Prime Minister receives visiting French Minister of Armed Forces

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on May 6 received French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu, who is in Vietnam to attend celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory.

PM Pham Minh Chinh (right) receives French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu in Hanoi on May 6. (Photo: VNA)

Appreciating the French minister’s acceptance of the invitation to attend a ceremony marking the anniversary, PM Chinh considered the visit as important to promoting the two countries’ strategic partnership.

It affirms both sides’ efforts to together shelve the past, overcome differences, promote similarities, and look towards the future; and also shows Vietnam as an example of healing the wound of war, recovering from war, turning former foes into friends, and shifting from confrontation to dialogue, he noted.

He highlighted the fundamental factors and policies of Vietnam’s development, including the defence policy of “four-no’s”, stressing that after suffering from much pain and losses in many wars, divisions, and embargoes in the past century, Vietnam loved peace very much and treasures the value of peace, cooperation, and development.

Vietnam always attaches importance to the strategic partnership with France, the host leader stated.

He asked Lecornu to convey Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s invitation to French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Vietnam and also expressed his wish to welcome his French counterpart Gabriel Attal on a trip to Vietnam in the near future.

At the meeting, both host and guest expressed their delight at their countries’ flourishing relations since the strategic partnership was set up 10 years ago.

Defence cooperation is one of the important pillars of the strategic partnership, PM Chinh affirmed, applauding the cooperation results in this regard so far as well as the outcomes of the talks between the French minister and Vietnamese Minister of National Defence Phan Van Giang on May 5.

To further lift bilateral ties to a new height, he asked the two sides to continue stepping up mutual visits at all levels, especially the high level, properly prepare for the French President’s upcoming visit to Vietnam, and strongly foster connections between their ministries, sectors, and localities.

At the meeting between PM Pham Minh Chinh and French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu in Hanoi on May 6. (Photo: VNA)

The PM called for enhancing connectivity between the two economies and the two cultures, people-to-people exchanges, along with cooperation in climate change response, energy transition, digital economy, green economy, circular economy, transport infrastructure development, sustainable sea and ocean exploitation, and science - technology. He also suggested the countries continue coordination and mutual support at international and regional forums and engage in the settlement of global and all-people issues.

PM Chinh called on France to accelerate EU countries’ ratification of the EU - Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) and the European Commission’s early removal of the “yellow card” warning against Vietnam’s seafood exports on the basis of their recognition of the Southeast Asian nation’s efforts against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

In terms of defence, the Government leader asked the two countries to keep fruitfully implementing existing agreements and establish new cooperation mechanisms, especially for sharing information and experience, training personnel, peacekeeping, settling war consequences, clearing unexploded ordnance, and searching for the missing.

He also suggested France strengthen collaboration with Vietnam to preserve, restore, and bring into play the values of the relic site of the Dien Bien Phu battlefield, particularly sharing archives about the site.

For his part, Lecornu underlined the importance of the first visit to Dien Bien Phu by a French minister of armed forces that follows the trips by President Francois Mitterrand in 1993 and PM Edouard Philippe in 2018.

France attaches importance to the relations with Vietnam and highly values the latter’s spirit of independence and self-reliance, he remarked.

Pointing out the importance of cooperation in sharing memories of history and addressing war consequences, he thanked Vietnam for actively assisting his country in repatriating the remains of French soldiers who fell down during the war.

The minister held that the two sides are completely able to secure a future of even better cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and international law.

He added that his visit to Vietnam also aims to help prepare for the approaching visit by President Macron who looks forward to coming to the country to practically promote bilateral relations.

Agreeing with his host’s opinions, Lecornu said he would discuss with French agencies to step up cooperation projects, voicing his hope that the two sides will maintain efforts to develop defence ties on par with their strategic partnership.

At the meeting, PM Chinh and Minister Lecornu also touched upon some regional and international issues of common concern.

With regard to sea-related issues, they emphasised the importance of ensuring peace, security, stability, and freedom of navigation and overflight, peacefully settling disputes in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), fully implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, and working towards an effective and substantive code of conduct in the waters.

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