Vietnam, France discuss military engineering within UN peacekeeping

Monday, 2018-06-25 17:31:52
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A French expert gives a presentation on international standards for mine action during the exchange. (Photo:
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NDO - An exchange on military engineering within UN peacekeeping activities between the Ministries of Defence of Vietnam and France kicked off in Hanoi on June 25.

The programme was launched by the Vietnam Peacekeeping Department (VPD) under the Ministry of Defence in collaboration with the French Defence Attaché Office in Hanoi, under the support of International Organisation of la Francophonie in Vietnam.

The professional exchange programme will take place until July 8, focusing on exchanges with the VPD’s military engineering unit on demining and processing explosives in accordance with international mine action standards, and sharing expertise with the 2nd class field hospital No. 2 at the Vietnam Military Medical Academy in raising awareness of viable bombs, mines and explosive materials left over from historical wars in the working environment of the UN peacekeeping mission.

Speaking at the launch, VPC Head, Colonel Hoang Kim Phung, emphasised that bilateral defence relations between Vietnam and France have been comprehensively promoted over the past years, with cooperation in the area of UN peacekeeping being one of the chief pillars. The two sides held exchanges of national defence missions at all levels, as well as organising workshops to share experiences, and committed to support training in accordance with their bilateral strategic partnership.

Delegates at the launch on June 25. (Photo:

The exchange is even more meaningful as French experts will assist the Vietnamese armed forces with the skills and knowledge needed for mine clearance as there are still 800,000 tonnes of unexploded ordnances and explosive materials left over from the war in Vietnam, while nearly 19% of Vietnam's land is contaminated with landmines, the consequences of which will take hundreds of years to overcome, Colonel Phung said.

The Vietnamese official added that this is a practical and valuable support effort from France which contributes to consolidating the good cooperation between the two nations. It also shows the commitment of the two countries' defence ministries to implement an agreement on cooperation in the field of UN peacekeeping.

Colonel Christophe Talon, French Defence Attaché in Vietnam, affirmed that the operation contributed to the confidence of Vietnam and France in training the units assigned to UN peacekeeping operations, and reflects the important efforts of the Vietnamese People's Army in making the best preparations for future missions.

Since 2016, this is the 6th session at which Vietnam and France have jointly organised the exchange of expertise in the field of UN peacekeeping, which the European country’s military has a long history of participation with.

In addition to improving awareness regarding mines and explosives left over from the war, the exchange also focuses on helping Vietnamese experts to improve the skills needed for clearing landmines under international standards. The large-scale, intensive operation will grant certificates to eligible trainees after the course.