Nation faces severe blood shortage during pandemic

The Central Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (CIHBT) has announced it is facing a severe shortage of blood which is enough for use only in the next few days without further supplies.

Blood storage now stands at only over 4,000 blood units, according to the CIHBT.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CIHBT had to cancel or postpone 80 blood donation drives in November with an expected reception of 25,000 units.

When social distancing measures were eased and the nation started to implement the policy of safe and flexible adaptation to and effective control of COVID-19, the number of blood donations improved. However, after the number of new COVID-19 cases has increased recently in many localities, blood donations started to decline.

Director of the CIHBT Bạch Quốc Khánh said the appearance of new cases in localities forced blood donation campaigns to be postponed or cancelled. The CIHBT receives just 300-400 blood units per day while it needs around 1,200 blood units to supply more than 180 hospitals each day.

Meanwhile, blood demand is forecast to increase in the year-end period and during the Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays.

Khánh said an estimated 80,000 units are needed for emergencies and treatment at hospitals between December 2021 and February 2022. But blood donation campaigns could only meet around 60 per cent of the demand, he said.

The situation could be improved with support from the community, he said, urging the community to continue donating blood to support treatment, particularly in southern localities that are facing difficulties due to the pandemic.

Chile willing to share COVID-19 vaccines with Vietnam

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc received Chilean Minister of Health Oscar Enrique Paris in Geneva on November 29 who said Chile stays ready to share its COVID-19 vaccines with Vietnam.

Phuc conveyed his regards to Chilean President Sebastian Piñera, and suggested both countries work closely together to carry out activities in the lead up to the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam – Chile diplomatic ties in 2022.

He stated that amid the current global COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining a good relationship helps promote cooperation in pandemic prevention and control. He spoke highly of Chile’s effective control of COVID-19, and thanked the country for its willingness to cooperate and provide Vietnam with a certain amount of vaccines.

The enforcement of the Vietnam-Chile Free Trade Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), along with the fine development of bilateral political ties will serve to beef up the two countries’ cooperation in the future, Phuc said.

The President expressed his delight at hearing that the two-way trade turnover in the first nine months of this year reached nearly US$1.5 billion, up 59% over the same period last year.

Minister Oscar Enrique Paris welcomed President Phuc’s proposal, and said Chile is willing to share vaccines with Vietnam, as well as to cooperation in health care with the Southeast Asian nation.

He suggested that the two countries coordinate closely in taking advantage of the CPTPP to bring practical benefits to both sides.

Vietnam, Russia to deepen comprehensive strategic partnership

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc is paying an official visit to Russia from November 29 to December 2 at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, aimed at giving fresh impetus to the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership.

Vietnam and Russia established diplomatic ties 71 years ago. They lifted their relationship to the level of the strategic partnership in 2001 and the comprehensive strategic partnership in 2012.

Bilateral relations have developed considerably over the past time. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, both countries have regularly maintained high-level online contact and phone calls to promote bilateral cooperation.

During their phone call in September 2021, President Phuc and President Putin discussed measures to further strengthen the Vietnam - Russia comprehensive strategic partnership, including in COVID-19 prevention and control.

Oil and gas is considered a success story in bilateral cooperation, with the Vietnam – Russia Oil and Gas Joint Venture Enterprise (Vietsovpetro) expected to operate until 2030. Large Russian oil and gas groups such as Gazprom, Rosneft and many other enterprises are implementing a number of cooperation projects in Vietnam. Meanwhile, in Russia the Rusvietpetro Petroleum Joint Venture is implementing an oil and gas exploration project in the Nhenhetxky Autonomous Region.

In 2020, two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and Russia reached nearly US$5 billion. Major Vietnamese exports included telephones, electronics, textiles, footwear, and agricultural and aquatic products. Its major imports were coal, wheat, iron and steel, fertilizers, automobiles, machinery and equipment.

The signing of a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in 2016 opened up numerous opportunities for trade cooperation between Vietnam and Russia.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade reported that there are about 940 Vietnamese businesses exporting products to the Eurasian Economic Union, but Russia accounts for more than 90% of the total trade turnover between Vietnam and the EAEU.

Besides economic cooperation, Russia is also an important leading partner of Vietnam in the field of military technology. The two sides also promote cooperation in science and technology, education, culture, tourism, local cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges.

In 2019, more than 660,000 Russian tourists visited Vietnam, making Russia the largest European tourist market for Vietnam. In addition, with 40,000 Vietnamese officials and experts trained in the former Soviet Union, 80,000 Vietnamese people living and working in Russia and about 5,000 Vietnamese students studying in Russia, they serve to foster cooperative relations between the two countries.

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam presented Russia with masks and some medical supplies. Russia also provided Vietnam with about 15,000 doses of the Sputnik-V vaccine and a number of treatment drugs and medical supplies.

Many Russian experts believe that President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s current visit to Russia is of great significance that will help strengthen existing cooperation programmes and open up new cooperation directions between the two countries. Russia attaches great importance to bilateral relations with Vietnam, as well as with ASEAN - an organization in which Vietnam plays a very important role.

Russia supports Vietnam’s stance on settling disputes in the East Sea by peaceful means, without using force or threatening to use force, on the basis of international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. 1982 (UNCLOS).

During an interview with Russian media ahead of his visit, President Phuc noted the visit demonstrates the importance the Vietnamese Party, State and people attach to bilateral ties as well as President Putin, a close friend of Vietnamese people.

He said he and President Putin will review the Vietnam-Russia relations and seek major strategic orientations to elevate the comprehensive strategic partnership to new heights across all spheres.

The visit is also expected to boost bilateral cooperation in COVID-19 prevention and control, especially in promoting Russia’s support for vaccine production and technology transfer.

Vietnam must be cautious about mutated Omicron variant, say experts

Although no Omicron cases have been reported in Vietnam, experts say the local health sector should be highly vigilant against the super-mutated variant that is spreading to a number of countries and territories globally.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Omicron is a new variant "of concern" after it was first reported in South Africa on November 24 and has since been identified in more than 10 countries and territories worldwide.

Assoc. Prof. & Dr. Do Van Dung at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City described Omicron as a worrying mutated virus, although nobody knows exactly how dangerous it is.

“It’s assumed that Omicron is stronger than Delta – a SARS-CoV-2 variant that has caused a serious wave of COVID-19 in many countries and territories worldwide, but research is needed to clarify the assumption,” said Dung.

The WHO said it would take scientists a few weeks in order to fully understand the impact of the new variant, as scientists work to determine how transmissible it is.

Amidst new threats, a number of countries around the world have now decided to ban or restrict travel both to and from southern Africa.

Assoc. Prof. & Dr. Tran Dac Phu, former director of Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health, suggested that Vietnam should come up with specific solutions for people from these countries where the Omicron cases have been found.

“Steps must be taken to detect whether they have entered the community or not, thereby continuing to control the spread of the virus,” said Phu.

The country has also been requested to assess the spread of the mutated Omicron variant, the likelihood that it is resilient to the vaccine, and take measures to limit its community risk.

Sharing the view, Assoc. Prof. & Dr. Nguyen Viet Hung, vice president of the Hanoi Association for Infection Control, suggested Vietnam should speed up vaccinations for all people and continue to implement the Health Ministry’s 5K message in a bid to better protect people from virus infection.

“The country should strengthen surveillance and closely monitor genetic modification of imported strains to hammer out appropriate prevention measures,” Dr. Hung said, adding that prevention is better than cure.

“It will be complicated and dangerous if the new variant is recorded in Vietnam,” he stressed.

So far Vietnam has not yet detected any case relating to the mutated Omicron variant.

The Ministry of Health has proposed that the Government consider temporarily suspending international flights both to and from countries in southern Africa, including South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique.

Plane crash at Noi Bai Airport blamed on human error

A Vietjet Air pilot has been temporarily suspended from flying after recently causing a collision with another Vietjet Air plane at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi.

Other members of the crew along with a signalman were also suspended from work due to the launch of an investigation, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam.

The incident occurred at around 6:00 p.m. on November 27 when the pilot was controlling the plane with 120 passengers onboard after it had landed in Hanoi from Da Lat and was on its taxi way to its designated parking lot.

As the plane was moving closer to the parking lot, its blended winglet called Sharklet collided with the winglet of another Vietjet Air plane which was parking nearby.

The collision caused damage to both winglets of the two planes, with one piece of one of the winglets falling to the ground. Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam established a team of experts and technicians to look into the cause of the incident.

The experts and technicians are scheduled to meet the crew and other people on November 29 as part of the investigation.

CAAV investigates plane collision in Noi Bai

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) is investigating the cause of a collision between two planes at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi.

Two Vietjet Air planes collide at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on November 27.

An investigation team from CAAV on Monday morning started assessing the damage to the two planes, working with the crew members and checking the pilot cabin of the plane that caused the collision on November 27.

According to a report from CAAV, the incident happened at 6.12 pm on November 27 when a Vietjet Air plane VN-A544 taxiing into its parking area after landing suddenly hit the wing of another Vietjet Air plane VN-A636 parked nearby.

"Plane VN-A544 which was carrying 127 passengers from Dalat City, was taxiing to parking area 52D and the passengers were still on the plane," the report said. "It then suddenly hit the wing of Plane VN-A636 which was parked at bay 52C. The collision caused the wing of the plane VN-A636 to break. Luckily all the passengers and the crew members were safe."

Vietjet announced that they suspended all flight crew members during the investigation.

Two Bamboo Airways planes also collided at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on November 2 when one plane which was about to leave Noi Bai for Phu Quoc suddenly hit another which was being parked at the airport. Both planes suffered minor damage. None of the passengers on the flight were injured.

Health ministry proposes suspending Africa flights to prevent new Covid variant

The Ministry of Health has just proposed to local authorities to suspend flights to some African countries to prevent the new Covid-19 Omicron variant.

At a meeting held on Sunday evening, the ministry said that Vietnam had not reported any Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant infections that had been announced by the WHO to have been found in some southern African countries

At the meeting, the ministry proposed concerned agencies to consider suspending flights from African countries including South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho, and Mozambique.

"Passengers coming from these countries should also be prevented from entering Vietnam," the ministry proposed.

The Ministry of Health said that they would closely co-operate with WHO and other agencies and organisations to study the new variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus in order to map out suitable preventive measures.

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Region has warned the South-East Asia Region to take extra precautions to curb the spread of the virus due to concern over the highly infectious Omicron Coronavirus variant.

"Though Covid-19 cases have been declining in most countries of our region, the surge in cases elsewhere in the world and confirmation of a new variant of concern is a reminder of the persisting risk and the need for us to continue to do our best to protect against the virus and prevent its spread. At no cost should we let our guard down," Dr Poonam said in a statement released on November 27.

Passengers using monthly pass on Hanoi metro rises

Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro route in Hanoi has witnessed a rise in the number of passengers with the monthly pass.

After one week of ticket charging, Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro route transported 113,024 passengers on 1,421 trips, said Vu Hong Truong, Director of Metro Hanoi.   

According to Truong, of the total passengers, people who use the monthly pass rose to 20.3 percent from 10 percent during the first days. This shows positive signs for the route and the rate would increase after students return to school.

Passengers buying single tickets accounted for 75.7 percent of total sales during the period.

The route offered free travel between November 6-21, attracting 380,510 passengers.

A single trip on the route costs VND8,000-15,000, a 30-day pass costs VND200,000 for regular passengers and VND100,000 for students and workers in industrial parks.

Between November 21-May 6, Cat Linh-Ha Dong trains run every ten minutes from 5:30 am to 10 pm, with trains running every six minutes at peak hours.

Irrigation system helps Central Highland farmers prosper

Due a severe shortage of water, farmers in the Central Highland province of Gia Lai were lucky to get just one crop each year.

But thanks to a new irrigation system installed in Ayun Commune, Chư Sê District, they have doubled their rice production capabilities. 

Đinh Hóa, a farmer in Keo village in the commune, said in the past they would not even have enough rice to feed their own families, never mind selling it.

They couldn't grow any other crops, and were unable to raise any animals.

“Things have greatly improved since the Pleikeo irrigation canal was put into operation in 2020,” Hóa said.

“We farmers now can have rice twice a year and we no longer starve. Now we have enough rice to eat all year round and even have rice to sell.”

The Pleikeo irrigation project can provide water for 500 hectares of crops and was one of the most important projects for Ayun commune.

The first phase of the irrigation work was completed early 2020, bringing water to irrigate more than 200 hectares of crops in Ayun commune.

This has helped the people of Ayun change their way of thinking and working, learning to cultivate wet rice in the second crop, so their lives have changed positively.

In Ayun Commune, 97 per cent of its population are from ethnic groups of Jrai and Bahnar. Before 2016, due to poor farming and year-round droughts, Ayun commune with a poverty rate of over 84 per cent was as one of the poorest communes in Việt Nam.

Over the years, with support from many sources from central to local levels, Chư Sê district has focused on investing in a number of projects to help Ayun people develop production, stabilise their lives and reduce poverty.

Nguyễn Văn Hợp, head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Chư Sê District, said thanks to irrigation works, water supply for production is guaranteed, so their rice productivity and output is now much higher than in previous years.

In the winter-spring crop of 2020-2021, the yield is seven quintals per sào (500 square metres) and rice quality is much better.

With the Pleikeo irrigation system, Ayun's people planted the second crop of rice in 2021 with seeds, fertilisers, and plant protection treatment given to them by local authorities. They got a yield of 6.5 quintals per sào.

Hợp said that authorities and agencies would help local people to fully make use of irrigation project.

They also planned to help people switch to growing vegetables and fruit trees suitable to local soil, climate and farming conditions to increase the efficiency of land use in the area, Hợp said.

Nguyễn Hồng Hà, Secretary of Chư Sê District Party Committee, said that the district built a plan and arranged resources to help Ayun commune meet standards of a new rural area in 2023.

Particularly for the Pleikeo irrigation project, Gia Lai province has arranged a medium-term capital source for further investment in the second phase, which is expected to start in 2023 and will be deployed, expanding the remaining 300 hectares of irrigation area. 

Vietnam strives to promote tourism in RoK market

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism has co-operated alongside several other localities to attend Busan-ASEAN Week 2021, which opened with the theme of “The colorful fragrance of ASEAN' at the Busan Cinema Center in the Republic of Korea (RoK).

During the event, several images of renowned local destinations in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Bac Ninh, Da Lat, and Vung Tau were introduced to foreign visitors at a booth of the Tourism Promotion Organization for Asia Pacific Cities (TPO).

Some of the activities being held at the event include displaying a map of Vietnamese tourist destinations, screening tourism promotional videos, and several quiz games.

Furthermore, banners introducing "TPO Photo & Video Contest" hosted by Ho Chi Minh City and Da Lat city are also on display at the function.

Moreover, the Tourism Department of Da Nang city has also co-operated with other localities, including Quang Binh, Thua Thien-Hue, and Quang Na to hold a webinar aimed at promoting tourism to the Korean market.

The occasion drew the participation of Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Nguyen Vu Tung, Korean Consul General in Da Nang city Ahn Min Sik, in addition to over 160 delegates representing travel agents and businesses of both sides, including 80 from the RoK.

Through the seminar, many Korean travel partners have expressed their desire to organise charter flights and closed tours for their customers during the peak tourism season which will be at the end of the year and the New Year holidays.

Vietnam – Russia ties a model in world diplomatic practice


Russian scholars have commented on achievements made by Vietnam and Russia since the two countries established their strategic partnership two decades ago and comprehensive strategic partnership nearly a decade ago, as well as prospects of bilateral ties in the next period, during interviews granted to the Vietnam News Agency's reporter in Moscow ahead of the Russia visit by President Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Prof. Dr. Vladimir Kolotov, from the Saint Petersburg State University, said the Vietnam – Russia comprehensive strategic partnership is an inevitable result of long-term and effective exchanges and cooperation between the two countries, starting in the 1920s when Nguyen Ai Quoc – Ho Chi Minh arrived in Leningrad city (Soviet Union), now Saint Petersburg, for the first time.

When comparing with the strictest standards in the world diplomatic practice, mutual trust between Vietnam and Russia has still been at the highest level, he said, adding that the two nations have not had profound differences in their approaches to dealing with major global issues. In case of arising problems, they conducted objective analyses and gradually removed barriers to move forward. In the world diplomatic practices, it is the best solution to addressing such matters, according to the scholar.

Kolotov also highlighted achievements in bilateral military technology and energy cooperation over the past two decades, notably the establishment of the Vietnam – Russia Tropical Centre in 1988 and the Ho Chi Minh Institute in Saint Petersburg in 2010.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, high-level meetings between Vietnam and Russia have still been maintained regularly. They are also ready to help each other when necessary, evidenced by Vietnam’s donation of masks and protective suits to Russia to help it overcome the first pandemic wave. Not long after Sputnik V vaccine was registered in Russia, Vietnam was chosen to build the first Sputnik V vaccine production factory in Southeast Asia, he said.

Sharing the same view, Chairman of the Council of Experts of the Eurasian Research Fund Grigory Trofimchuk said Vietnam has proved itself as one of the main pillars in the fight against COVID-19 in Asia. With the gradual reopening of tourist sites to foreigners, he and other Russian people expect to return to Vietnam soon.

According to the expert, Russian leaders affirmed many times that Vietnam is one of the important countries in Asia and Southeast Asia in particular. He expressed his belief that the bilateral long-standing friendship will contribute to dealing with important political matters in the region, including the East Sea issue.

Russian experts shared the view that President Phuc's visit will mark an important milestone in bilateral relations, affording Russian people a chance to understand more about Vietnam today./.

Vietnam-RoK fashion exchange celebrates diplomatic ties

The third Korea-Vietnam Fashion Festival Awards (KVFFA) was held on November 28 in Seoul (the Republic of Korea - RoK) in order to mark the 29th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Ambassador Tung (second from left) joins representatives of the organisation committee to present an award to Dao Thi Ngoc as the winner of the Korea-Vietnam Fashion Festival Awards (KVFFA).

The highlight of the event was a show featuring Ao Dai, the traditional Vietnamese long dress, and the RoK’s hanbok which aimed to introduce the culture of each country to the wider world.

Audiences were also enthralled by performances made by both local and Korean artists.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the RoK Nguyen Vu Tung stated this marked the second time the Korea-Vietnam Fashion Festival Awards (KVFFA) had taken place both virtually and physically due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event serves to promote cultural exchanges and strengthen mutual understanding between the Vietnamese community and local people of the RoK.

Meanwhile, Ly Xuong Can (or Lee Chang-kun in Korean), the Vietnamese tourism ambassador to the RoK, stressed that the large-scale event symbolised the friendship and close relations between the two peoples.

The fashion exchanged also shows that people of the two countries have gradually returned to their normal lives, he noted.

Bamboo Airways brings first foreign visitors back to Khanh Hoa

A Bamboo Airways flight carrying 43 vaccinated passengers from Seoul (the Republic of Korea) arrived at Cam Ranh Ran International Airport in Khanh HOa province on November 25.

This was the first flight bringing foreign visitors with vaccine passports to Khanh Hoa after nearly two years. The visitors bear American and Canadian citizenships.

Upon arrival, the visitors were transferred to a designated hotel they had earlier booked for a seven-day package tour. They were required to make a health declaration and undergo a COVID-19 test.

Khanh Hoa is one of the five localities in Vietnam that have received the Prime Minister’s permission to welcome back foreign visitors on a trial basis. The other four localities are Quang Nam, Da Nang, Kien Giang and Quang Ninh.

To visit Vietnam this time, the visitors are required to have a vaccine passport and have a negative COVID-19 test at least 72 hours before their departure.

Vietnam had closed its skies to air travel since late 2020 to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The Prime Minister recently allowed the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism to implement a pilot scheme in five localities to receive back foreign visitors.

Last week Vietnam welcomed first groups of foreign visitors to Quang Nam and Kien Giang provinces.

Appeal trial opens for former leader of HCM City

The High-Level People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City opened an trial for defendants who filed appeals in a case related to wrongdoings in the transfer of “golden land plot” at No.8-12 Le Duan street in District 1. 

The defendants include former Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Tai, Chairwoman of the Hoa Thang Nam (Mayflower) One-Member Limited Company and the Lavenue Investment Joint Stock Company Le Thi Thu Thuy, former Director of the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment Dao Anh Kiet, former deputy head of the department’s land management section Truong Van Ut, and former Secretary of the District 2’s Party Committee Nguyen Hoai Nam.

According to the indictment of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, the land plot has a total area of over 4,800 sq m, which is owned by the State and assigned to the HCM City Housing Management and Trading Company for management and leasing. On November 20, 2007, the municipal People’s Committee approved the construction of a hotel and part of a commercial centre in accordance with the Decision No 09/2007/QD-TTg.

As he was in a relationship with defendant Le Thi Thu Thuy, Tai directed Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, who served as Director of the HCM City Housing Management and Trading Company and is currently wanted, as well as Kiet, Nam, and Ut, to commit several violations of regulations.

They intentionally changed the investment policy to allow private companies to contribute capital to implement the project, and decided to lease out the land at 8-12 Le Duan without competitive bidding.

The indictment said that Tai must bear the primary responsibility, as he instructed and signed many illegal documents to shift the ownership of the land plot from the State to a private company, thus causing major losses to the State. Thuy was Tai’s accomplice and incited him to sign the illegal documents, while Kiet, Nam, and Ut followed Tai’s directions to propose the municipal People’s Committee approve incorrect recommendations.

At the trial by the municipal People’s Court in September 2020, Tai was sentenced to eight years in prison, Le Thi Thanh Thuy five years, Kiet five year, Nam four years and Ut three years behind bar, on charges of “violating regulations on the management and use of State assets, causing losses and wastefulness”.

The appeal trial will last till December 1./.

Cold spell to hit North, cause rains in central, southern regions 

The northern region of Vietnam is predicted to experience a fresh cold spell from November 28 to December 8, according to the National Centre for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting.

It is forecast to cause the temperature nationwide to be 0.5 – 1 degrees Celsius lower than the annual average, especially in the northern mountainous region.

It will also trigger moderate to heavy rains in the central and southern regions, even over 500mm in certain areas.

In the capital city of Hanoi, the temperature is forecast to drop at night and early morning, with days from November 30 to December 8 seeing the lowest temperature./.

VNA wins big at 7th National External Information Service Awards

The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) won a total of 20 prizes, including one special prize shared with two other agencies, four first, one second, seven third and seven consolation prizes, at the 7th National External Information Service Awards presentation ceremony in Hanoi on November 28 night.

With these prizes, VNA became one of the units that have secured the largest number of prizes in the National External Information Service Awards for consecutive years.

Co-organised by the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Information and Education and the Central Steering Committee for External Information Service, the event honoured 102 best entries, including one special, 10 first, 19 second, 29 third and 43 consolation prizes.

It also marked the 10th year of implementing the Politburo’s Conclusion No.16-KL/TW on the external information development strategy for the 2011-2020 period. Over the past decade, external information has made positive contributions to the country’s information and education work as well as the Party and State’s achievements in external affairs.

This year, the organising board received over 1,000 entries in 14 languages which were published as articles in print and online newspapers, websites licensed by competent agencies, radio and TV broadcast, press and landscape photos, and books.

Notably, foreign authors and press agencies, overseas Vietnamese and Vietnamese embassies abroad also sent works to the arwards.

Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh described external information as an important part of the Party’s external affairs, State and people-to-people diplomacy, and ideological affairs. Its core role is to bring Vietnam to the world and the world closer to Vietnam, he said.

The PM requested renewing the external information work by adopting advanced technologies to improve quality, thus ensuring correctness, timeliness, attractiveness, relevance and efficiency in multiple languages.

He presented certificates to a group of authors winning the special prize, including the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the VNA and those participating in the external information work, for their work on introducing and popularising Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong article entitled “Several theoretical and practical issues on socialism and the path towards socialism in Vietnam” to political parties and international friends./.

President appreciates WHO's coordinating role in global health issues

Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc spoke highly of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s coordinating role in addressing global health issues during a meeting with Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghegreyesus at WHO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 28.

The meeting also saw the presence of Seth Berkley, CEO of the Vaccine Alliance (GAVI), and Aurélia Nguyen, Managing Director of the COVAX Facility.

President Phuc said WHO has set healthcare standards and guidelines and provided technical support for countries in responding to public health emergencies and building capacity in coping with pandemics.

The President voiced his support for the COVAX Facility and its operators, including WHO and GAVI, in promoting equitable and timely access to COVID-19 vaccines globally. He also took the occasion to announce that Vietnam will contribute an additional 500,000 USD to the COVAX Facility, raising its total voluntary donation to the vaccine-sharing scheme to 1 million USD.

He proposed WHO, GAVI and COVAX Facility to help Vietnam enhance the capacity of its healthcare system and immunization while seeking their support for Vietnam to become a hub for m-RNA vaccine technology transfer and a vaccine production base for the Western Pacific region.

The Vietnamese leader also expected WHO to offer technical assistance for Vietnam’s home-grown COVID-19 vaccine Nano Covax to join its global clinical trial programme./.

President’s Russia visit hoped to deepen bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Russia from November 29 to December 2, which will be made at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin, is expected to deepen the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership.

The bilateral political relationship has been continuously consolidated, reflected through the regular exchange of high-level delegations.

Despite serious impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, bilateral meetings have been maintained, notably phone talks between Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Putin in April 2021, between President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and President Putin in September 2021, and between National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia Valentina Matvienko in June 2021, and an official visit to Russia by Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son in September 2021.

The two sides have also maintained many coordination and dialogue mechanisms such as the annual Diplomatic-Defence-Security Strategic Dialogue at the permanent deputy foreign ministerial level, and the Defence Strategic Dialogue at the deputy defence ministerial level, and regular political consultations at the deputy foreign ministerial level.

The two sides have closely coordinated and supported each other at international forums such as the United Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Asia–Europe Meeting (ASEM).

Russia supports Vietnam’s stance on settling disputes in the East Sea via peaceful means, without using force or threatening to use force, on the basis of international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and working towards the early completion of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Economic and trade cooperation between the two countries has also been developed dynamically in recent years. Two-way trade reached 4.85 billion USD in 2020, up 9 percent year-on-year. It hit 3.6 billion USD in the first nine months of this year, up 5 percent against the same period of 2020.

As of April 2021, Russian had ranked 25th among countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 144 projects worth 944 million USD. Meanwhile, Vietnam had invested in over 20 projects worth nearly 3 billion USD in Russia.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Dang Minh Khoi said that President Phuc's visit is of great significance, helping to deepen the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership in all fields. The visit also shows that Vietnam has actively implemented its foreign policy after the 13th National Party Congress in the spirit of independence, self-reliance, diversification and multilateralisation, for the sake of the nation, and contributing to peace and stability in the world.

Russian Ambassador to Vietnam Gennady Bezdetko affirmed that President Phuc's visit is one of the important highlights in the bilateral agenda for 2021, which is expected to bring a new impetus to promote the Russia-Vietnam comprehensive strategic partnership in many fields./.

Russian newspaper highlights Vietnam-Russia fruitful relations

The Vietnam - Russia comprehensive strategic partnership, and the significance of Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc's visit to Russia from November 29 to December 2, was highlighted in an article published on Russia's Independent newspaper on November 28.

The article written by Grigory Trofimchuk, an expert on international affairs, affirmed that Vietnam is a reliable partner of Russia not only in the period of the former Soviet Union but also at present.

The trust in the bilateral relationship was once again affirmed in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, when Vietnam was one of the first countries in the world that approved Russia’s vaccine, he wrote, noting that in August 2021, the first batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine was successfully produced in Vietnam.

The article stressed that that the belief in Russia and Russian people has been infiltrated in the blood of Vietnamese people.

Russia and Vietnam has shared the same opinion on many international issues. Notably, both countries support the multipolar world order, including the principle of resolving major conflicts in the world via peaceful diplomatic measures on the basis of respect for international law, it said.

The author highly valued Vietnam's increasing role and position in the international arena, saying that the Southeast Asian nation is now a leading member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and an outstanding member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and a host of other influential organisations.

The article affirmed that Vietnam is one of the important driving forces of the Asia-Pacific region, which is considered the centre of global economic and finance growth.

Regarding President Phuc's visit to Russia, Trofimchuk stated that in the eyes of foreign observers, especially Russian experts and scholars, the Vietnamese leader has shown himself to be an energetic and sincere person with gentle smiles.

The Russian Presidential Press Office’s statement said that during phone talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Nguyen Xuan Phuc before the visit, the two leaders agreed to further develop the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

Through its flourishing cooperation relations with Vietnam, Russia will show more clearly its role in Asia – Pacific, an important region of the world, and engage more actively in strengthening security in Asia, including energy security, the article concluded./.

US proposes in-person summit with ASEAN in January 2022

The US is planning to host an in-person summit between US President Joe Biden and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries in Washington in January 2022.

ASEAN sources have said that the US has proposed holding the summit in the third week of January and is discussing the date with ASEAN members.

Ahead of the summit, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to visit some of the ASEAN countries, including Indonesia and Thailand, in December.

The summit would be the first face-to-face meeting between Biden and ASEAN leaders since he took office in January this year.

During the virtual ASEAN-US summit held in late October, President Biden said that the US will provide 102 million USD to support ASEAN’s efforts in coping with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other issues./.

France aids Vietnam with some 1.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Vietnam received about 1.4 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine aided by France on November 27 and 28, bringing the total doses offered by the European donor to more than 2 million.

The freshly received vaccine, consisting of 400,000 doses via the bilateral diplomatic channel and nearly 1 million doses via the COVAX Facility, was the result of Vietnam’s vaccine diplomacy efforts and of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s official visit to France in November.

The assistance of the French Government and people to Vietnam amid complicated developments of COVID-19 is of important significance. It is a vivid evidence for the strategic partnership between the two countries and affirms their mutual cooperation and support in pandemic prevention and control.

Vietnam hopes France will continue its vaccine aid for and cooperate with Vietnam in the production and technological transfer of COVID-19 vaccines and treatment drugs, as well as assist Vietnam regarding related medical equipment and supplies. The sides should work together in putting forth creative collaboration measures and orientations for their early adaptation to post-pandemic conditions and gradual recovery of socio-economic activities.

According the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the country has so far donated 67 million doses of vaccines to more than 45 countries through the COVAX Facility, becoming the second biggest donor after the US./.

Bạc Liêu fishermen hit by high costs of fuel, others

Many fishing boats in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Bạc Liêu earn little money or are even losing because of the increases in fuel prices and other expenses.

With a coastline of 56km with four large rivers running into the sea, Sóc Trăng has nearly 400, of fishing grounds with a number of aquatic species.

It has more than 1,200 fishing boats which catch more than 100,000 tonnes of seafood annually, with Đông Hải District accounting for 600 vessels, the highest number.

Đặng Quốc Thùy, a boat owner in Đông Hải’s Gành Hào Town, said the cost of his latest fishing trip was VNĐ60 million (US$2,600) higher than before, VNĐ50 million for fuel and the rest for food and testing his crew for COVID–19.

He earned nothing from it, he said.

Together with a fall in seafood prices and demand volatility amid the travel restrictions, the increased costs have caused many boat owners to stop fishing.

Nguyễn Hồng Quang, another boat owner in Gành Hào Town, said the fuel costs for a one-month fishing trip by a high-capacity boat has increased by VNĐ40–70 million ($1,760–3,100).

Nearly 70 per cent of boats in Đông Hải have stopped fishing, according to the district Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The district targeted a catch of 70,000 tonnes this year, but that would be difficult to achieve in the current situation, it said.

Phạm Thanh Hải, deputy director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the current difficulties are temporary and not all fishing boats are suffering losses.

To resolve the difficulties, the department has encouraged fishermen to form more groups to reduce costs and improve their efficiency.

The province has 81 such groups now with a total of 408 fishing boats and 3,000 fishermen.

Forming groups has helped improve efficiency by enabling boats to remain at sea for longer periods and assist those having mishaps.

The province encourages fishermen to acquire high-capacity boats for off-shore fishing, switch to catching high-value species and use advanced technologies for preserving their catch to improve quality and reduce losses.




Japan donates additional 1.5 mln COVID-19 vaccine doses to Viet Nam


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