Vietnam is willing to co-operate and contribute to promoting and protecting the common interests of the international community: President

Friday, 2016-08-26 13:04:54
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President Tran Dai Quang (Credit: VGP)
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NDO – President Tran Dai Quang granted an interview to the French news agency AFP ahead of President Francois Hollande’s State visit to Vietnam. Following is the full text of the interview.

Q: Would you please share your assessment of the relations between Vietnam and France as well as important milestones in bilateral ties since the two countries established diplomatic relations?

A: Relations between Vietnam and France have always held a significant connection throughout history. It is the friendship between a European leading developed industrialised country and an Asian developing country that is actively engaging in international integration.

As you know, 43 years ago, Vietnam and France laid the very first bricks for the construction of a long-term relationship. After all these years, the friendship and co-operative relations between the two countries have been further consolidated and developed.

The historic visit of President Francois Mitterrand to Vietnam in 1993 could be considered an important landmark in relations between Vietnam and France, followed by working visits made by senior leaders of the two countries which gradually fostered, strengthened and lifted the bilateral ties to a new height. In 2013, the two countries signed the joint statement on the establishment of the strategic partnership.

In the framework of newer, deeper and stronger co-operation, over the past three years, the two countries have witnessed achievements in various fields such as politics, diplomacy, economics, trade and investment, science-technology, culture and education. France is currently the fifth biggest trading partner of Vietnam in the EU and is one of the leading donors of official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam. Bilateral trade revenue in 2015 reached US$4.2 billion, which demonstrates the development of co-operation between the two countries.

Policies on exchange and relations management in science and technology, culture, healthcare and defence have been promoted and implemented. The two countries signed almost all necessary legal documents to foster co-operation such as the framework agreement on economic ties, the agreement on investment encouragement and protection, the agreement on avoidance of double taxation, as well as a series of co-operative agreements in other specific sectors, bringing about real benefits for both countries’ people, whilst at the same time contributing to peace, stability and prosperity in the world.

Q: Do you think the past war could somehow have an impact on the present relations between the two countries?

A: In my opinion, the fruitful achievements as well as the development in relations between the two countries are vivid and persuasive answers to your question.

I would like to add that as people in France and Vietnam as well as people all around the world are peace-loving, we have suffered much pain and loss to win, maintain and protect peace, independence and freedom. Together with our national traditions, the Vietnamese people are able to leave the past behind, look towards a brighter future with peace, stability, co-operation and sustainable development, not just for our two countries but also for peace, freedom, equality and common prosperity for all people in the world. I am deeply moved by a quote from French writer Victor Hugo: “The future has many names: For the weak, it means the unattainable. For the fearful, it means the unknown. For the courageous, it means opportunity.”

Q: Could you share Vietnam’s expectation for the two countries’ co-operation, especially in national defence?

A: Vietnam wishes and is ready to co-operate with all countries, including France, for peace, stability and mutual benefit.

Over the recent past, defence co-operation between Vietnam and France has unceasingly been consolidated and developed, becoming an important part in the five pillars of the bilateral strategic partnership. In the coming time, several directions for co-operation will be strengthened or opened up such as mutual support in UN peacekeeping operations; ensuring maritime and navigation security, freedom and safety; co-operation in cyber security and non-traditional security, among others. Accordingly, the construction of a common vision on defence co-operation is considered a necessary requirement in order to co-operate in a more diversified and effective manner.

In June, I had a meeting and an interesting talk to French Minister of Defence Jean Yves Le Drian during his visit to Vietnam. He mentioned France’s attention to maintaining peace and stability at sea and in the air in the Asia Pacific region, on the principle of resolving disputes via peaceful means on the basis of respect for international law. I think these viewpoints are fully shared by Vietnam.

Through this interview, once again we affirmed our support to France for a more active and constructive role, so that Vietnam and France can practically make further contributions to promoting and protecting the common benefits of the international community.