HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam always stands side by side and stays ready to help Laos, within its ability, to push back the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính told President of the Lao National Assembly Xaysomphone Phomvihane during their meeting in Hà Nội on Monday.
Both leaders said they were delighted to see that the great friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries have been increasingly strengthened in all areas, from politics, diplomacy, national defence-security, to economy, trade, investment, socio-culture, and education-training.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way trade still surpassed US$1 billion in the first ten months of 2021, up over 30.1 per cent from the same period last year. Việt Nam was the third biggest foreign investor in Laos, with 209 projects worth $5.18 billion.
Xaysomphone expressed his profound thanks to the Vietnamese Party, State and people for providing timely and invaluable support to Laos in the fight against the pandemic.
Both leaders agreed to effectively carry out high-level agreements and prepare for the upcoming 44th meeting of the Việt Nam – Laos Inter-Governmental Committee, continue working closely together to fight COVID-19, strengthen national defence-security collaboration, step up economic, trade and investment ties as well as accelerating infrastructure projects such as Hà Nội – Vientiane expressway and Vũng Áng 1,2,3 seaports.
They pledged to continue effectively implementing signed education projects; jointly hold activities to celebrate the 60th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties and the 45th anniversary of the signing of the Việt Nam – Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in 2022; support each other at multilateral forums, especially in issues regarding each country’s security and development, as well as peace, stability and cooperation in the region, including the sustainable use and management of water sources in Mekong River, and the East Sea issue.
Việt Nam, Hungary foster parliamentary cooperation
HÀ NỘI — Standing Vice-chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Trần Thanh Mẫn and First Officer of the Hungarian NA Márta Mátrai discussed measures to develop the cooperation between the two legislative bodies more practically and effectively during their talks held in Hà Nội on Thursday.
First Officer Márta is leading a high-ranking delegation from the Hungarian NA on a working visit to Việt Nam from January 18-22.
They appreciated that in spite of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, bilateral parliamentary cooperation between the two countries was ensured.
Last July, NA Chairman Vương Đình Huệ held a phone talk with his Hungarian counterpart László Kövér to discuss ways to promote the relations between the two countries and two NAs in the future.
The two NAs established a bilateral friendship group of parliamentarians while parliamentarians of the two countries kept meeting, coordinating and supporting each other at multilateral parliamentary forums such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership Meeting (ASEP).
They said the two NAs should continue organising such activities as well as exchanges and dialogues to share law building experience.
At the talks, Vice Chairman Mẫn spoke highly of the Hungarian delegation’s visit, saying that this was the first international delegation visiting and working with the NA of Việt Nam on the occasion of the new year.
Mẫn said he believed that it would be a good start in the parliamentary relations between Việt Nam and Hungary as well as between Việt Nam and parliaments of other EU member countries.
The Vietnamese NA appreciated the progress in the relations between the two countries over the past years, particularly the development of the bilateral relations to the comprehensive partnership during the visit to Hungary by Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng in 2018, which demonstrated the determination of leaders of the two countries in promoting the bilateral relations.
Vice-Chairman Mẫn stressed that with a traditional friendship of over 70 years, Việt Nam always attached importance to enhancing the multi-faceted cooperation with Hungary – the first comprehensive partner of Việt Nam at Central and Eastern Europe.
Appreciating the effective cooperation between the two countries at multilateral platforms, Mẫn thanked the Hungarian Parliament for supporting the signing and approval of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). The EVFTA, which took effect from August 2020, has created a strong motivation to promote trade exchanges and investment cooperation between Việt Nam and Hungary and other EU member countries.
Hungary was also the first member country of the EU to approve the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (IVIPA), he said.
He also expressed delights at the development of the economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries. Two-way trade turnover reached a record of US$1.3 billion in 2020, despite the pandemic’s impacts.
He said he appreciated that Hungary has considered Việt Nam as a priority partner in its ODA policy with a commitment of Euro 440 million of preferential loans to help implement projects in the fields of priority cooperation between the two countries.
First Officer Márta affirmed that Việt Nam was the most important foreign trade partner of Hungary in Southeast Asia.
She thanked Việt Nam for sending face masks and medical equipment for Hungary to support its COVID-19 prevention and control.
She wished that the Vietnamese NA would have supports to help realise cooperation agreements between the Governments, ministries, and sectors of the two countries. —
Man in Phú Yên Province imprisoned for anti-State propaganda, storing explosives
PHÚ YÊN — The People’s Court of the central province of Phú Yên on Friday sentenced a man to six and a half years in prison for distributing anti-State materials and illegally storing explosives.
According to the indictment issued by the provincial People’s Procuracy, Nguyễn Bảo Tiến, born in 1986 and living in Ward 4 of Tuy Hòa City, followed foreign newspapers and often shared and posted articles with distortions and anti-State content.
From August to October 2019, he received six parcels that contained several books spreading subversive information.
He also sent 46 parcels to other people, and was arrested while handling procedures for sending the 21 others.
An additional 22 parcels with 38 books were also found at his home.
On April 20, 2021, the police discovered a hand grenade hidden by the man.
Tiến said he had secretly brought home the explosive with the detonator attached while participating in a military drill in April 2008.
At the trial, Tiến made pleaded guilty.
The jury sentenced him to six years and six months, including five years and six months for “storing, distributing, and disseminating materials against the State of the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam” and one year for “appropriating and illegally storing explosives” under Article 305 of the amended Penal Code. —
Việt Á imported 3 million COVID quick test kits from China at less than US$1 apiece: VN customs
HÀ NỘI — Việt Á Technologies JSC, the company which has been prosecuted for overcharging RT-PCR COVID-19 tests, had imported three million quick test kits from China at less than US$1 per kit, said the General Department of Việt Nam Customs (GDVC).
The deal from China was worth VNĐ64.7 billion (US$2.8 million) in total.
Last month, the police arrested and initiated legal proceedings against Phan Quốc Việt, general director of Việt Á Technologies, for raising the price of RT-PCR COVID-19 test kits and bribery of health officials to facilitate purchases of their test kits.
According to the GDVC, Phan Quốc Việt was also named the director of 11 other companies, but only Việt Á was trading medical equipment and materials.
From 2017 to 2021, the company imported chemical materials, reagents, lab equipment, and other substances for testing with a total trade turnover of VNĐ286 billion ($12.6 million).
This includes VNĐ162 billion ($7.2 million) for quick tests and reagents, and VNĐ123 billion ($5.4 million) for equipment for laboratory use.
The GDVC is also investigating seven other companies related to Việt Á Technologies JSC: Technique Import and Export JSC (Technimex); Biomedic Science Material JSC; Việt Nam Applied Biology and Technical JSC; Lan Oanh Science Equipment Co Ltd; Việt Hoàng Long Trading Co Ltd; Vina Chemistry Biology Science Equipment Co Ltd; and TBR Technology Corporation. —
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