanied the ambassador Kỉnh to the Ukraine Hotel in Moscow to meet with the Cuban ambassador and presented the national credentials.
Kỉnh was greeted by a thin man with a scholarly look to him save for the beard and olive oil-coloured military-issue khaki clothes in the meeting room. That was Faure Chomón, a legendary Cuban commander and one of the founding members and leaders of Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil – DRE (Student Revolutionary Directorate) – one the of the three main movements in the Cuban Revolution.
Commander Chomón was very receptive to the proposal of setting up ties between Việt Nam and Cuba and promptly reported back to Cuba.
It was not long before Cuba agreed to the proposal and the two sides quickly negotiated on the content of this historic announcement, marking the start of the long and rich history of comradeship and friendly relations between the two peoples on the same side in the fight against imperialism and endeavours for national liberation and the aspiration for socialism.
[The Soviet-led] Sovét Ekonomícheskoy Vzaimopómoshchi – SEV (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) once held a special meeting on relations with Cuba, with the attending Cuban delegation headed by the famous Che Guevara himself, a bearded man in olive-green military uniform wearing a beret. Despite Việt Nam not being a member of SEV, the Vietnamese ambassador to the Soviet Union was invited to take part in the meeting.
The image of Che in this meeting has left a strong impression on me, when he took his seat, he removed the pistol from his belt and placed it on the table with a gesture that was both natural and coolly nonchalant.
Che gave a detailed account of the challenges Cuba faced after the victory of the revolution and requested assistance from the Soviet Union and other Socialist comrade countries, in exchange for steady sugar supplies.
The impression of Chomónand Che as “revolutionary knights” with a flair of romanticism always returned to me when I had the opportunity to meet with Cuban President Fidel Castro and Raúl Castro or other Cuban leaders during important meetings held in the Soviet Union or when Cuban leaders visited Việt Nam or when I had the chance to visit “the island of freedom” in the Western Hemisphere.
It seems to me that Cuban people are eternally optimistic, life-affirming, and passionately relentless in fighting for their noble beliefs and ideals, in a fashion I can only describe as very Cuban.
Despite the oppressive economic embargo by the US in the last six decades and difficulties and hardship, Cuba has made itself a paradise of quality education and healthcare.
The hearts of Cuban people are filled with a pure spirit of [socialist] internationalism and an ardent readiness to sacrifice for other oppressed peoples – not unlike the knights of old times. With regards to Việt Nam, our Cuban friends are never anything short of committed and dedicated, staying true to the famous saying of the late Fidel Castro: “For Việt Nam, Cuba is willing to shed its blood!”
This profound fidelity has created a solid foundation for the genuine brotherly ties between Việt Nam and Cuba to shine forever.” —
Việt Nam-Cuba ties going from strength to strength: ambassador
Cuban ambassador to Việt Nam Lianys Torres Rivera lauded the special fraternal relationship between Việt Nam and Cuba in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency to mark the 60th anniversary of bilateral ties (December 2, 1960 – December 2, 2020)
Việt Nam-Cuba ties can be considered an exemplary model of international co-operation. What do you regard to be the factors that have lent strength and depth to these relations?
Historical context and mutual support at all times have shaped the special relationship between the two countries.
Cuba and Việt Nam established ties on December 2, 1960, after Cuba’s Triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1961. The solidarity between the Cuban and Vietnamese in our struggles against imperialism and later efforts in nation-building was nurtured partly thanks to the early foundation of our relations. And since then, Cuba and Việt Nam have managed to build a model friendship characterised by comprehensive co-operation across all spheres from politics, socio-economic to science and technology.
In the bilateral relationship, it’s important to point out the historic leading role played by the two countries’ leaders, President Fidel Castro and President Hồ Chí Minh, in promoting the fraternal solidarity between the two nations.
The two countries are facing common enemies and challenges. We have both chosen to pursue the path of socialism, by implementing the reforms and updating the economic and social mechanisms to suit the characteristics of each country.
The exchange of experiences and theoretical and practical issues related to Việt Nam’s đổi mới (renewal) and the updating of Cuban socio-economic model demonstrates the mutual trust between the two communist parties, two states and two governments.
Việt Nam has always supported Cuba in the fights against the irrational economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the US in the past 60 years.
We highly appreciate the message by the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam and President Nguyễn Phú Trọng calling for the removal of unilateral sanctions that hurt the development of nations, especially the embargo against Cuba, which was delivered within the framework of the High-level General Debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
We understand that our bilateral ties can still expand in terms of trade and commerce based on the closeness of our special political relations.
What initiatives have Cuba and Việt Nam been implementing to foster co-operation, especially during these challenging times?
In enumerating the special events in our relations, we have to mention Việt Nam’s participation as the honourable guest at the 29th edition of the Havana International Book Fair. Trương Thị Mai, Politburo member and Chairwoman of Việt Nam-Cuba Friendship Association, led the Vietnamese delegation at the various activities held during the fair. The fair was a wonderful opportunity for Cubans to learn about Vietnamese culture, strengthen two-way co-operation in publishing and enabling exchanges between the two countries’ writers and authors.
It must be said that the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced changes to the way activities are held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Việt Nam and Cuba, as well as to scheduled delegation exchanges in several fields.
However, the pandemic has highlighted the close fraternal relations between Việt Nam and Cuba. The Communist Party of Việt Nam, the Government of Việt Nam, the Việt Nam-Cuba Friendship Association, and many Vietnamese businesses, individuals and organisations have donated money, food, and medical items to assist Cuba in the fight against the pandemic. These are important material support for us, especially as Cuba’s economy suffers a great deal both from US-imposed embargo and COVID-19.
Cuba also donated to Việt Nam a batch of drugs that produce antibodies to fight SARS-CoV-2, aiding in the treatment of patients in central provinces and cities of Việt Nam when a resurgence of the virus occurred in these areas in late July. The two sides have also had numerous discussions related to the issue.
We have celebrated the 60th anniversary of our ties in a meaningful time for both countries. Việt Nam is currently the second-largest trade partner of Cuba in Asia and in the 20 largest on a global scale.
The Việt Nam-Cuba Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed during Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel’s visit to Việt Nam in 2018 had started to take effect in April, contributing to the promotion of trade between the two countries. The agreement allows expansions and diversification of bilateral trade, facilitates import and export of goods, and makes it easier for the two countries’ products to penetrate each other’s markets.
It is expected that bilateral trade will reach US$500 million by 2025.
The implementation of the FTA serves as an important milestone during the two countries’ economic co-operation agendas in 2020-25 that have been adopted by the Governments.
What do you see as the potential fields of co-operation for Việt Nam and Cuba?
Strengthening economic-trade co-operation is one priority objective in Việt Nam-Cuba relations.
We have the inter-governmental Committee on Economic and Science-Technology Cooperation to develop projects in fields such as agriculture, health-biotechnology, finance-treasury, construction, transportation, science and technology, information technology and communication.
There is also huge potential in other important fields such as tourism, culture, pharmacy, agriculture, food industry and energy.
Cuba is always ready to provide support for Vietnamese in its search for investment opportunities and implementation of projects in Cuba.
To date, many Vietnamese companies specialising in the production of construction materials and necessities have set up shop at Cuba’s Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM).
Commenced in November 2018, Việt Nam’s ViMariel Economic Zone is Cuba’s first administrative concession project granted for a 100 per cent foreign-owned enterprise in the ZEDM.
The Cuban government is constantly improving the country’s business environment, focusing on perfecting legal mechanisms to optimise attracting foreign investment, including setting up the One-Stop Shop Mechanism for investors. We hope these changes will encourage Vietnamese companies to get more and more involved in Cuba’s economic development.
Most recently, the Cuban government has passed two decrees on commercial mortgage and guarantee to attract foreign businesses, including Vietnamese.
There are mutual efforts in place to increase Vietnamese products’ presence in Cuba, as well as Cuban biotechnology and medicine products to be available more widely in Cuba, along with a team of Cuban experts.
With the coming 60th anniversary of bilateral ties, Việt Nam and Cuba have clearly displayed their appreciation of the relationship and are committed to continuing to grow the relationship in a more comprehensive manner based on the solid foundation of the political closeness. —
PM attends ceremony in commemoration of President Lê Đức Anh’s 100th birthday
HÀ NỘI — Late President Lê Đức Anh has left deep imprints and an invaluable heritage on the revolutionary cause of the Party and the people, said Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.
He made the statement at a ceremony to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of late President, General Lê Đức Anh which was held in Huế, Thừa Thiên-Huế Province on Tuesday.
Addressing the ceremony, PM Phúc expressed his gratitude to Lê Đức Anh, a resilient communist soldier, a talented politician and a prestigious leader of the Party, State and people and close friend, trusted by international friends.
“Over 80 years of revolutionary activities, he is a shining example of a communist who is loyal to the Party and devoted to the people,” Phúc said.
“He was a person who dared to think, dared to say, dared to do. He did as he talks and was ready to take responsibility.”
He made significant contributions to the struggle for national liberation, the cause of nation building and safeguarding, and international missions, in particular the victory of the August Revolution in 1945, the General Offensive and Uprising in the spring of 1968, and the 1975 Spring General Offensive, Phúc stated.
Recalling his life and career, the PM said General Lê Đức Anh was born in 1920 in the central province of Thừa Thiên-Huế.
In 1938, at 18 years old, he became a member of the Communist Party of Việt Nam. He served as a commander in Thủ Dầu Một City in the southern province of Bình Dương during the August Revolution in 1945, and later joined the anti-French resistance in the southeastern region.
He took part in several major battles as Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Việt Nam People’s Army, Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of the Command of the South Vietnamese Liberation Army, and Commander of Military Zone 9.
He was the second-in-command of the Hồ Chí Minh Campaign, the military offensive that put an end to the three-decade conflict in Việt Nam and reunified the country on April 30, 1975.
In 1984, he was promoted to the rank of General, then served as Chief of General Staff of the Việt Nam People’s Army (1986), Minister of Defence (December 1986 – December 1991). He was President of Việt Nam during 1992-97.
General Lê Đức Anh and the Politburo and the Secretariat directed the implementation of important and breakthrough decisions to expand the country’s external relations after embarking on Đổi Mới (Renewal) process with great challenges.
The PM called on the entire party, the entire army, people and compatriots abroad to bring into full play the patriotism, self-reliance and great national unity’s strength, continuing to promote the renewal process in a fast and sustainable manner. —
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