The Deputy PM conveyed the gratitude from Acting President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh and the family of late President Tran Dai Quang to the Pope for extending his condolences over the death of the President and sending a representative to Vietnam to pay their last respects to the deceased.
He informed the Pope on Vietnam’s outstanding achievements in socio-economic development and international integration, emphasising that they are the results of the joint efforts of all Vietnamese, including the religious community.
Deputy PM Binh affirmed that Vietnam constantly works to perfect its policy on respecting and ensuring the freedom of religion and beliefs for all Vietnamese, and offers favourable conditions for religions to operate in line with their charters and statutes and in accordance with the law. This can be clearly seen in the all-round development and diverse activities of religions in Vietnam, including the Vietnamese Catholic Church.
For his part, Pope Francis welcomed the visit by Deputy PM Binh, describing it as an important new step in development, helping to enhance mutual understanding and thus further promote the ties between Vietnam and the Vatican in the future.
He recalled the fond memories of his meetings with Vietnam’s leaders in the past few years and expressed joy at the positive developments in Vatican-Vietnam ties.
The Pope thanked the Government and authorities at all levels of Vietnam for facilitating the activities of the Vietnam Catholic Church and the Vatican’s non-resident envoy to Vietnam.
He stressed that the Vietnam Catholic Church should better implement the motto of “Living the Gospel amid the nation” set by the Vietnam Episcopal Council and the Pope’s teaching that “a good Catholic is a good citizen.”
The Pope encouraged Vietnamese Catholic followers and dignitaries to participate in common activities and make active contributions to the development of the nation and the church.
The Vietnamese Deputy PM affirmed that Vietnam appreciates and respects the instructions and teachings of the Pope and the Holy See towards the Vietnamese Catholic community. He expressed the hope that the Holy See will guide the Vietnamese Catholic Church and Vietnamese Catholic community in following the Pope’s teachings, adding that Vietnam stands ready to work with the Vatican in order to enhance their bilateral ties.
During his meeting with the Vatican Secretary of State, Deputy PM Binh stressed that Vietnam always creates the best conditions for religions, including Catholicism, to operate on an equal basis and in accordance with the law.
Vietnam attaches importance to and wants to promote its ties with the Vatican on the basis of respect for the principles on relations among nations and meeting the aspirations and interests of both sides, Binh said.
Pietro Parolin said the Vatican always encourages the Vietnamese Catholic Church to actively contribute to national construction and defence.
The two sides exchanged views on important issues in the bilateral ties and affirmed the need to maintain high-level meetings and regular dialogues at all levels.
They discussed and reached agreement on the directions for strengthening Vietnam-Vatican ties towards elevating the relationship from the level of non-resident envoy to resident envoy in the near future. They assigned the joint working group to make preparations for the 7th meeting to discuss the issue in detail.
Deputy PM Binh conveyed an invitation from Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to Secretary of State Parolin to visit Vietnam, which the latter accepted with pleasure.
* The same day, Deputy PM Truong Hoa Binh met the Vietnamese community at the Vietnamese Embassy in Italy and visited Catholic priests at Foyer Phat Diem in Rome.
He informed the embassy staff on Vietnam’s notable socio-economic achievements in the first nine months of the year and praised the embassy for fulfilling its task of promoting Vietnam-Italy ties.
The Deputy PM said he expects the embassy to continue acting as bridge between the two countries and devote close attention to the Vietnamese community to help them conserve Vietnamese culture and build an increasingly stable and developed community.
He reiterated Vietnam’s consistent policy of regarding overseas Vietnamese as an inseparable part of the Vietnamese nation, while expressing his hope that the Vietnamese community in Italy will always live in unity, provide mutual support and make active contributions to national development.
Deputy PM Truong Hoa Binh is greeted by the Vietnamese community in Italy. (Photo: VGP)