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Political Headlines December 12

Prime Minister leaves for Japan visit; Vietnam, US army officers visit Military Zone 7; Indonesia to assist Vietnamese navy mission at sea

Prime Minister leaves for Japan visit

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung left Hanoi on December 12 for a four-day official visit to Japan at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The visit takes place on the occasion of the 40 th anniversary of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic ties, aiming to enhancing and deepening the strategic partnership between the two countries, especially in economics, investment, development assistance, as well as their coordination at regional and international forums.

While staying in Japan , PM Dung will attend the Commemorative Summit marking the 40 th anniversary of ASE AN-Japan dialogue relations (1973-2013).

Japan is an ASEAN’s great partner that has supported the ten-member group in building the ASEAN Community and narrowing the development gap while prioritising cooperation with the Greater Mekong Sub-region Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam and the East-West Economic Corridor.

The PM will also join the fifth Mekong-Japan Summit, through which Vietnam wants to make more pragmatic contributions to improving the efficiency of cooperative mechanism between the two sides in the time ahead.

US army officers visit Military Zone 7

Major General Phan Tuan Tai, Deputy Commander of Military Zone 7, received a delegation from the US Pacific Command on December 11, according to Quan doi Nhan dan (People’s Army) newspaper .

At the reception, Major General Tai briefed the US team led by Admiral Samuel J. Locklear on the zone’s establishment and development, and expressed his hope that the guests’ visit will help intensify the friendship cooperation and mutual understanding between the two armies.

Samuel J. Locklear congratulated the armed forces of Military Zone 7 on the occasion of its 68th anniversary and voiced his wish that the zone will see strong development in the coming time.

Government issues monthly resolution

The PM has asked his inferiors to promptly disburse the VND 30,000 billion credit package; assist poor families to prepare for upcoming Lunar New Year Festival and tighten operations of private medical establishments.  

These tasks are stipulated at the Government’s November resolution, recently published by the PM.

The Government asked the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) to continue pursuing the flexible monetary policies in accordance with maintaining macro-economic balance and combine fiscal policies to support enterprises to access to capital inflow and raising foreign reserve for surging demands at the year end.

The SBV shall have extradite difficulties to handle non-performing loans and instruct commercial banks to timely disburse the VND 30,000 billion credit package on social housing.

The Ministry of Finance is in charge of working with other ministries, agencies and localities to manage budget collection and avoid revenue losses, tax debts, frauds and arrogation.

The Government also tasked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to speed up negotiations for trade agreements, ensure demand-supply balance on the threshold of the upcoming Lunar New Year Festival and prevent price escalation.

Tough punishments would be imposed on illegal trade, trade frauds, counterfeit and unexpected rising prices.

The Government leader also requested the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to supervise and support poor households so that no family would suffer from hunger especially those in regions ridden by extreme difficulties and natural disasters.

The Ministry of Health was assigned to improve medical check-up services, reduce overloading in hospitals, tighten the granting of licenses and strengthen supervision of private medical clinics, and ensure food hygiene.

Enhancing Mekong-Japan cooperation efficiency

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung will attend the fifth Mekong-Japan Summit during his Japan visit starting on December 12, demonstrating Vietnam’s desire to make this cooperation mechanism more effective.

At the 12th ASEAN Summit in the Philippines in 2007, Japan proposed the Japan-Mekong Partnership Programme, focusing on three prioritised areas of integrating economies of the region and beyond, expanding trade and investment between Japan and Mekong region countries, and pursuing universal values and common goals of the region.

To date Japan and Mekong region countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) have organised six Foreign Ministers’ Meetings and four Summits.

The Mekong-Japan Cooperation mechanism was established in 2008 aiming to build a partnership for common prosperity between Japan and Mekong region countries.

Many key projects in the areas of infrastructure development, the environment, cultural exchange, and private-public partnership (PPP) cooperation have been implemented to realise the Japan Declaration, Action Plan 63, an initiative on trade and industrial cooperation, and the green Mekong initiative.

The Mekong-Japan Cooperation has developed positively because of their strategic interests and mutual support in the region, as Japan has a financial and technological capacity and Mekong countries have big advantages in terms of natural resources, labour force, and market.

At the fourth Japan-Mekong Summit in 2012, participating countries adopted the Tokyo Strategy, identifying three new cooperation areas for 2013-15, namely enhancing Mekong connectivity, promoting economic-trade cooperation between Japan and GMS countries, and ensuring human security and environmental sustainability.

At this summit, the Japanese Prime Minister committed 600 billion Japanese Yen to GMS countries in the following three years, and announced a list of 57 projects worth 2,300 billion Yen for implementation. The fifth Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers Meeting adopted an Action Plan with a number of specific cooperation projects and programmes in order to realise the 2012 Tokyo Strategy.

Since joining the Mekong-Japan Cooperation, Vietnam has made significant contributions to this strategic dialogue. The country has actively participated in and made use of Japanese aid for cooperation projects, especially those on infrastructure development.

Vietnam has introduced initiatives to improve the efficiency of the Mekong-Japan cooperation mechanism.  The fourth Mekong-Japan Summit in Tokyo in 2012 welcomed Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s proposal to enhance connectivity of the economic corridors in the Mekong subregion through multimodal transport.

The initiative helps make the most of the region’s river system to support land, waterway and sea transport, facilitate tourism and trade exchanges by cutting transport cost and travel time, and contribute to environmental protection by cutting emissions from transport.

During his Japan visit from December 12-15, PM Dung will attend the 5th Mekong-Japan Summit, demonstrating Vietnam’s keen interest in this cooperation mechanism and its desire to make this cooperation more effective.

Tributes paid to Nelson Mandela

A Vietnamese delegation led by Dao Viet Trung, Head of the Presidential Office and special envoy of Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, paid tribute to late President Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings, the seat of South African government, on December 11.

In the mourning book, Trung extended profound sympathy on behalf of the Party, State and people of Vietnam to the African National Congress, the South African people and the family of the late President, an eminent and preeminent leader of his country and people.

Vietnamese people will forever remember Mandela as a big friend, who supported and encouraged Vietnamese people during the country’s struggle for independence and development, he wrote.

The same day, a delegation of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, led by Deputy Chairman Le Manh Ha laid a wreath at the South African Consulate General in the city to pay tribute to the late president.

Ha expressed his belief that the South African people will overcome this great loss to continue striving to follow his example and see their nation develop.

President Truong Tan Sang on December 10 led a State delegation to pay homage to Mandela at the Embassy of South Africa in Hanoi.

Nelson Mandela passed away on December 5 at the age of 95.

He was a staunch soldier and a prominent hero of the South African people, who devoted his whole life to the fight against oppression, injustice and apartheid in South Africa and the world as well.

Indonesia to assist Vietnamese navy mission at sea

Vietnamese and Indonesian naval forces should promote bilateral cooperation within the framework of the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM plus mechanisms.

Admiral Nguyen Van Hien, Deputy Minister of National Defence and Navy Commander made the statement at a meeting with Admiral Marsetio, Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Navy in Jakarta on December 11.

Hien and Marsetio discussed regional and international issues, as well as initiatives and measures to boost naval cooperation in line with the strategic partnership between the two countries for peace, security, stability and development in Southeast Asia.

Hien spoke highly of Indonesia’s role in ASEAN, the region and the world and proposed some initiatives, including organising regular exchanges between young naval soldiers, sharing experience between naval institutes and increasing mutual assistance in personnel training and use of modern technical equipment.

For his part, Marsetio welcomed Hieu to the international maritime security conference in Jakarta and pledged to create the best possible conditions for the Vietnamese navy to fulfill its tasks.

On the occasion, Hien visited the Indonesian Navy’s Sigma ship.

Japanese Emperor’s birthday marked

Japanese ambassador to Vietnam Hiroshi Fukada has hosted a reception to celebrate the 80th birth anniversary of Emperor Akihito, which is also his country’s National Day (December 23).

Speaking at a December 10 ceremony, the Japanese diplomat expressed his delight at the positive developments of relations between Vietnam and Japan while highlighting the significance of diverse events marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year.

Strong Vietnam-Japan relations was built up on the foundation of friendship and mutual trust, Fukada said, while calling joint efforts to reinforce future bilateral ties.

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc noted that Vietnam and Japan have become each other’s important strategic partner demonstrated by rapid developments in all fields and strengthened political trust.

He said he hopes the two nations’ strategic partnership will continue growing far and wide for the sake of peace, stability, prosperity, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

PM seeks closer Vietnam-Thailand, Vietnam-India ties

Vietnam wants to further strengthen its strategic partnership with Thailand and India for mutual benefit, PM Nguyen Tan Dung said at separate meetings with the two Thai and Indian diplomats on December 11.

Meeting with outgoing Thai ambassador Anuson Chinvanno, Dung acknowledged Chinvanno’s contribution to promoting the multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and Thailand over the years.




PM Nguyen Tan Dung (R) appreciated Anuson Chinvanno's contribution to strengthening Vietnam-Thailand strategic partnership. (Photo: VGP)



He reiterated Vietnam’s consistent policy of elevating bilateral strategic partnership to a new level to match the two countries’ potential.

He proposed both countries effectively implement signed agreements to boost cooperation in all areas of their strength.

Chinvanno said he will continue to make a greater contribution to the Thailand-Vietnam friendship in whatever position he will hold in the future.

At another meeting with newly accredited ambassador Preeti Saran, PM Dung noted with satisfaction the positive development of the friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and India, especially in politics, diplomacy, economics, trade, investment, culture and education.

Dung said he hopes both countries will increase delegation exchanges, support each other at regional and international forums, and boost cooperation in economics, trade, energy, tourism, national defence, science-technology, and culture.

The government of Vietnam will create the best possible condition for Preeti Saran to fulfil her mission in the country, he assured the Indian diplomat.

Saran confirmed India will do its utmost to deepen the strategic partnership with Vietnam for mutual benefit and common development of the two nations.

She proposed increasing people-to-people exchanges and opening Vietnam-India direct air routes to facilitate business operations and civil travel.

Vietnam, GMS countries look to common goals

Vietnam stands ready to work with other Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) member nations, development partners, the private sector and all sides concerned to achieve regional vision and goals, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong has stressed.

He made the emphasis at the 19th GMS Ministerial Meeting in Vientiane, Laos, on December 11 where a joint declaration was issued, under which ministers vowed to step up ties with their partners and realise common goals on sustainable and comprehensive development in the region.

They also adopted the Regional Investment Framework (RIF) to better deploy over 200 projects across 10 sectors, with the involvement of at least two member countries in each project to boost regional connectivity.

Phuong said the adoption of RIF is a key milestone in GMS cooperation framework during the 2012-2022 period.

Other areas of cooperation also came up during the discussions.

The GMS comprises Vietnam, Laos, China, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand.

President praises Fatherland Front for national achievements

President Truong Tan Sang yesterday (Dec 11) attended a conference praising collectives and individuals in Fatherland Front agencies for their work from 2009-13.

Participants were briefed on achievements of collectives in economic development, poverty reduction, rural development and cultural activities.

Heads of sub-agencies of the Fatherland Front across the country who worked devotedly to accomplish the Front's missions were also praised by the Standing Committee of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front (VFF).

He said the agencies had also contributed considerably to people's cultural life in residential areas, education promotion campaigns, getting rid of superstitious customs, environment protection and activities on social welfare for heroic mothers and those devoted to the country's revolutions.

Yet, the President said that good results were not seen in all residential areas.

This meant that further training for staff at Front agencies was a priority, he said.

Fatherland Front President Nguyen Thien Nhan also called on Front agencies to participate in activities to celebrate the coming eighth VFF Congress.

Viet Nam Fatherland Front is a voluntary union of political organisations and social organisations representing the people of Viet Nam. Its motus operandi is to supervise the operations of the government and ensure political and moral unity.

Vietnam-Uruguay diplomatic ties celebrated

The Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a ceremony to mark the 20 th anniversary of Vietnam-Uruguay diplomatic ties in Montevideo capital city on December 10.

Addressing the event, Foreign Minister Luis Almagro and Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc highlighted the significance of establishing diplomatic ties between the two nations twenty years ago, saying that that event opened a new period to promote all-round relations between their countries.

Participants stressed that over the two decades, Vietnam-Uruguay relations have seen steady development through visits by the two sides’ senior leaders.

They said their ministries and sectors work well together, promoting cooperation in the fields of economics, trade, sci-technology, culture and sports.

The two officials spoke highly the signing of two Government-level cooperation documents, including a framework agreement on trade and investment and an agreement on double taxation avoidance and tax evasion control, which occurred during Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh’s visit to Uruguay from December 8-10.

The same day, Uruguay’s National Post Office (NPO) published a stamp sample to mark the anniversary. It is printed with the portrait of General Vo Nguyen Giap, Vietnam’s legendary symbol, admired by people all over the world.

Deputy PM Ninh attended the ceremony before wrapping up h is visit to the country. Before arriving in Uruguay, the Deputy PM and the Vietnamese delegation visited Canada and Bolivia.

Experts target growth in aquaculture sector

Higher demand for seafood will require the aquaculture industry in the Asia-Pacific region to adopt sustainable practices in governance, harvesting, marketing, education and value chain, speakers noted yesterday (Dec 11) at a conference held in HCM City.

Speaking at the Asian-Pacific Aquaculture Conference and Trade Show, Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region had an average annual growth rate of 6.5 per cent, much higher than elsewhere in the world.

In 2010, aquaculture production in the region reached 53.1 million tonnes, contributing 89 per cent of global aquaculture production and 80 per cent of total global aquaculture value.

"The estimated average consumption rate of fish in the region is 29 kilos per capita per year, equivalent to 116 million tonnes per year," he said.

As demand for seafood continues to surpass supplies of wild-caught fish and seafood, aquaculture will be the only serious solution to meet the increasing demand, Phat said.

"Sustainable aquaculture development will become more of a priority in the regional countries," he said.

However, numerous challenges exist, including lack of health management and outside pressure from "informed consumers and certification issues", according to Amrit N. Bart, director at the Asian Institute of Technology.

"Asian aquaculture is increasing and is profitable, but we produce more dead fish and shrimp than live product, and we are not getting the optimal margins from our value chain, nor are we working to do so," he said.

"We need to look at other areas and approaches to get our production and profitability to optimal levels," he added.

The event, which discussed how the industry could position itself for higher profits and will end on Friday, provides a platform for the international aquaculture community to discuss opportunities and challenges faced by the industry.

Pham Anh Tuan, deputy director of the General Department of Fisheries, said Viet Nam's aquaculture industry had developed strongly in the past in terms of both production and export.

However, the industry had encountered challenges such as high disease prevalence, high production costs, and strict requirements set by import markets. Climate change, weak value-chain linkages and financial problems are other obstacles.

"Disease is one of the biggest challenges for sustainable development of our aquaculture industry," he said, adding that disease outbreaks had affected shrimp, pangasius and tilapia, causing huge losses for farmers.

To overcome challenges, he said better control of disease was needed as well as improved feeding management.

Promoting linkages between stakeholders in the industry is also necessary to reduce production costs and improve the value chain.

The industry plans to promote the use of GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) standards to satisfy strict requirements from import markets.

It also plans to conduct more research on breeding that would be adaptive to climate change, including creating saline-adapted and disease-resistant strains.

David Hughes, emeritus professor of food marketing at Imperial College London, said future demand for fish and seafood would continue to increase in both emerging and developed countries.

"Shoppers in developed countries respond well to better range, quality and convenience, less ‘fishy fish', and customer service in-store," Hughes said.

Therefore, exporters should focus more on exporting highly processed products to developed markets, he said.

Viet Nam's seafood exports reached US$6.1 billion last year and is expected to top $6.7 billion this year, Tuan said.

Viet Nam's total aquaculture production last year was 3.27 million tonnes, accounting for 55.2 per cent of the total fisheries production.

This was an increase of 7.2 per cent over 2011. Viet Nam is ranked third in aquaculture production volume in the Asia-Pacific region, and is set to be one of the top 10 seafood-exporting countries.

NA vice chair visits Sweden

Vice Chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Uong Chu Luu has paid a two-day working visit to Sweden to foster bilateral ties.

Luu held a working session with the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament, Per Westerberg, who said he valued the long-standing relations between the two countries.

Westerberg said the two countries should continue expanding economic and tourism co-operation, while enhancing the exchange of delegations for peace, development and prosperity.

During his visit, which ended on Tuesday, Luu also met with Chairman of the Stockholm City Council, heads of the Parliament's Committees for Foreign Affairs and Justice, and the Chief Judge of the Swedish Supreme Court.

The Swedes were also informed of the contents of the amended Constitution of Viet Nam and commended the law building and judicial reforms.

Luu said that the National Assembly of Viet Nam would host the 132nd Assembly of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) in March, 2015, and passed on an invitation for a visit from NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung to Westerberg.    

Ambassador highlights cooperation potential with Malaysia

Enjoying a close relationship, Vietnam and Malaysia have had a lot of potential for mutual development, Vietnamese Ambassador to Malaysia Nguyen Hong Thao has said.

Speaking to Kuala Lumpur-based Vietnam News Agency correspondents on the year marking the 40 th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties in 2013, Thao noted that Malaysia was the first Southeast Asian country to establish the ties with Vietnam.

Malaysia was also the first nation to introduce Vietnam to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1995, he said.

The two countries have also held great potential in economic cooperation and are working together in negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which, once completed, will greatly benefit both.

Bilateral educational and cultural ties have been progressing with the number of Vietnamese students attending Malaysian schools and universities on the rise, he cited.

Two-way trade between the two countries has increased 25 percent annually on average, jumping from 6.5 billion USD in 2011 to 7.9 billion USD in 2012, according to the diplomat.

During President Truong Tan Sang’s 2011 visit to Malaysia , the two sides committed to bringing the figure to 10 billion USD in the 2015-2020 period, he said, adding that the target may be early reached.

Malaysia now ranks eighth in Vietnam’s foreign investor line-up, with more than 400 projects totalling over 10 billion USD. Meanwhile, Vietnamese investors are undertaking small-sized projects, especially in oil and gas, in Malaysia, he noted.

Besides cashew nut, coffee, pepper and aquatic products, rice can be Vietnam’s key export product to Malaysia – a market with demand for Vietnam likely reaching over one million tonne a year.

Malaysia mainly supplies Vietnam with animal and vegetable oil, petrol, fertilizers, chemicals and seafood, while importing crude oil from the country for processing.

The current development speed would allow the two countries to attain 12-15 billion USD in two-way trade in 2020, Ambassador Thao stressed.

The diplomat also expressed his strong belief that 2014 will see new progress in the two countries’ partnership.

Malaysia will assume the ASEAN Chair in 2015 when the association begins implementing its new Charter.

Former Japanese PM praises relations with Vietnam

Relations between Vietnam and Japan is not only purely a strategic partnership but also as the two friends with same heartbeats, former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has said.

The former Japanese Prime Minister made the remark at a recent interview granted for a Vietnam News Agency’s correspondent in Tokyo on the occasion of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s upcoming visit to Japan to participate in the Japan-ASEAN Commemorative Summit.

Hatoyama said he was pleased to witness many events were organised successfully in both countries to mark the 40 th anniversary of their diplomatic ties in 2013 and they contributes to further promoting mutual understanding between the two peoples.

He said Vietnam is the country which Japan has built the most trustful partnership with, adding that the enhancement of their “fraternity” relations will create a favourable environment for cooperation in the region.

The two countries saw huge potential for cooperation in many fields, such as energy, environment. They need to map out specific cooperation projects and promote the implementation of them soon.

At present, Japanese businesses want to invest in foreign countries to boost their country’s economic development and they see Vietnam as a potential destination for cooperation, he added.

Talking about his future plans, Hatoyama, who made much dedication to boost the relations between the two nations, said he hopes to contribute to further fostering cooperation in the field of education.

It is necessary for Vietnam to train young and skilful technicians as in Japan , he suggested, saying that he hopes Vietnam will apply Japan ’s professional vocational training school system. He added that he will propose the idea to Vietnamese leaders.

The former PM also expressed his desire to create a favourable environment for Japanese nationals to live and work in Vietnam as there are more and more Japanese seeking to do business in the country.

In regard to agriculture, he said that Vietnam and Japan has similarities and Vietnam could apply Japan’s technologies in the field, including irrigation system and information technology in agricultural production.

As for Vietnam-Japan cooperation within the framework of ASEAN, Hatoyama said an ASEAN Economic Community will be established by 2015 and he believed Vietnam will play a centre role in the community.

He also underlined that the increasingly intensive relationship between Vietnam and Japan will have a big influence on cooperation in the whole of the region.

The former Japanese Prime Minister said Japan and ASEAN have a fine relationship and it will continue further developing in the coming time.

Japan will provide support for each ASEAN member country through ODA projects. It will also work closely ASEAN members to better infrastructure system, focusing on countries that have strong economic growth.

Japanese enterprises will seek to open their plants in regional countries to boost Japan’s economic development. It will be the best development model in the relationship between Japan and ASEAN, the former PM stressed.

President praises Fatherland Front for national achievements

President Truong Tan Sang yesterday attended a conference praising collectives and individuals in Fatherland Front agencies for their work from 2009-13.

Participants were briefed on achievements of collectives in economic development, poverty reduction, rural development and cultural activities.

Heads of sub-agencies of the Fatherland Front across the country who worked devotedly to accomplish the Front's missions were also praised by the Standing Committee of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front (VFF).

He said the agencies had also contributed considerably to people's cultural life in residential areas, education promotion campaigns, getting rid of superstitious customs, environment protection and activities on social welfare for heroic mothers and those devoted to the country's revolutions.

Yet, the President said that good results were not seen in all residential areas.

This meant that further training for staff at Front agencies was a priority, he said.

Fatherland Front President Nguyen Thien Nhan also called on Front agencies to participate in activities to celebrate the coming eighth VFF Congress.

Viet Nam Fatherland Front is a voluntary union of political organisations and social organisations representing the people of Viet Nam. Its motus operandi is to supervise the operations of the government and ensure political and moral unity.



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