Big challenges remain for East-West corridor nations

Countries in the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) - Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Viet Nam - face many changes before the ASEAN Community makes its debut next December.

Director of the Mekong Institute, Watcharas Leelawath, yesterday spoke about the ASEAN community 2015 and its impact on regional co-operation on the corridor.

"The differences in procedures, regulations and laws are still the biggest obstructions to the establishment of the ASEAN Community," Leelawath said.

"Slow changes in administrative reform and protection of domestic markets will also delay the acceleration of trade and investment among countries in the corridor," he said.

Leelawath said each country should invest in infrastructure and software to create better conditions for cross-border trade and investment as well as to reduce poverty among corridor countries.

"The introduction of the Cross Border Economic Zone and Cross Border Transport Agreement will develop trading, saving exporters and importers time and money," he said.

He also said the transport agreement had not been fully implemented among countries.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Do Thang Hai, said the corridor would help speed up the transport of commodities and investment from Viet Nam to other countries.

"The corridor will boost goods exchange between nations," he said. "Exports from Viet Nam will be easily accessible to other markets in the region, thus improving the living standard of the whole community," Hai said.

"The establishment of ASEAN Community calls for drastic efforts from member countries in implementing agreements already signed," he said.

Hai said 20 per cent of the work needed to set up the ASEAN Community was still to be completed.

Head of the ASEAN department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nguyen Tien Minh, said the introduction of the ASEAN Community would boost bilateral trade between Viet Nam and ASEAN.

"Bilateral trade between Viet Nam and ASEAN has increased from US$8 billion to $40 billion.

However, many challenges, including competitive capacity, poor infrastructure, soft infrastructure (procedure and legal system)are a big concern for the Viet Nam Government in integrating into the ASEAN Community," Minh said.

The ASEAN Community, with a population of 600 million and GDP of US$21 trillion, will be a key market for investment and trade as well as a connection to the world market.     

NA committee discusses revised Law on State Audit

The revised Law on State Audit should help ensure the independence of State audit activities, lawmakers said during a discussion at the National Assembly Standing Committee meeting which wrapped up yesterday.

They said this was to meet the increasing demands of financial and public asset management.

The NA members said it was necessary to clarify the position and functions of State Audit with other supervisory State agencies.

They also proposed amendments to add more subjects for auditing, including State budget collection and spending at all levels, State financial funds, financial sources for agencies, organisations and units, public debt, land, water resources, mineral resources and assets invested or managed by the State.

Chairwoman of the NA Committee for Social Affairs, Truong Thi Mai, suggested that the Social Insurance Fund and Health Insurance Fund should also be audited.

Lawmakers also sought clarification of the co-ordination between State Audit with NA agencies.

The compiling agency should also clarify activities considered to hinder the operation of the State Audit, they said.

Chairman of the NA Council for Ethnic Minority Affairs, Ksor Phuoc , said the State Audit agency was an effective tool to supervise and assess the use of State Budget and public assets.

This meant the draft amendments should highlight the role of the NA in supervising and handling the State Audit agency's recommendations relating to auditing results.

Earlier the same day, lawmakers discussed draft amendments to the Law on National Assembly Organisation.

Viet Nam, Czech Republic strengthen defence links

Senior Army officers from Viet Nam and the Czech Republic held talks here yesterday, focusing on personnel training, defence industry and research, apart from military technology, and maintenance.

The talks were held between Deputy Minister of Defence Sen. Lieut. Gen. Do Ba Ty, Chief of the General Staff of the Viet Nam People's Army, and Gen. Petr Pavel, Chief of the General Staff of Armed Forces of the Czech Republic.

Based on their discussions, the relevant agencies of the two defence ministries will soon devise and sign an action plan to effectively realise their memorandum of understanding on bilateral defence cooperation.

At the talks, both sides also shared their experience in building and modernising their armed forces and exchanged views on global issues as well as matters of mutual concern.

The Czech delegation's visit to Viet Nam, which will last until August 17, aims to strengthen bilateral defence connections, thus consolidating the friendship between the two armies and peoples.

While in Viet Nam, the delegation is scheduled to pay a courtesy visit to Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh.

Brazilian Ambassador given fond farewell

Viet Nam treasured its ties with Brazil because of its role in Latin America and the world, said President Truong Tan Sang.

Sang was speaking at a farewell for Brazilian Ambassador Vitoria Alice Cleaver, who has completed her tenure in Viet Nam.

He said he appreciated the contribution Cleaver had made to promoting the partnership between the two countries and agreed to her proposal to review bilateral agreements.

Sang added that there was great potential for the two countries to expand their collaboration, particularly when the ASEAN Community was formed in 2015, suggesting links in the fields of education, culture and tourism.

He also offered condolences to Brazil over the death of presidential candidate Educardo Campos in an air crash on Wednesday.

The outgoing ambassador spoke of the preparations for an inter-governmental conference, adding that the two countries should review and make adjustments to signed agreements to boost co-operation.

Cambodia's top legislator to visit Viet Nam

President of the Cambodian National Assembly Heng Samrin will pay an official visit to Viet Nam from August 18-20.

The visit will come at the invitation of National Assembly (NA) Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, according to the communiqu issued by the NA Committee for External Relations yesterday.

VARANS signs MoU on radiation, nuclear safety

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Viet Nam Agency for Radian and Nuclear Safety (VARANS) and Lightbridge Corporation on comprehensive co-operation in the field of radiation and nuclear safety for the peaceful use of nuclear energy on Thursday.

Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Quoc Khanh, and Political Affairs Counselor of the United States in Viet Nam Mark Lambert attended the signing ceremony.

The MOU aims to provide a framework to further develop and strengthen the radiation and nuclear safety capabilities of VARANS.

Lightbridge is a provider of nuclear consulting services to commercial and Government entities worldwide.

PM urges prompt actions against reactionary schemes

The public security force must work harder to nip in the bud any reactionary forces’ insidious schemes attempting to sabotage the revolution and undermine national unity, said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

PM Dung made the request at a meeting in Hanoi on August 16 to mark the 69th anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Police (August 19).

He noted that over the past 69 years, under the correct leadership of the Party and State and great national solidarity, the police force has made enormous achievements and contributions to national construction and defence.

The Government leader highlighted the important role of the police force in ensuring political stability and social safety and security, as well as in defending national sovereignty.

He asked police officers to uphold their glorious tradition to combat anti-State activities and hostile forces to protect the country’s revolutionary achievements and maintain social order.

Minister of Public Security General Tran Dai Quang shed light on outstanding contributions of the police force to the past struggle and the present cause of national development and defence.

He attached great importance to fighting against reactionary organisations and hostile forces in the face of complicated situations in the region and the world, including the recent tension in the East Sea, in order to ensure political stability, economic development, and social security.

Vietnam, Cambodia exchange experience in ethnic affairs

A delegation of the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) led by its deputy head Hoang Xuan Luong paid a working visit to Cambodia from August 11-17.

The delegation held talks with a delegation of the Cambodian Ministry of Cult and Religions led by Minister Min Khin, discussing ways to strengthen cooperation in ethnicity between Vietnam and Cambodia.

They agreed to assign their relevant agencies to draw up cooperation programmes, with a focus on the exchange of delegations, working experience and ethnic affairs training for Cambodian officials.

They plan to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on ethnic affairs cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia during Minister Min Khin’s visit to Hanoi next year.

At an earlier meeting for Luong, Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An said the delegation’s visit will help reinforce Vietnamese investors’ trust, especially when the Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) and the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have agreed to work together at the National Assembly.

The Vietnamese delegation visited several temples and met with representatives of the Vietnamese community in Phnom Penh.

Party chief asks Hau Giang to develop hi-tech agriculture

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has asked the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang to develop an agriculture driven by high technology as a way of becoming industrialised.

At his working session with local officials on August 15 as part of his southern tour, Trong advised the locality to concentrate on expanding large-scale rice fields controlled by high technology in parallel with developing the processing industry.

Local authorities should seek for more investments, attract human and financial resources, and further improve the business environment, for realising the works, he suggested.

He urged the province to strengthen connectivity with its surrounding localities, especially Can Tho city – the driving force in the region, in order to grow more strongly.

The Party leader also stressed the necessity of reinforceing Party organisations and political system to prevent degradation in ideology, ethics and lifestyle and combat corruption and wastefulness.

In recent years, Hau Giang has recorded positive economic growth, shifting towards high-tech agriculture.

The province’s per capita income was nearly VND29 million (US$1,363), while locals’ living conditions have improved.

The locality has farmed about 20,000 hectares of high-quality rice, reaping a yield of 1 million tonnes a year. It has 14,000 hectares of sugar cane, and 29,000 hectares of fruit trees.

The same day, Trong visited Tan Thanh commune, which has completed almost all criteria on the building of new-style rural areas. He also visited and presented gifts to several families of martyrs and heroic mothers.

Vietnam builds friendship house for Royal Cambodian Army

A ground-breaking ceremony of a friendship house – a gift from the Vietnam People’s Army for the Royal Cambodia Army was held in capital Phnom Penh on August 16.

The Vietnam-Cambodia Army Friendship House is being built on the premises of the General Command of the Royal Cambodian Army at a total cost of US$870,000.

The six-story building will sit on nearly 600sq.m, comprising a conference hall, working rooms, a library, and a guest room. Construction is scheduled for completion in three years.

Addressing the ceremony, General Mom Xom, deputy Commander in chief of the High Command of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, highlighted the solidarity and mutual assistance between the two armies and said all Vietnamese-funded projects have been used effectively by the Royal Cambodia Army.

Once completed, the friendship house will be used for key meetings of the High Command, as well as international conferences, he said.

Construction of the building is part of a cooperation agreement between the Ministries of National Defence of Vietnam and Cambodia.

Under the agreement, the Vietnamese side will grant US$21.6 million in aid to the Royal Cambodian Army to fund the purchase of equipment, officer training, and medical check-ups.

Of the total amount, US$2.4 million is for construction projects.

Hanoi, Timor Leste share experience in land management

Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Le Hong Son on August 15 received visiting Vice Chairman of the Timor Leste National Parliament Adriano do Nascimento, to learn about the city’s land use and management.

Son said Hanoi attaches importance to Vietnam-Timor Leste relations and the capital city is willing to share development experience with Timor Leste on the basis on equality, friendship, and cooperation for common development.

They shared Hanoi’s experience in urban land management, control of residential immigration, land use rights certificate granting, and issues on land-related disputes and settlement.   

Vice Chairman Adriano do Nascimento expressed Timor Leste’s desire to strengthen cooperation with Hanoi, by establishing information channels with the city to address land issues.

High-ranking Party delegation visits Austria

A party delegation led by Ha Thi Khiet, Party Central Committee Secretary and head of the Party Commission for Mass Mobilisation, held a working session with a delegation of the Communist Party of Austria (KPO), in Vienna on August 14.

Khiet said the Party, State and people of Vietnam bear in mind the wholehearted support and valuable assistance that Communists, left-wing forces and people of Austria have given Vietnam.

She noted the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) follows with keen interest the KPO’s activities, including its increased influence in Austria despite numerous difficulties, and hoped the position of the KPO, as well as Communists and left-wing forces, will be further consolidated in the future.  

She introduced Vietnam’s open foreign policy for peace, independence and development, creating regional and international environments conducive to national construction and defence.

Vietnam wants Communists around the world to strengthen solidarity in the common struggle for peace, national independence, democracy, development cooperation and socialism, Khiet said.

She spoke of recent tensions in the East Sea following China’s unilateral deployment of its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 in Vietnamese waters, and said Vietnam is determined to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity through peaceful means and in accordance with international law.

She appreciated strong support of the international community, including left-wing forces, in Vietnamese people’s struggle for justice.

KPO leaders stressed the importance of further studying the Marxist theory and Vietnam’s success story in the Doi Moi (Renewal) process.

They invited a CPV delegation to attend the 36th Congress of the KPO due to take place in mid October 2014.

At the working session, both sides shared experience in Party building and development in difficult times, and exchanged views on policies for women, youth and their relationship with other organisations.

Ha Thi Khiet also had a working session with Maria Rauch-Kallat, former Minister of Health and Women. They examined issues relating to gender equality, women’s role in politics, economy, and society, as well as measures to foster these objectives.

Khiet highlighted Vietnam’s gender equality achievements which have received World Bank acclaims, and identified challenges that need to be addressed soon.

Kallat invited Vietnam to attend a global women forum to be held in Austria this September.

During her stay, Khiet visited and met with representatives of the Vietnamese community in Austria to inquire into their living conditions there.

Vanuatu Republic values ties with Vietnam

President of the Republic of Vanuatu, Iolu Johnson Abbil has affirmed his nation’s recognition of high importance on developing relations with Vietnam.

At a recent reception for Vietnam ambassador Luong Thanh Nghi who came to present his credentials, President Abbil extended his best regards to President Truong Tan Sang and highly appreciated the Vietnamese community’s contributions to Vanuatu’s construction and development over the past years.

President Johnson Abbil expressed hope that ambassador Nghi will do his utmost to make more contributions to fostering and consolidating the ties of friendship and cooperation between the two nations.

For his part, the Vietnamese diplomat informed his host about the socio-economic situation and the tremendous renewal achievements the country has recorded over the past three decades.

Nghi also used the occasion to pay courtesy visits to Vanuatu Prime Minister Joe Natuman, Parliament Speaker Philip Boedoro, Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Lini Vanuaroroa, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Salwai Charlot and other high ranking officials.

Vanuatu leaders expressed their admiration of Vietnam’s past struggle for national independence as well as its current economic achievements and commended the country’s internationally elevated role and status.

Ambassador Nghi also visited the Vietnam Friendship Organization- an organization of more than 500 Vietnamese people living Vanuatu.

Nghi called on Vietnamese nationals to continue contributing to Vanuatu’s development, becoming an important bridge for stronger friendship and cooperation between the two peoples.

Party chief emphasizes tourism’s importance to Phu Quoc Island

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has emphasized the importance of tourism to the island district of Phu Quoc in southern Kien Giang province, saying that it will be a breakthrough for the district to develop its sea-based economy.

“Phu Quoc should fully tap the local favourable conditions such as clean environment, beautiful beaches and rich cultural and spiritual treasure to develop tourism,” the Party leader told the district’s officials during his working trip to the island on August 16-17.

He also suggested that the island district, with its convenient location and advantageous natural conditions, should invest in fisheries and aquaculture to serve both the domestic market and export.

According to General Secretary Trong, the most important tasks for the district as well as Kien Giang province in the immediate future are to strive for the goals set for the 2011-2015 period and to prepare for Party conferences at all levels. He said Party congresses provide good opportunities to review what have been done and what not during the past five-year tenure, which would serve as good foundation for defining the development strategy and guideline for the next five and even 10 years.

The Party chief urged the local authorities to continue its good work in carrying out the Party Central Committee’s Resolution 4 (11th tenure) on Party building and the Politburo’s Directive 03 on following the moral example of President Ho Chi Minh. He noted that only when the Party organisation is strong can it serve as the core of the national unity and fulfil its set targets.

Also during the visit, General Secretary Trong offered incense in tribute to revolutionaries who were killed in Phu Quoc prison. Nearly 40,000 revolutionaries were detained in the prison between 1967 and 1973, and one tenth of them died due to harsh living conditions and torture. The prison is now a national historical relic.

Phu Quoc district, an administrative unit of the southern province of Kien Giang, comprises 27 islands with Phu Quoc being the largest. A tourist hub in Kien Giang, Phu Quoc, dubbed the Paradise Pearl Island, has also earned reputation worldwide. It welcomed nearly 325,000 holidaymakers in the first seven months of this year.

Party, State officials pay tribute to late President Ho Chi Minh

Senior officials of the Party and State on August 15 offered incense to President Ho Chi Minh on the occasion of the 45th death anniversary of the leader.

They paid tribute to the late President at House No 67 in the Presidential Palace complex in Hanoi, where he breathed his last at 9:47 am on September 2, 1969.

Among the well wishers were Politburo member and head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Education and Popularisation Dinh The Huynh, Politburo member and Minister of Public Security General Tran Dai Quang, and Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan.

Many delegations from cities and provinces nationwide also paid tribute to the late President at House No.67

Built and completed in 1967, the flat-roofed house was also the place where the Politburo held many meetings during the fiercest years of the US sabotage war.

It is part of the President Ho Chi Minh relic site, which also encompasses the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and his stilt house. The complex welcomes about 2.5 million visitors every year.