State visit creates new impulse for Vietnam-France strategic partnersh

French President Francois Hollande’s visit to Vietnam will give an impulse to the countries’ strategic partnership to develop more substantively, President Tran Dai Quang told media on September 6.

Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and French President Francois Hollande review the guar of honor at the welcome ceremony in Hanoi on Sep. 6th, 2016. (Photo: SGGP)

Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and French President Francois Hollande review the guar of honor at the welcome ceremony in Hanoi on Sep. 6th, 2016. (Photo: SGGP)

He and the visiting leader had a joint press conference following their talks in Hanoi on September 6.

President Quang noted that during the talks, he and his guest shared the view that the strategic partnership, set up in 2013, has been growing effectively in all fields, from politics-diplomacy, security-defence, trade-investment, development cooperation, to education-training, science-technology and cultural exchanges.

The two agreed that Vietnam and France need to have a long-term cooperation vision that can ensure their common interests. To do that, political connections must be tightened first.

“We will encourage our businesses to establish economic and industrial partnerships on the basis of technology transfer and mutual benefits,” President Quang said, noting that the two sides will pay special attention to key projects in infrastructure, aviation, agriculture, food processing, health care and the environment.

He announced that France will be the country of honour at the 2017 Vietnam Foodexpo slated for Ho Chi Minh City.

The two leaders agreed to enhance defence cooperation through defence strategy dialogues, military equipment procurement, and visits by naval ships. France will assist Vietnam in United Nations peace-keeping operations and cooperate to deal with marine and aviation security issues, President Tran Dai Quang said.

They also agreed to bolster affiliation in science-technology, culture, tourism, and education-training while working closely to ensure the success of the 10th conference on cooperation between localities of Vietnam and France, which will be held in Vietnam’s Can Tho city in from September 14-16.

The Vietnamese President added that the two countries will continue supporting each other to promote France’s relations with Asian-Pacific nations and to foster Vietnam’s cooperation with the European Union. They will also coordinate more closely at multilateral forums and actively prepare for the Francophone Summit in Madagascar this November.

Vietnam highly values France’s role in coping with climate change as seen in the success of the 21 st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21), held in Paris in November 2015, he said, adding that both sides agreed to increase mutual assistance to realise the commitments in this sphere. ​

President Quang also informed the media that during the talks, he and his French counterpart underlined the law-abiding principle at seas and oceans, reiterating the commitment to maintaining free navigation and aviation. They also emphasised the importance of resolving disputes by peaceful measures, without using force or threatening to use force, and on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The leaders repeated the importance of the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and efforts to reach a code of conduct (COC) in the waters, President Tran Dai Quang said.

For his part, President Francois Hollande said he hopes his visit can give a breath of fresh air to the countries’ strategic partnership.

He said the two leaders want to solidify this partnership in politics and hold more dialogues between the two defence ministries so as to jointly solve regional and global matters. France also supports Vietnam’s efforts in safeguarding security in its territorial waters and airspace.

The two sides also want to reinforce economic ties, he said, noting that at the end of their talks, the Presidents witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements and contracts between many Vietnamese and French companies, such as those in the aviation industry and metro construction.

President Hollande said Vietnam holds an important position in Southeast Asia and has enjoyed impressive growth. More than 300 French businesses have invested in different areas in Vietnam, from food to advanced technology industries. He hopes that bilateral economic relations will be fostered through his visit so that Vietnamese and French enterprises can expand their presence in each other’s markets.

The French leader also highlighted the countries’ medical cooperation, with many successful projects carried out between their universities and institutes.

At the same time, he noted the wish that culture will be an axis of development in the strategic partnership.

Hollande said being members of the Francophone community is a common point that helps bring the two nations closer, and the teaching of French in Vietnam will help strengthen bilateral relations. In addition, about 300,000 Vietnamese expatriates who are living in France also act as a bridge linking the two sides, he said.

He added that France highly values Vietnam’s role at COP 21 and shared the Vietnamese President’s wish to make the climate change problem a main point in the bilateral strategic partnership.

Francois Hollande, who is on a State visit from September 5-7, is the third President of France to tour Vietnam. Previously President Francois Mitterrand visited Vietnam in 1993 and President Jacques Chirac made two visits, in 1997 and 2004.

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