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. —
Vietnam joins US-led Call to Action on Women’s Economic Empowerment
Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations (UN), has represented Vietnam to sign the new US-led Call to Action on Women’s Economic Empowerment, together with other 31 UN member states.
Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations (UN), represents Vietnam to sign the new US-led Call to Action on Women’s Economic Empowerment. (Photo: Vietnam’s Permanent Mission to the UN)
The Call to Action on Women’s Economic Empowerment urges the promotion and protection of basic human rights. It reaffirms the pivotal role of women in promoting prosperity and stabilisation of the global economy, especially as the world seeks to recover from the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
It seeks to address legal barriers to women’s full and participation in the economy and increase investments to narrow the gender gap while recognising that the sharing of family responsibilities creates an enabling family environment for women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. It also looks to enhance women’s full access to and equal opportunities in the labour market and take effective action against discrimination and abuse in the workplace.
“Economic power is very important to achieve gender equality and to promote women’s participation in social, economic and political processes in every country,” Quy told the virtual signing event on October 23.
“Vietnam attaches great importance to women’s economic empowerment, and this means gender mainstreaming in policy-making and policy-implementing processes,” he said.
“Up to now in Vietnam, women occupy 48.8 percent of the workforce, 25 percent of the business leaders, and 25 percent of the parliamentary members,” the ambassador said, adding that the vice president of Vietnam, the chair and the first vice chair of the Vietnamese National Assembly are female.
Vietnam hopes that this call will produce a new impetus to promote women’s empowerment in economic activities, he added./.VNA
NA deputies discuss draft resolution on joining UN peacekeeping operations
Deputies at the 14th National Assembly on October 24 gave opinions on a draft resolution on Vietnam’s engagement in UN peacekeeping operations, as part of the ongoing NA’s 10th session.
Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich addresses the session (Photo: VNA)
According to Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich, since 2014, Vietnam has sent 172 officers and staff from the Ministry of Defence to UN peacekeeping missions in Central Africa Republic and South Sudan as well as the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the UN headquarters.
Currently, the Government is directing the ministry to prepare to sent about 320 sappers under the Vietnam People’s Army to UN peacekeeping operations.
All officers sent to the missions have completed their tasks, he said.
In terms of finance, Vietnam has received over 4.8 million USD from the UN and more than 20 million USD from international community for the work, which has helped reduce the State budget spending for the activities, he noted.
Meanwhile, as part of the efforts to implement a project to send police officers to UN peacekeeping missions in the 2014-2020 period, the Government is directing the Public Security Ministry to train officers and work with the UN agencies on the work.
First Vietnamese police officers are scheduled to be sent to UN peacekeeping missions from 2021, said the minister.
Minister Lich noted that the engagement in UN peacekeeping operations is a new task which has not been institutionalised, leading to obstacles during the implementation of the work.
He underlined the significance to build and issue a NA resolution on UN peacekeeping operation engagement to review, supplement and issue new legal documents in the field to match international conventions and agreements to which Vietnam is a signatory.
The draft resolution comprises six chapters and 17 articles.
At the session, deputies listened to a report verifying the draft resolution delivered by NA Committee for Defence-Security Vo Trong Viet, which shows that the committee basically agrees with the need to issue the resolution to institutionalise the resolutions of the Party and rules of the Constitution and demands of the reality in the field.
The committee also agreed on the consideration of the approval of the resolution at the 10th session of the NA.
The majority of the deputies also concurred to propose the NA to pass the draft resolution during the 10th session.
Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich also answered questions raised by deputies on the draft resolution at the session./.VNA
Vietnam is an important factor in Japan’s foreign policy
The current Vietnam-Japan relationship is a broad strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia. Vietnam will be an important factor in Japan’s foreign policy.
Japanese Prime Minister has just finished a visit to Vietnam on October 18-20 at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. This was the first overseas trip of Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide since taking office on September 16.
At the age of 71, he is a veteran politician who served as Chief Cabinet Secretary of the government led by former Prime Minister Abe for seven years and eight months.
Mr. Suga was born and grew up in Akita prefecture into a strawberry farmer family, unrelated to politics. He first ran for office when he was nearly 40 years old and was elected in the Yokohama Municipal Assembly. Less than a decade later, he ran a vigorous public speaking campaign and won a seat in the House of Representatives.
Renowned for being loyal, he never forgot his roots. As a minister, he promoted policies that would help local communities affected by Japan’s rapidly shrinking population.
Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide arrived at Noi Bai airport, starting his official visit to Vietnam on October 18-20. Photo: Pham Hai
During his political career, Mr. Suga has been determined to achieve set goals. Five years after Mr. Abe stepped down as Prime Minister during his first term, Mr. Suga was at the forefront of an effort to bring his like-minded friend back to power. Now, he has stepped onto the stage to be known to the world.
Prime Minister Suga had a good start when the NHK’s poll showed that his new cabinet had a 62% support rate. The initial support rate for Mr. Suga’s cabinet was lower than the rate of 81% for the cabinet of Mr. Koizumi Junichiro and 72% for Mr. Hatoyama Yukio and it is similar to that of his predecessor, Abe Shinzo, when he first took office.
Mr. Suga’s new cabinet consists of 20 members, of which 15 are officials from the time of Mr. Abe Shinzo or earlier, so it can be considered an extended step from the Abe administration. Prime Minister Suga has retained Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu and appointed a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, Nobuo Kishi, the younger brother of former Prime Minister Abe as Minister of Defense.
This is a sign that Mr. Suga will continue the foreign policy of his predecessor. It is understandable because Mr. Suga used to be a powerful arm of Mr. Abe.
Regarding whether Mr. Suga should continue with Mr. Abe’s policies, NHK’s public opinion survey showed that 17% said it should continue, 36% said it would be better if they continue, 20% said it should not be continued and 18% confirmed it should not continue.
An important point in the foreign policy of Prime Minister Suga is to move towards a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and the pillar remains the Japan-US alliance relationship. The Japan-US alliance serves as the foundation of peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. Prime Minister Suga made a phone call with US President Donald Trump and the two sides agreed that Japan-America is the cornerstone of efforts to pursue a free and open Indo-Pacific.
In particular, the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is extremely important as it lies on Japan’s essential sea routes, located in an important strategic point connecting the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. In Japan’s position, it is important to further promote the integration of ASEAN, a hub for regional cooperation, as a partner sharing fundamental values such as the rule of law and democracy, in order to realize the stability and prosperity of the entire region.
With such a viewpoint, Japan continues to fully support ASEAN’s efforts to deepen integration. In recent years, Japan has been supporting ASEAN’s efforts, strengthening connectivity and reducing intra-regional gaps for deeper integration through ODA and Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund.
General roadmap of action
In January this year, Foreign Minister Motegi delivered a speech on the ASEAN Policy in Jakarta proposing three joint roadmaps of action between Japan and ASEAN: ” nurturing people together”, “Building institutions together” and “Amassing our wisdom”.
The special ASEAN+3 Summit on Covid-19 response was held via teleconference in April. Prime Minister Abe at that time stated to support ASEAN countries based on three pillars, including the establishing the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases.
ASEAN adopted the “ASEAN’s Outlook on Indo-Pacific” (AOIP) in June 2019. Japan welcomed the adoption and endorsement of AOIP, in accordance with the fundamental principles in Japan’s vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific (FOIP).
Among Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam has an important geostrategic position, as it is adjacent to the East Sea, the gateway to the east-west economic corridor and the southern economic corridor. Vietnam is a rapidly growing country with stable socio-political growth and an increasing role in the ASEAN region.
As the Chair of ASEAN 2020, Vietnam has played a good role in leading member countries to strengthen cooperation in many fields, for the common goals of ASEAN. The value and position of Vietnam in the region and in the international arena are being improved. Vietnam can take advantage of and promote its advantages in political-security and economic cooperation.
The current Vietnam-Japan relationship is the broad strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia, and Vietnam will be an important factor in Japan’s foreign policy.
Dr. Phan Cao Nhat Anh (Northeast Asian Research Institute, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences)
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