PM’s speech at French Institute of International Relations
08:30 | 27/09/2013

VGP – PM Nguyen Tan Dung on September 24 delivered a speech at the French Institute of International Relations, in which he stressed on the foundations of Viet Nam-France strategic partnership and the importance of building strategic trust among countries around the world.

Dear Thierry de Montbrial,

Distinguished guests and friends,

I have an honor to meet you – reputed politicians, scholars, and researchers of France. I would like to thank Mr. President as well as colleagues of the French Institute of International Relations for creating this opportunity for us together to exchange views on strategic partnership between Viet Nam and France in the unpredicted, changing world.

Distinguished guests and friends,

The relations between our two countries – Viet Nam and France date back long time ago before we established our diplomatic ties in 1973 and this year, altogether, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties and the 20th anniversary of former President François Mitterrand’s historic visit to Viet Nam, ushering in a new chapter in the Viet Nam-France relations.

Looking back to the ups and downs in the history, the development process of our countries’ ties appears seemingly like a sailing boat – the symbol of Paris City – even though sailing through numerous storms, winds, waves, and difficult times and though being shaky, it has never sunk, holding on to a strong belief that the boat will reach the bank of success.

Distinguished guests and friends,

Over the past 40 years, concerted efforts exerted by both sides, equality and mutual respect have brought major important, significant achievements to the Viet Nam-France relations. Since early 1990s, France was among the first European countries that have actively advocated Viet Nam’s comprehensive Renewal course as well as its development and international integration process. Viet Nam has consistently attached importance and given high priority to the partnership with France as part of her foreign policy. The warmth of the bilateral relations can be felt through a range of visits exchanged by high-ranking leaders and through regular contacts and meetings made by agencies, localities and social organizations. Up to now, the two countries have signed a number of key agreements, established and maintained many regular and effective dialogue and cooperation mechanisms on economics, national defense and security, culture, people-to-people exchange, etc. Thereby, Viet Nam and France have gradually become important partners of each other and obtained mutual benefits in various areas and at different levels. Viet Nam and France have also actively coordinated at multi-lateral, inter-regional and international forums.

France is now the second biggest European investor, the third biggest European trade partner, and one of the top official development assistance (ODA) providers of Viet Nam. Over 300 French companies and banks are doing business in Viet Nam, and many high-grade French goods and services are favored in Vietnamese market. The majority of the national carrier Viet Nam Airlines’ plane fleet, which amounts to hundreds, are modern French Airbus. More than 7,000 graduates and postgraduates are studying in France. Nearly 20 French cities and provinces set up partnership with Vietnamese localities, and 70 projects in various fields like culture, French teaching, education and training, research, sanitation and environment, urbanization, vocational training, rural economic development, and healthcare have been jointly carried out. And many other cooperative activities are being implemented with increases in terms of scope, areas, and stakeholders, involving not only State agencies but also between social organizations and individuals. However, cooperative potentials and strengths still remain vast, requiring us to devise new approaches that are more dynamic, creative and efficient.

It can be affirmed that the Viet Nam-France relations are becoming the symbol of bravery of closing and overcoming the sad pages and “shaky” state of the past in order to build mutual trust – strategic trust – together moving forward reconciliation, peace, friendship and development. This is also a model of East-West cooperation – that is between France – a top European industrial country and Viet Nam – a dynamic developing country in South East Asia.

From the aforesaid fine backgrounds, I think today we should together say happily that the “boat” of the bilateral ties has docked at the port of friendship and successful cooperation as evidenced by the leaders of the two countries’ declaration of establishing Viet Nam-France Strategic Partnership.

Distinguished guests and friends,

The Viet Nam-France strategic partnership today reflects the maturity of the multi-faceted and multi-layer relations between our two countries. Strategic partnership will open up a new chapter in the bilateral ties based on sincerity, mutual trust and respect, and comprehensive cooperation ranging from politics-diplomacy, economics, culture, science and technology to natural defense and security, with shared mutual benefits for peace and prosperity of their people.

Our responsibility is to work together with new ways of thinking and creative approaches to continue to consolidate and enhance this special, close bilateral ties in an intensive, extensive and strong manner, to benefit our people. In the immediate run, we need to pay attention to and make efforts in cooperation in the key areas like politics-diplomacy, national defense and security, economics and development, culture, education and training, scientific research and justice, both bilaterally and multilaterally and at international, regional and global forums.

From the perspective of the useful experience drawn from the past, the two sides need to enhance the exchange of visits, contacts and meetings of high-ranking leaders in order to reach consensus on strategic issues in all domains. Thereby, to pave the way for upgrading dialogue mechanisms and beefing up cooperation in a series of domains of France’s strengths, like energy, aerospace, high-tech, agriculture, transport, banking, etc, which are important for Viet Nam’s sustainable development.

This year, Viet Nam and France will launch a joint set of stamps occasioned the birth anniversary of doctor Alexandre Yersin, who came to live, work and rest in Central Viet Nam in the early years of the 20th century. Now and forever, our people will remember doctor Alexandre Yersin, not only because of his anti-plague prescriptions but above all his devotion and deep sympathy for the destiny of human beings. The story suggests us that in the coming time, we should give high priority to education and training cooperation for the sake of our future generations and consider cultural and artistic exchanges of organizations and individuals as a firm and long-term leverage for the development of our strategic partnership.

Distinguished guests and friends,

In the context of globalization characterized by intertwined and inter-dependent international relations, I would like to share with you my thoughts about our special strategic partnership between Viet Nam and France, which bears many specific features – I would like to stress on the very specific features, shaped by the common views on cultural values and the depth of historical relations between the two countries and the two peoples. Nowadays, Viet Nam is still an active member of the French Community. How this relation should develop within the broader ties between Asia and Europe.

At present, cooperation between the two continents is conducted through the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the ASEAN-EU Dialogue, etc. In that context, what should be done to make the Viet Nam-France strategic partnership become a new bridge for the development of Asia-Europe cooperation. On the Eastern side is Asia, home to two of the world’s biggest economies and many other important ones, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is growing as a dynamic economic community with the population of over 600 million, a young labor force, and an aggregate GDP of US$2.2 trillion. On the other side is the European Union which possesses an age-old civilization, a wealthy economy, and is the largest exporter of the world. Hopefully, the Viet Nam-France bridge would contribute to accelerating cooperation between the two huge East and West economic blocs in order to create an impetus for global growth and strongly back the development of the Viet Nam-France strategic partnership.

France is the first European country to sign the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in 2007 and an active player in the relations with many ASEAN member States, taking the establishment of strategic partnership with Viet Nam as a concrete example. Since 1995, the relations between Viet Nam and the European Union have recorded strong developments, significantly fuelled by Viet Nam-France relations. Thanks to France’s effective support, Viet Nam and the EU signed the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and are now negotiating on a free trade agreement, which is expected to open a greater space for Viet Nam-France cooperative ties. Now, Viet Nam is also engaging in talks on Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will provide a greater and opener  market scope -- an opportunity for Vietnamese and French businesses to penetrate into 12 TPP members including the US and Japan.

It can be said that the Viet Nam-France strategic partnership needs to develop harmoniously with the relations between France and ASEAN as well as that between Viet Nam and the EU for multiplying strength and efficiency.

Besides the positive development trend of Asia-Europe relations, we also sense that the “heat” of competition pertaining to strategic interests, especially among powers, and the clashes of differences in cultural, historical and human values, etc should be balanced satisfactorily. Cooperation and interdependence must prevail and replace egoistic nationalism. In this rocky path, it is necessary to build strategic trust among partners. Should the Viet Nam-France strategic partnership, formulated on the basis of mutual confidence and deep historical, cultural and human values with its own specific features need to be promoted to create broad influences to contribute to the construction of a peaceful and cooperative environment for development in both Asia and Europe. Therein, our countries need to work together in preventing interventions aimed for the self without equality; putting a stop to preferences for unilateral might, groundless claims, and actions that run counter to international law and stem from imposition and politic hegemony. All are for peace, security, cooperation, development and prosperity in the world.

Today, we are happy about the two countries setting up strategic partnership, but it is just the beginning, with many opportunities and even challenges lying ahead. I really hope that you would share ideas upon which we can find out proper solutions and good, creative practices so that the Viet Nam-France strategic partnership would continue to flourish, for the wealth, legitimate benefits of the two people, and for the fine relations among countries around the world.

Thank you./.

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