Vietnam-France: Building Strategic Trust for Peace, Cooperation and Prosperity

18:48 | 10/26/2013

(VDP) - Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng visited and spoke at the French Institute of International Relations on September 24, 2013 within the framework of his France visit. This is one of the 10 biggest research institutes of international relations in Europe and one of the 50 biggest research institutes in the world.

Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng and General Director of French Institute of International Relations Thierry de Montbrial.

Following is the full text of Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng’s speech titled “Vietnam-France strategic partnership: Building strategic trust for peace, cooperation and prosperity”:

Mr. Thierry de Montbrial,

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am much honored to meet you, the prestigious statesmen, scholars, researchers of France. I would like to thank the General Director and his colleagues at the French Institute of International Relations for giving us this opportunity to together exchange the strategic partnership between Vietnam and France in a world which is changing fast and unpredictably.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The relations of Vietnam and France began long time ago, before the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1973 and we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of this event and 20 years after the historic visit to Vietnam of later President Franḉois Mitterrand, ushering up a new period of development in the relations between Vietnam and France.

Having a look back at the road with no less vicissitudes of history, we wonder if it is true that the process of development of the relations of the two countries is like the image of a ship with its sail fully spreading as it is expressed in the Symbol of the capital Paris, showing that inspite of storms and waves and the very difficult times, “the ship could rock, but never sinks”, we always believe that the ship will make a successful landfall.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the past 40 years, with efforts to foster it by the two sides and with equality and mutual respect, the relations between Vietnam and France have seen important and meaningful achievements. France is the first European state which right from the early 1990s extended its active support to the renovation as well as to the process of development and comprehensive international integration of Vietnam. Vietnam has consistently attached importance and given priority to the partnership with France within its general foreign policy. The warmth in the relations has been expressed in depth and breadth through a lot of visits of senior leaders and the constant exchanges and contacts of agencies, localities and social organizations. Up to now, the two countries have signed a lot of important agreements and established and maintained on regular and effective basis the mechanisms of dialogue, economic cooperation, defense, security, culture and the people-to-people exchanges. Through these, Vietnam and France have step by step become the important partners of mutual benefits in various areas and at different levels. Vietnam and France have also coordinated actively together in the framework of the regional, inter-regional and global multi-lateral forums.

France is now the second biggest European investor and the third biggest European trade partner of Vietnam and one of the top ODA providers. Over 300 French companies and banks have been making investments and doing business in Vietnam; a lot of goods and services of high quality from France have been much sought after in the Vietnamese market. Most of the passenger planes in the fleet of a hundred planes of Vietnam Airlines are the sophisticated Airbus planes. Over 7,000 Vietnamese students and research students have been following their studies at the French universities. About 20 cities and localities in France have had partnership with cities and localities of Vietnam; 70 projects have been deployed in such areas as culture, the French language teaching, education, training, research, environmental hygiene, urbanization, job training, rural economic development and health care. There are also many other cooperation activities with ever more increases in scope, areas and objects of cooperation not only among the State agencies, but among various social organizations as well. However, potentials of the two sides remain great, demanding us to find the more dynamic, more creative and more effective new ways.

It can be affirmed that the Vietnam-France relations today have become the symbol of the courageous spirit of closing up the past and overcoming what we have termed as the “vicissitudes”, the dismal pages of history of the past so as to build mutual trust – the strategic trust – with a view to aiming to reconciliation, peace, friendship and development. At the same time, this is also a model for the East-West cooperation, between France, a top European industrial country, and Vietnam, a dynamic developing country in Southeast Asia.

Stemming from these good foundations, I think that today we can be glad to together say that the “ship” of the relations between the two countries has landed, successfully the shore of friendship and cooperation with the fact that the leaders of the two countries have declared to establish the Vietnam-France strategic partnership.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Vietnam-France strategic partnership today reflects the maturity of the multi-field and different level relations between the two countries. The strategic partnership will usher in a new stage of cooperation and the sincere, reliable and mutually respectful relations and comprehensive cooperation in the political, diplomatic, economic, cultural, technological science, security and defense, and will together share the benefits for peace and prosperity of the people of the two countries.

Our responsibility is to together cooperate with the new thinking and the creative way of doing things so as to continue to strengthen the special and intimate bilateral relations, further deepen and vigorously develop it to bring about the benefits to the people of the two countries. In the immediate, we need to reserve our attention and efforts to cooperate in the key groups of areas such as the cooperation in politics and diplomacy; in defense and security; in economy and development; in culture, education and training; in scientific research and justice. This comprises the bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation in the regional, international and global forums.

From the past useful experience lessons, it is necessary for the two sides to enhance the visits, meetings and contacts of the senior leaders so as to reach the unanimity of views on the issues of strategic importance in all fields. Through this, it is possible to pave the way to upgrade the mechanisms of dialogue and accelerate the cooperation in a range of important areas for the sustainable development of Vietnam and for the strong position of France such as energy, aviation and space industry, high technology, agriculture, communications and banking.

Vietnam and France this year will together issue a set of stamps on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Doctor Alexandre Yersin who lived and worked in the central Vietnam in the early years of the 20th century until he died. Today and forever tomorrow, the Vietnamese people will remember Doctor Yersin not only for his contribution to the vaccines for epidemic prevention, but first of all, for his dedication and profound sympathy towards the human lives as well. This helps us to understand that in the time to come, it is necessary for us to reserve priority in our cooperation in education and training of the future generation and consider the cultural and art exchanges of the social organizations and people are the fulcrum and the solid and long-lasting foundation for out strategic partnership.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the globalized world with the overlapping and mutually depending international relations, I want to share with you the thinking about the Vietnam-France special strategic partnership which has got a lot of special features, I would like to lay stress on the special features, due to a lot of the common features in the cultural values, due to the depth of the historical relations between the two countries and the two nations of Vietnam and France. Vietnam today remains the active member of the Francophone community. How this relationship is to be developed should be placed in the total relations and cooperation of the Asian and European regions.

Nowadays, the common cooperation between the two continents is being connected through the Asian-European Meeting (ASEM), the ASEAN-EU Dialogue and others. In this background, the Vietnam-France strategic partnership should be carried out in such a way as to be able to become a new bridge for the Asian-European cooperation and development. At the head of the Eastern Bridge, it is Asia, where there are two biggest world economies and many other important economies, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which is becoming a dynamic economic Community with over 600 million people and a young work force, with its GDP reaching about USD 2,200 billion. At the head of the Western Bridge, it is the European Union, an age-old economy, a powerful economic foundation and the biggest exporter in the world. It is hoped that the Vietnam-France bridge will make a contribution to enhancing the cooperation of these two huge East-West economies in order to create an impetus for the global development and vigorous impact on the development of the Vietnam-France strategic partnership.

France is the first European country to sign the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) (2007) and is intensifying its relations with a lot of ASEAN countries and its establishment of the strategic partnership with Vietnam is a specific example. Since 1995, the relations between Vietnam and the European Union (EU)  have seen the rapid developments, in which the Vietnam-France relations can be served as an important impetus. With the active support of France, Vietnam and EU have signed the comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and now negotiations on the Vietnam-EU free trade agreement is going on. This helps open up a new, broader cooperation space for the Vietnam-France cooperation. At present, Vietnam is joining the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) with the very large scope and market openness. This will be an opportunity for products of enterprises of Vietnam and France to get access to the large market of 12 Asian-Pacific countries, including the United States and Japan.

It can be seen that the Vietnam-France strategic partnership should be harmoniously developed along with the France-ASEAN relations and the Vietnam-EU relations so as to be able to multiply the strength and efficiency.

Apart from the positive development trend of the Asia-European partnership, we feel the “heat” of the competition in strategic interests, particularly among the big countries and the differences in cultural, historical and humanity values, so these should be satisfactorily balanced. Cooperation means depending on each other, so it is necessary to overpass and substitute selfish nationalism. In the process of difficult and challenging period, it is necessary to build the strategic trust among the partnership states. Is it true that the Vietnam-France strategic partnership on the basis of trust, of the historical, cultural and humanity values should be promoted so as to create the spillover effect to make a contribution to building an environment of peace, cooperation and development in Asia and Europe? As a result, the two countries will make a contribution to preventing any selfish, unfair calculation and any manifestation of heightening the unilateral strength, absurd demands and actions that run counter to international law and are of despotic political power imposing character. All is for peace, security, cooperation, development and prosperity in the world.

Today, we are glad about the establishment by the two state of the strategic partnership. But this is only the first step and in the immediate, we have a lot of both the bright opportunities and challenges and difficulties. I wish to share with your contributions so that we can be able to together find out the suitable solutions, the good and creative ways of doing things in order to make the Vietnam-France strategic partnership develop ever more for prosperity and for the legitimate interests of the people of the two countries and for the fine relations among the states in the world.



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