Deepening traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and Czech

Wednesday, 2019-04-17 09:40:56
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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (C), his spouse and a high-ranking Vietnamese delegation arrive at the Vaclav Havel Airport, Prague, at 1 pm on April 16 (local time), starting an official visit to Czech Republic. (Photo: VGP)
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NDO – Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his spouse, accompanied by a high-ranking Vietnamese delegation, started an official visit to the Czech Republic at the invitation of Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis.

>>> PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc begins Czech visit

The visit aims to deepen the traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and the Czech Republic, creating a driving force to promote bilateral comprehensive cooperation in all fields.

Czech maintains strong and stable economic growth in Eastern Europe. Since 1990, the country has focused on opening, privatising and restructuring the economy. Its accession to the European Union (EU) in May 2004 facilitated investment attraction and economic restructuring. Its GDP growth was at 3.5-4% per year, with about US$5 billion in FDI attracted per year. During the 2005-2007 period, its GDP grew at an average of 6% per year. From 2008-2013, Czech was severely affected by the global financial crisis but since 2013, its economy has recovered strongly thanks to exports. GDP in 2018 was at 2.8%.

The current focus of Czech foreign policy is to strengthen EU integration and develop relations with neighbouring countries. In Asia, the Czech Republic prioritises developing relations with traditional friends. As a member of the EU, Czech considers Vietnam a traditional and potential trade partner, as well as a bridge to export its products to ASEAN.

Nearly seven decades since the official establishment of diplomatic relations, the friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and former Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic, is constantly strengthened and developed. The good relationship is marked by high-level visits between the two sides, with the recent Czech visits by Vietnamese National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan in April 2017 and the visit to Vietnam by Czech President Milos Zeman in June 2017.

Vietnamese people always appreciate the enthusiastic support and valuable help from the former Czechoslovakian Government and people, as well as the Czech Republic today, in the struggle for its national liberation and construction. Czech regularly participates in international conferences sponsored to Vietnam and is the first Eastern European country to continuously grant ODA to the Southeast Asian country, currently up to about US$18 million. The two countries always coordinate and support each other at the United Nations as well as international forums.

Vietnam is pleased to see that the economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two countries has developed well, though still modest compared to the potential. In 2012, Czech announced the Export strategy of the Czech Republic for 2012-2020, which includes Vietnam (the only country in ASEAN) on the list of its 12 priority markets.

Trade turnover between Vietnam and the Czech Republic reached US$307 million in 2018, an increase of nearly 20% compared to 2017. Up to now, the Czech Republic has 38 investment projects in Vietnam, ranking 42nd out of 101 countries and territories having invested in Vietnam, with a total registered capital of US$90 million, focusing on real estate, beer, electrical equipment and construction materials.

Bilateral cooperation in other fields have also developed positively. From 1999 to 2014, the Czech Government has granted multiple scholarships to Vietnamese students and researchers to follow their study in Czech. The two sides are negotiating to sign an agreement on education cooperation for the new period.

Currently, the Czech Republic has become the second homeland of tens of thousands of Vietnamese citizens, with over 65,000 Vietnamese living in the Czech Republic. From July 2013, the Czech Government decided to add Vietnamese Czech representatives to its Council for National Minorities, thereby recognising the existence of Vietnamese Czech as a minority in the Czech Republic. The Vietnamese community in Czech actively contributes to the development of relations between the two countries, which has been highly appreciated by the Czech Government, and facilitated in business operation, living and integration.

The official visit to the Czech Republic by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, his spouse and the high-ranking Vietnamese delegation affirms the determination of the leaders and people of the two countries to deepen their traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation, thus creating a strong motivation to lift bilateral cooperation to a new, efficient and sustainable level, commensurate with the potential and strengths of each party. The visit also helps stimulate favourable conditions for two countries' business communities to make contact and explore each other's market, potentials, needs and strengths.