Leaders join students to welcome the new school year

On September 3, Party and State officials joined students at various schools across the country to celebrate the beginning of the 2014-2015 academic year.

Politburo member and Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan beat the school drum to launch the new school year at a high school for gifted students in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang.

To mark the occasion, the NA Vice Chairwoman presented 5,000 notebooks, 200 school bags and one TV as gifts to the school.

Meanwhile, Politburo member and Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Le Thanh Hai attended a similar event at Nguyen Thi Minh Khai high school.

Le Thanh Hai said the education and training sector should continue reforming teaching methods and encourage students to self-study along with regularly holding extracurricular activities and scientific research.

According to the municipal Department of Education and Training, this school year the city has 2,124 schools with more than 1.52 million students.

The same day Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai beat the drum at a high school for gifted students in northern Thai Binh province, NA Vice Chairman Uong Chu Luu and Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyen Vinh Hien celebrated the event at a high school in the northern mountainous province of Bac Kan.

President tours Kien Giang’s islands

President Truong Tan Sang visited Tho Chau Island commune in Phu Quoc district in the southern coastal province of Kien Giang on September 3 to inspect the locality’s socio-economic and security and defence situation.

Located approximately 100km southwest of Phu Quoc Island and 22km from international waters, Tho Chau is one of Phu Quoc district’s two island communes.

The eight small islets cover an area of 16 square kilometers and are home to 1,912 inhabitants. The commune contributes significantly to national defence and security. The commune also plays a vital role in Vietnam’s fishing and seafood industry, providing a habitat for numerous aquatic species.

At present, the commune generates an annual per capita income of VND15 million (US$705), and contributes approximately VND5.7 billion (US$267,900) to the state budget every year.

However, the commune faces a number of difficulties, especially regarding its infrastructure.

President Sang also visited Tho Chau temple, where he offered incense to martyrs and more than 500 islanders who lost their lives protecting the islands in 1975. He also met with local fishermen and visited the locality’s national memorial sites.

In a working session with key leaders of Kien Giang later that day, President Sang praised the province’s achievements in numerous fields.

With an economic growth rate of 8.9 percent in the first half of 2014, he noted that Kien Giang generated US$223 million in exports, adding that the province has taken the lead in aquaculture and fishing.

The State leader also highlighted some of the province’s challenges, including the impact of climate change and a rising sea level.

He urged the locality to find ways to rapidly and sustainably boost economic growth through fulfilling its vast potential in different maritime sectors.

Kien Giang should maintain its current export markets and expand into big markets, such as Japan, the EU and Russia, whilst improving the conditions for local aquaculture enterprises and exporters, he said.

President Sang also highlighted Kien Giang’s strengths in tourism, pointing out that the development of Phu Quoc would act as a driving force for the entire Mekong Delta region.

Regarding climate change adaptation, he called upon the province to make full use of the support offered by international organisations, especially the World Bank, and to increase cooperation in this field.

Acknowledging Kien Giang’s proposals to upgrade Tho Chau’s administration to district level and devise a master plan for the locality adapted to its specific strategic importance, President Sang urged the province to submit an overall development plan for consideration.

In the near future, the province should focus on improving the islanders’ living conditions and limiting migration to prevent any negative impacts on local ecosystems, he said.

The President also requested that the provincial armed forces be made aware of the strategic significance of coastal islands, including Tho Chau, whilst strengthening external defence relations.

Central Highlands urged to boost relations with Laos, Cambodia

Hoang Binh Quan, head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations, on September 3 asked the Central Highlands to strengthen relations with its neighbours, Laos and Cambodia.

At a working session with the Steering Committee for the Central Highlands (SCCH), Quan urged the SCCH to step up its efforts to link the region’s localities and promote the efficiency of foreign relations, whilst boosting economic cooperation with Cambodian and Laotian localities just across the border.

He asked the committee to focus on the effective implementation of commitments and high-level agreements made between Vietnam and its two neighbouring countries.

The committee should implement more effective measures to encourage domestic businesses to invest in the Development Triangle of Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam, while paying more attention to increasing citizen exchanges and educating the next generation on the solidarity and friendship among the three countries.

According to Lieutenant General Trieu Xuan Hoa, Deputy Head of the SCCH, regional localities cooperated with the southern provinces of Laos and northeastern localities of Cambodia on a range of issues, including trade, investment, national defence, security, and cultural exchanges among the countries’ peoples.

They collaborated closely on maintaining the respective countries’ sovereignty and border security, as well on the fight against smuggling and drug trafficking, he said.

The localities of the three countries have held regular meetings, exchanged information and patrolled their borders together to strengthen security and safety along the shared borders, Hoa added.

Trade between the Central Highlands region and Laotian and Cambodian localities has grown by 13% on average each year, with the main goods for export being technical equipment, construction materials, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and seeds.

Between 2012 and 2013, Central Highland localities invested in 35 projects in Laos and Cambodia, totalling over US$1.5 trillion, noted Hoa.

Furthermore, regional localities provided support to Lao and Cambodia on planning, the construction of infrastructure and supplying power to border areas, he stated.

National Day Celebrations held in Australia, Cuba

A delegation from the Vietnamese Embassy in Cuba and the Vietnam-Cuba Friendship Association laid a wreath at President Ho Chi Minh’s Monument in Havana capital on September 2, commemorating the late President and marking the 69th anniversary of Vietnam’s August Revolution and National Day.

Ambassador Duong Minh highlighted Vietnam’s glorious revolutionary achievements and President Ho’s great contributions to the past struggle against foreign aggression to wrest back freedom and independence for the Vietnamese people.

He highlighted the great leadership role of President Ho as well as his national patriotic spirit and revolutionary ethics that helped the nation defeat foreign aggressors in the 20th centuries.

The diplomat expressed his pleasure at the fine development in Vietnam-Cuba relations over the years and thanked Cuban leaders and people for their valuable support for Vietnam in protecting revolutionary fruits, building socialism and boosting national construction and defence.

On this occasion, Cuban President Raul Castro, Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and representatives of foreign embassies in Cuba sent congratulatory messages to the Vietnamese Embassy.

*** Also on September 2, a ceremony was held in Perth city, Australia, to celebrate Vietnam’s National Day, drawing the participation of officials, diplomats, international friends and Vietnamese expatriates.

Vietnam Consul General to Perth Le Viet Duyen noted the great achievements Vietnamese people have recorded over the past 69 years.

Duyen spoke highly of the growing ties between Vietnam and Australia, and strongly believed that bilateral relations will further develop in the future.

Acting Governor Wayne Martin praised Vietnam’s remarkable achievements and the special relationship between Vietnam and West Australia.

He congratulated the overseas Vietnamese community after a Vietnamese born Australian was elected as Governor of South Australia, marking him the first Asian to hold this position so far.

Delegates at the event expressed their admiration for Vietnam’s socio-economic development and showed keen interest in strengthening Vietnam-Australia ties, especially in the fields of trade, culture and education.

At present, Vietnam ranks 16th among the largest trade partners of West Australia, with two-way trade turnover reaching nearly US$1 billion in 2013. Around 2,000 Vietnamese students are pursuing their study in West Australia.

Meanwhile, national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines plans to open a direct air route from Perth to Ho Chi Minh City in the near future.

Congratulations sent to Japanese Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh sent messages of congratulations to Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on September 3 on their respective re-elections.

Cuban newspaper hails Vietnam’s progress

Granma, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, dedicated an entire page of its September 2 edition to the successes Vietnam achieved during the renewal process on the occasion of the 69th anniversary of National Day.

Granma said since the renewal process started in 1986, Vietnam has overcome the consequences of war and has established itself as one of the strongest Southeast Asian economies.

Vietnam’s poverty rate fell to 8 percent in 2013, down from 58 percent in 1993, lifting 30 million people out of poverty.

The United Nations Organisation recognised that Vietnam is now faring better than some countries with higher average incomes regarding a number of social welfare criteria, the article added.

The paper noted that Vietnam has achieved five of the eight Millennium Development Goals, expecting to fulfill the remaining three by the end of 2015.

Granma quoted former Cuban Ambassador to Vietnam Jesús Aise Sotolongo, who attributed Vietnam’s success to promoting the full potential of Vietnam’s society at all times, and making the most of international integration opportunities provided by globalisation.

Independence, self-reliance – unwavering principles in foreign affairs

Independence and self-reliance have been the guiding principles for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) since its inception on August 28, 1945 under the direct leadership of State President Ho Chi Minh.

“Independence means we handle all our affairs without any external interventions.” “The core and main principle in our political, military, economic, and internal and external affairs is self-reliance,” Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh quoted the late President Ho Chi Minh in an article celebrating the 69 th anniversary of August Revolution Day and the MoFA’s 69 th anniversary.

Therefore, preserving independence and self-reliance has always been a guiding principle for external activities to safeguard the nation’s interests, Minh noted.

By persistently pursuing these principles over the past 69 years, Vietnam has defended its national interests, Minh affirmed, referring to the successes at the 1954 Geneva conference and the 1973 Paris conference.

During the Doi Moi (Renewal) process, Vietnam applied the policy creatively, diversifying her external relations to avoid having to depend on one large country or a group of countries, Minh said.

Vietnam has so far established diplomatic relations with 184 countries and forged economic and investment ties with 230 countries and territories all over the world.

The country has normalised its ties with China and the US, and joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Vietnam is now negotiating the terms of the Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership.

Minh pointed out the challenges the present era of globalisation, integration, and dependence is posing to the mission of firmly defending independence and self-reliance.

Global issues, such as climate change, water security, epidemics, and terrorism, are beyond the control of a single country and could negatively affect the country’s ability to maintain independence and self-reliance, and safeguard national interests, the official wrote.

To overcome these challenges, Vietnam needs to further improve the efficiency of external affairs; deepen relations; and reinforce ties with large countries, powerful centres and influential multi-lateral organisations, he said.

In addition, the country should proactively participate in the current global paradigms of peace, cooperation and development; scientific and technological revolution; and globalisation and international integration.

With the global and regional order evolving, Vietnam should be proactive in regards to external affairs, whilst constantly and incessantly improving the capacity of diplomatic staff, Minh stated.

He expressed his faith in current and future diplomatic staff holding on to the principles of independence and self-reliance to serve national interests.

“Whatever we do, be sure we do it for national interests,” Minh quoted President Ho Chi Minh.