Vietnam, France strengthen economic, education, defense ties
The development of nuclear power for peaceful purposes, defense cooperation and building Vietnam’s biggest science and technology university were prominent among 13 agreements signed by Vietnam and France Thursday.
Signatories to the agreement were Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and visiting French counterpart François Fillon.
Following the signing of the agreements, the two leaders held talks that PM Dung described as “useful, cooperative, based on mutual confidence and understanding.”
Fillon said the agreements proved that Vietnam-France relations had reached a higher level, local newswire Vietnamnet said Thursday.
The French PM, who is on a two-day visit at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart, is accompanied by several ministers and many businesspeople, who he said are part of his plan to improve bilateral relations.
He pledged that France will help train 400 Vietnamese doctoral students, the Voice of Vietnam reported.
As Vietnam will assume presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next year and France likewise of the G20 in 2011, the two leaders plan to collaborate with each other in efforts to have the global economy setting changed to give more chances to emerging and developing economies, Fillon said.
Dung referred to the historical and cultural relationship between Vietnam and France and expressed the hope that France will increase its presence in Vietnam in various fields including commerce, culture, economy, education, culture and technology.
He said Vietnam is willing to become a bridge between France and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and in return, France could help Vietnam improve relations with the European Union.
As France has listed Vietnam among 24 countries outside EU to benefit from priority commercial partnerships with the bloc, Dung said he wished this can be realized soon.
France and Vietnam have been sharing ideas as well as values on international issues and the two prime ministers agreed to continue supporting each other at international forums such as the United Nations Security Council, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the UN Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) and Francophone nations.
The leaders highlighted support for each other at the upcoming climate change summit in Copenhagen next month.
They also agreed to organize reciprocal cultural programs – the Vietnam Year in France and the France Year in Vietnam.
Fillon met with Communist Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh and President Nguyen Minh Triet at the welcome ceremony accorded him on Wednesday. The first French PM to Vietnam also passed on President Nicolas Sarkozy’s invitation for Triet to visit France.
France is the second largest aid donor to Vietnam after Japan. The country has donated over 2 billion euros (US$3 billion) for local programs and French firms have invested another $3 billion in 216 projects here.
Vietnamese exports to France totaled some $786 million last year.
Thanh Nien - November 12, 2009
Strengthening traditional and friendly relations between Vietnam and France
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has arrived in Hanoi, starting his first official visit to Vietnam today at the invitation of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
France is the fifth biggest economic country in the world. In 2008 France obtained its economic growth of 0.9%. Its key industrial and services sectors include automobile, aviation, transport and communication equipment, telecommunication, pharmaceuticals and others. France ranks first in exporting agricultural products.
We are glad to note that in recent time, the relations and co-operation between Vietnam and France have developed positively in the political, economic, cultural, trade and investment areas. In 2002, during State President Tran Duc Luong’s visit to France, the leaders of the two countries decided to raise their bilateral relations to the “traditional and friendly relations, the lasting, reliable and comprehensive co-operation”. France is the second biggest ODA provider for Vietnam with over two billion euros. In 2002, France ranked first among the bilateral sponsors with its commitment of US$280.96 million. In 2009, it has committed to grant Vietnam with US$380 million.
In accordance with the frame funding document for the 2006-2010 period in the Vietnam-France Partnership, France has committed to granting Vietnam with US$1.4 billion, focussing on infrastructure, technological transfer, agricultural, industrial, financial and banking development. France is the third trading partner with Vietnam in Europe. The two way trade exchange in 2008 reached US$1.8 billion. As far as foreign investments are concerned, France ranks first in Europe in the number of its investment projects in Vietnam and it has continued to increase its investment level in recent years. As of August 2009, France had 216 investment projects still in effectiveness in Vietnam with the total committed capital of US$3.03 billion. France’s direct investment in Vietnam has concentrated in the industrial, construction, communication, telecommunication and food processing sectors. Co-operation between the two countries in the scientific and technological, educational and training and cultural areas has been accelerated and increasingly developed. The two countries have signed many agreements such as the Agreement on double taxation avoidance, the Agreement on health and medicinal co-operation, the Agreement on maritime and others.
The official visit to Vietnam by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon is aimed at consolidating and further promoting the traditional and friendly relations between Vietnam and France and at the same time it is also an opportunity for the leaders of the two countries to hold discussions on the orientations and specific measures in order to push ahead the multifaceted relations, particularly in economics and trade as well as exchanging opinions on the international issues of mutual concern.
May the official visit to Vietnam by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon be crowned with success, taking the traditional and friendly relations and the multifaceted co-operation between Vietnam and France to a new height for the benefits of the two peoples, making a contribution to peace, stability, co-operation and development in the region and the world.
Nhan Dan - November 12, 2009