This is the first visit by German President to Vietnam in the past 17 years. It takes place just over a year after the official visit to Vietnam by German Prime Minister Olaf Scholz in November 2022. This also marks the first State visit to Vietnam by a head of a European country in 2024.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1975, the friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Germany have developed in a more positive, extensive, effective, and comprehensive manner.
In October 2011, the two countries established the Vietnam-Germany Strategic Partnership, opening a new chapter in bilateral relations. For nearly half a century, Vietnam and Germany’s friendship and cooperation have been preserved and continuously nurtured by the governments and peoples of the two countries. The two sides have maintained regular contact and exchanges of delegations at all levels, especially high levels.
Vietnam and Germany have also coordinated closely at international organisations and multilateral mechanisms such as the United Nations, the ASEAN-EU cooperation framework, etc. Germany supports Vietnam's views on the East Sea/South China Sea issue, including the resolving of disputes by peaceful means on the basis of international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the Decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) 2016.
Economics is one of the successful areas of cooperation in Vietnam-Germany relations. For many consecutive years, Germany has been Vietnam's largest trading partner in the EU, accounting for nearly 20% of Vietnam's exports to the EU, and also acts as an important transit gateway for Vietnamese goods to other markets in Europe. The two countries’ bilateral trade turnover reached more than 11 billion USD. There are currently more than 350 German businesses operating in Vietnam.
Germany is among the countries that have been regularly providing official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam. Since the 1990s, Germany has provided ODA worth more than 2 billion USD to support Vietnam in its socio-economic development and international integration.
In 2013, the two sides agreed to change the priority areas of ODA cooperation to three new areas based on their strengths: energy, vocational training associated with sustainable economic development, and environmental policy and sustainable use of natural resources. From 2020, Vietnam has been classified as a Global Partner in Germany's Development Cooperation Strategy to 2030.
Over the past nearly 50 years of cooperation for development, Vietnam and Germany have reaped many outstanding achievements in culture, education-training, science-technology, and tourism. The cooperation in education and training between the two countries began in 1990. Germany grants Vietnam many scholarships for master's and doctoral training annually. There are currently about 300 Vietnamese postgraduate students receiving research scholarships and more than 7,000 Vietnamese students studying in Germany. The Vietnamese-German University, which was established in Ho Chi Minh City in September 2008, is considered a "lighthouse" in educational and training cooperation between the two countries, contributing to the training of high-quality human resources for Vietnam.
On the base of a long-standing friendship and cooperation, Vietnam and Germany have overcome the COVID-19 pandemic together. Although the country was also heavily affected, Vietnam was ready to share its medical resources and support Germany during the most difficult time of the pandemic outbreak.
Responding to that sincere sentiment, Germany also provided tens of millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccine and medical equipment to help Vietnam fight against the epidemic. Many German localities, such as Hamburg, Bremen, Saxony-Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and Hessen, provided thousands of test kits and medical equipment to Vietnam.
The State visit to Vietnam by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his spouse demonstrates Germany's aspiration to further consolidate and promote the strategic partnership with Vietnam, as well as attach importance to the role and international position of Vietnam.
The visit also affirms the consistent policy of the Party and State of Vietnam to always attach importance to the strategic partnership with Germany in the overall partnership and comprehensive cooperation with the EU. May the visit be a great success, contributing to strengthening political understanding and trust as well as creating new momentum and further deepening the pillars of cooperation between the two countries.