Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and a high-ranking Government delegation of Vietnam arrived in Vientiane on April 4 evening to attend the fourth Mekong River Commission (MRC) Summit slated for the next day.

His attendance is made at the invitation of Lao PM Sonexay Siphandone.

PM Chinh is scheduled to deliver an important speech at the summit’s plenary session.

Besides, he will hold bilateral and multilateral meetings with officials from MRC member states.

The summit, themed “'Innovation and Cooperation for a Water Secure and Sustainable Mekong”, will be attended by the Prime Ministers of the MRC member countries – Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, and representatives of the MRC’s dialogue partners – China and Myanmar, its 12 development partners, and international organisations within and outside the Mekong region.

PM Chinh’s attendance at the summit demonstrates Vietnam’s political commitment and role to the MRC’s activities. The country has actively participated in MRC’s activities at all levels and forums across all fields.

Public Security Minister meets Japanese officials to discuss cooperation

Minister of Public Security Gen. To Lam met with Japanese Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Matsumoto Takeaki, Minister of Justice Saito Ken, and State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Toyoda Toshihiro in Tokyo on April 4.

Talking to Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Matsumoto Takeaki, Minister Lam, who was on a visit to Japan, said on the basis of the two countries’ extensive strategic partnership, the Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam (MPS) and relevant agencies of Japan have maintained relations and carried out some practical and effective cooperation activities.

He said he hopes the two sides will enhance cooperation in improving the disaster response capacity while increasing the exchange of information and experience in the state management of fire prevention and control, rescue, and disaster response.

Lam also asked for the consideration of joint disaster response exercises on complex terrains and on a large scale, along with the sharing of experience in resident data management, digital transformation, and administrative reform.

Minister Matsumoto highly valued his guest’s visit, which he described as a contribution to the Japan - Vietnam extensive strategic partnership.

At the meeting with Saito Ken, Lam noted the MPS and the Japanese Justice Ministry have gradually expanded cooperation and obtained some outcomes as seen in the signing of an agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons which took effect on August 19, 2020.

To strengthen bilateral ties, especially in implementing the signed deals, he called on Saito to promote the sharing of information and experience in crime fight, human rights protection, and management of foreigners, exit and entry, and prisons; and help guarantee the rights and legitimate interests of Vietnamese citizens in Japan. He also asked the two ministries to work closely together in preventing Vietnamese and Japanese nationals from committing law violations in each other’s countries.

The Vietnamese official affirmed the MPS’s close coordination with and support for Japan to successfully organise the ASEAN - Japan justice ministers’ meeting in 2023.

Saito emphasised that Japan always attaches importance to relations with Vietnam, expressing his hope that the two ministries’ partnership will be further reinforced to help intensify the two countries’ ties.

He also agreed with the Vietnamese side's proposals and affirmed that he will direct relevant agencies to step up cooperation activities such as sharing experience, organising mutual visits, and holding joint exercises.

The same day, Minister Lam had a working session with State Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Toyoda Toshihiro. The event was also attended by Commandant of the Japan Coast Guard Ishii Shohei.

Lam suggested the two sides consider establishing cooperative ties, exchange experience, and coordinate in personnel training.

He also suggested the two sides boost sharing information and experience in law enforcement at sea, crime fight, traffic control, search, rescue, and disaster response in inland waterway and coastal areas.

Toyoda pledged to coordinate closely with Vietnam in the fields of common concern.

Also on April 4, the MPS delegation had a meeting with the Japan - Vietnam Parliamentary Friendship Alliance. The event saw the presence of former Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide.

Earlier, Minister Lam met with head of the Fire and Disaster Management Agency of Japan Maeda Kazuhiro to discuss cooperation issues.

Vietnam highlights right to use nuclear energy, outer space for peaceful purposes

Minister Counselor Le Thi Minh Thoa, Deputy Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations (UN), has emphasised the need to support all the three pillars of the nuclear issue, namely disarmament, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Addressing the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC)’s annual session on the nuclear weapons and outer space opened on April 4 in New York, Thoa called on countries to fully implement the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and soon sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

She stated that it is necessary to further uphold the principles of disarmament that were agreed upon at the UN General Assembly’s first special session on disarmament - an important foundation for the goal of complete and thorough disarmament.

As a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Board of Governors, Vietnam is actively promoting the application of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, and ensuring nuclear safety and security, Thoa said.

Vietnam will co-host a workshop of the ASEAN Regional Forum on this field in Hanoi in late April, she added.

Regarding the use of the outer space, Thoa stressed that access to the outer space is an inalienable right of all countries in the world, regardless of their development level. The exploration and use of the outer space must serve peaceful purposes and the benefit of humanity, in accordance with basic principles of international law and the UN Charter.

Speaking at the session, which will last until April 21, UN Under-Secretary-General of Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu voiced concern over the increasing nuclear risks that have not been seen since the Cold War, as well as the growing serious challenges to the safety and security of activities beyond the outer space.

She called for an easing in escalating tensions and the promotion of dialogue, and urged countries to actively discuss and provide specific recommendations and solutions to these issues.

Vietnamese, Chinese prime ministers agree on measures to foster bilateral ties

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Chinese Premier Li Qiang agreed on cooperation orientations between the two countries in the time ahead, during their phone talks on April 4.

The leaders consented to step up exchanges, coordination and efforts to advance the bilateral relations to a new development period, pledging to will direct ministries and localities in their respective countries to realise major common perceptions reached by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and Party General Secretary and President of China Xi Jinping, particularly the joint statement on continuing to enhance and deepen the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership issued in November 2022.

The two sides will also increase all-level contacts and strengthen cooperation in various fields, especially in economy and trade links, while intensifying friendship between localities and people's organisations.

They will maintain the friendly cooperation mechanism between the ministries of national defence, and the ministries of public security of the two countries, continue to implement the three legal documents on land border issues, timely discuss and handle emerging issues in joint efforts to build a shared border of peace, stability, cooperation and development.

PM Chinh suggested the two sides actively study measures to maintain smooth trade, raise the capacity and efficiency of customs clearance, and strengthen connectivity of road, rail, sea, and air infrastructure.

He also proposed China continue facilitating trade, expand the import of goods, accelerate market opening for Vietnamese agricultural products, increase the quota for Vietnamese goods transiting through its railway to a third country and create favourable conditions for Vietnam to open more trade promotion offices in China. 

The Vietnamese PM welcomed China’s investment in large-scale, high-quality, and new technology projects in Vietnam, saying the two sides should work harder to remove prolonged problems in some cooperation projects such as the second-phase expansion of the Thai Nguyen iron and steel plant, effectively cooperate in tourism and make greater efforts to promote people-to-people cooperation and exchanges.

PM Li expressed his appreciation and agreement with PM Chinh's suggestions regarding cooperation areas, and affirmed that China supports Vietnam's cause of national industrialisation and modernisation, and raising of its international role.

China stands ready to open its market to Vietnamese goods, especially agricultural products, and to cooperate with Vietnam in resolving the stagnant cooperation projects, the Chinese government leader said. 

He suggested the two sides strengthen strategic connectivity and assist each other in transport infrastructure connectivity, foster cooperation in economy, trade and investment, particularly in manufacturing and agriculture, and work together to maintain supply and production chains.

Li also affirmed that China will promote people-to-people exchange, facilitate travel of citizens of the two countries, and restore tourism cooperation.

Both noted with pleasure positive developments in the relations between the two Parties and countries over the recent past, especially after the visit to China by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in late October 2022, and shared the view that the relations are entering a new development phase with many opportunities and advantages.  

PM Chinh congratulated the Chinese side on the successes of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2022 and the first session of the 14th National People's Congress in March 2023, and congratulated Li on his election as Premier of the State Council of China.

He wished China greater successes in the journey to build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful, with an increasingly high international status and active contributions to peace, cooperation, and development in the region and the world.

Both held that the traditional friendship that is both "comradeship and brotherhood" between Vietnam and China, founded and nurtured by President Ho Chi Minh, Chairman Mao Zedong, and generations of leaders of the two countries, is a precious asset shared by the two Parties and two countries, and it needs to be constantly inherited, protected, and promoted.

They stressed the importance of the bilateral relationship for the development of each country as well as for peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the region and the world at large.

Regarding maritime issues, both sides concurred to make joint efforts to maintain peace and stability, and settle the issues satisfactorily in the spirit of high-level common perceptions and the Agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues between Vietnam and China.

PM Chinh stressed that the two sides should effectively utilise negotiation mechanisms on demarcation and cooperation at sea, strive for progress in a step-by-step manner, settle disputes and disagreements through peaceful means in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and strive to build a substantive, effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in line with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

Night of Vietnamese Pho held in Israel

A “Night of Pho” event was held in Or Yehuda city, Israel, on April 4, introducing Vietnam’s noodle soup to local people.

Ambassador Ly Duc Trung said that diners invited to try the signature food are those who know and love the country, people and cuisine of Vietnam, many of them local chefs and restaurant owners.

He expressed his hope that through events like this, the attractiveness of the food will spread more to international friends.

The event is part of a series of activities of the Food Lovers’ Association of the Ambassadors' Club of Israel, on the occasion of the 75th Independence Day of Israel, and towards the 30th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Israel (1993-2023).

Pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup sold on almost all street corners in Vietnam, has found itself in the 34th place on a list of the 100 most popular dishes in the world compiled by international food magazine TasteAtlas.

Japanese pottery exhibition opens in Hanoi

Japanese pottery exhibition opens in Hanoi hinh anh 1
A visitor learn about Japanese pottery products at the exhibition. (Photo: VNA)

A Japanese pottery exhibition themed “Yakishime - Earth Metamorphosis” opened at the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum in Hanoi on April 4.

The exhibition jointly organised by the Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam and the museum  is among the activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Vietnam-Japan diplomatic relationship.

The exhibition, which runs until April 20, introduces the ceramics technique yakishime which fires unglazed wares at high temperatures. One of the most basic means of producing ceramics, Yakishime has been developed in numerous distinctive directions in Japan.

The display aims to introduce local people to Japanese culture by examining Yakishime from the earliest examples to contemporary works.

Yakishime dates back to the fourth or fifth century. However, it was not until the 12th century through to the 17th century that the technique became firmly established and was used in a significant portion of the production of major ceramic centres in Japan, including Bizen, Shigaraki, and Tokoname.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Nguyen Anh Minh, Director of the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum emphasised that Japanese culture in general and Japanese ceramic culture in particular have always been a topic of interest and attraction to the public in Vietnam.

Doi Katsuma, Director of the Japan Cultural Exchange Centre in Vietnam, said that it is hoped that through experiencing Yakishime ceramic products, the Vietnamese public will know more about the diversity and creativity of Japanese culture.

Remains of 20 fallen soldiers found in a hamlet in Binh Phuoc

A working team of the Military Command of the southern province of Binh Phuoc on April 4 discovered the remains of seven war martyrs in Phu Lac hamlet, Thanh Phu commune, Binh Long town, bringing the total number of sets of remains of war martyrs found in the hamlet to 20.

After receiving information from local residents, functional forces unearthed graves with many bones and objects.

Previously, from March 16-24, the search unit found 13 sets of remains of fallen soldiers also in the commune.

According to locals, the soldiers were possibly died in 1972 and brought to the locality for burial by their comrades. None of the remains have been identified so far.  The search force is continuing to expand the search area.

In 1981, functional forces also discovered nine sets of war martyrs in the hamlet.

The province is calling for war veterans who fought in the town's battlefield to provide information to identify the remains through hotlines of Binh Long Town Military Command at 974111315 and 0974700778.

British NGOs propose ideas for Vietnam’s socio-economic development

A symposium was held in London on April 3 to discuss how British non-governmental organisations (NGO) that are operating in Vietnam can support the country’s socio-economic development.

Representatives of the NGOs gave proposals on measures to assist Vietnam’s socio-economic expansion process, especially in the fields of health care, science-technology, climate change, support to poor communities and ethnic minority groups, as well as women and girls’ empowerment. They also asked for more favourable conditions for their operations.

Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Hoang Long hailed the contributions from NGOs in general and those from the UK in particular to Vietnam’s development, affirming that the Vietnamese Embassy is ready to connect and support British NGOs during their operations in Vietnam.

Peter Lidgard, President of Medical & Scientific Aid for Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (MSAVLC) thanked Vietnamese agencies and partners for supporting the organisation’s activities. The great assistance, along with the courage, openness, honesty, friendliness and tolerance of Vietnamese people are a driving force for MSAVLC, which was established in 1965 to provide medicine and medical equipment for Vietnam, to continue to work in the country even though the war had ended for many years.

Srikaran Srivivekanandarajah from Phan International said that one of the difficulties the organisation is encountering in Vietnam is the prolonged approval process for new aid projects, affecting the implementation of its time-limited projects.

Srivivekanandarajah said that global challenges such as climate change and economic crisis have increasing impacts on lower-middle-income countries and Vietnam is not an exception, pointing out that inequality is affecting vulnerable groups, especially young people suffering poverty, human trafficking and gender-based violence. This is a challenge that Plan International is working to address, he said.

Meanwhile, Olivia Hearn, CEO of Christian Noble Chidren’s Foundation, said that although Vietnam has made great achievements in poverty reduction, the country is facing many challenges, especially the engagement of youngsters in the process.

She suggested Vietnam promote efforts to support the poor and ethnic minority communities in accessing education and health care services to improve their living conditions.

Elizabeth Wells from Cherie Blair Foundation for Women said that it is necessary to strengthen coordination between Vietnam and the UK, especially British organisations and businesses operating in Vietnam to meet the needs of the communities.

At the event, held within the framework of the Vietnam Days in London from March 28 to April 27 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam-UK diplomatic relations, Ambassador Long presented the British NGOs certificates in recognition of their contributions to Vietnam’s development.

Former Chilean leader talks about gender equality with Vietnamese diplomats, students

Former President of Chile Michelle Bachelet Jeria, who is also former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former Executive Director of UN Women, met with female diplomats and students of Vietnam on April 3 to talk about the role of women leaders in multilateral organisations along with diplomatic, political, and social activities.

The meeting, held by the Hanoi-based Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and UN Women Vietnam, was part of a working visit by Bachelet and a Chilean delegation on the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties (March 25, 1971 - 2023). It also saw the presence of President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Nguyen Phuong Nga and Country Representative of UN Women Vietnam Elisa Fernandez.

Bachelet underlined the important role of gender equality in all political and social activities, noting that it is necessary to make a change to the conception of men’s and women’s roles and consider this as one of the important factors in improving women’s role in the society of a country and the international arena.

She also stressed the need to form a network connecting women leaders and cadres of organisations, agencies, and countries so as to strengthen mutual support and assistance.

She and other guests shared real stories and experiences in their political and social careers, inspiring the women working in the diplomatic sector along with students.

Appreciating Bachelet’s dedication to the progress of women worldwide, Acting Director of the Diplomatic Academy Pham Lan Dung and Fernandez expressed their hope that she will continue to be an example and a source of inspiration for generations of women around the globe.

They added that they hope via similar activities, women’s role and position, women affairs, and gender equality will be further promoted.

Vietnam, Laos intensify cooperation between women’s unions

A delegation of the Vietnam Women’s Union (VWU) led by its President Ha Thi Nga paid a courtesy visit to Lao Vice President Pany Yathotou in Vientiane on April 4.

Ha thanked the Lao Party and State leaders, including Pany Yathotou personally, for creating favourable conditions for and supporting the two countries’ women; hoping to continue receiving directions and assistance so that the two unions can effectively implement their cooperation agreement for the 2023-2027 period.

Informing the host on the outcomes of the talks between the two women’s unions as well as their cooperation over the past years, she affirmed that the unions will continue strengthening collaboration and supporting each other for development.

Pany Yathotou said that the two unions, in addition to well implementing the signed agreement, should create conditions for the women's associations in border provinces to increase the sharing of experience in economic and tourism development.

As Vietnamese women have many diverse and successful economic business models, the Lao Vice President expressed her wish that the VWU will continue to intensify and expand cooperation to provide training for women at the district and provincial levels so that Lao women not only make progress in their work, but also know how to do business for a better life.

Earlier the same day, the VWU delegation held talks with a delegation from the Laos Women’s Union led by its President Inlavan Keobounphan.

In the afternoon, a ceremony is scheduled to be held to present orders and medals of the Lao Party and State to VWU individuals and collectives for their outstanding achievements.

Vietnam proposes Mekong River Commission reform operational methods

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Le Cong Thanh suggested the Mekong River Commission (MRC) focus on practical measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of residents who live on the river’s water resources, while addressing a ministers’ meeting in Vientiane, Laos, on April 4.

The meeting took place in preparation for the 4th MRC Summit with the attendance of representatives from member countries, namely Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, the dialogue partners of China and Myanmar, development partners, and regional and international organisations.

Thanh proposed the commission take measures to help people effectively respond to emergencies caused by natural disasters and pandemics, and ensure that water use, both in the mainstream and tributaries of the Mekong River, is put under thorough consideration, not impacting its natural flow as well as development towards stability, safety, and security for riverside communities, regardless of their nations.

He also urged the commission to reform its operational methods, turning itself into a regional centre of knowledge, and provide information, data, and knowledge about the basin, along with consultations for stakeholders and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms in a timely manner.

The commission should build a real-time data sharing system for water facilities, and improve the quality of flood and drought forecasting and warning services, he continued.

The member countries agreed on the Vientiane Declaration, to be submitted to the MRC Summit on April 5. They highly valued the implementation of the Siem Reap Declaration adopted in 2018. It identified challenges, opportunities, orientations and solutions to fruitfully materialise the 1995 Mekong agreement in the coming time.

They suggested the commission revamp methods of cross-border cooperation, information and data sharing, consultancy and monitoring over the Mekong River.

Ambassador Ke Yousheng, Permanent Representative of China to the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), highlighted cooperation between the commission and the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation in joint research on the Mekong River’s flow and sharing hydrological information, affirming China’s commitment to continuing its cooperation with the commission in the future.

The participating development partners also pledged to continue working with the commission to successfully achieve strategic goals, enabling the commission to carry out key activities by 2030.

SEA Games 32: Record number of teams joins female football event

Nine out of 11 participating countries, except Brunei and Timor Leste, will send female football squads to participate at the upcoming 32nd SEA Games 2023 in Cambodia, a record number in the history of the category, announced the organising board.

Since women's football was included in the regional tournament in 1995, the maximum number of participating teams was seven as recorded at its 2001, 2003, and 2022 editions.          

Strong candidates for the gold medal this year are Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar.

In the male’s football event, Brunei are the only one not participating.

A draw ceremony for the two categories is slated to take place on April 5 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Cambodia is going to host the 32nd SEA Games from May 5 to 17, with 37 sports listed.

Italian classical opera set to enthrall Hanoi audiences

Local audiences will have the chance to view one of the world’s most time-honoured classical opera "Cavalleria Rusticana" at the Hanoi Opera House, with the show running on April 15 and April 16.

“Cavalleria Rusticana”, a small village on the island of Sicily, represents a classical opera about love, betrayal, and revenge.

The inner struggles of ordinary people caught up in a whirlpool of passion and jealousy are shown through the relationship between the characters Turiddu, Lola, Alfio, and Santuzza.

Artist Fan Ting, who has more than 40 years of experience working as a concert master and violin conductor in Hong Kong (China), will once again return to take on the role of conductor and orchestra with influential artists from both at home and abroad.

Most notably, the male lead Turiddu is to be played by Giovanni Maria Palmia, a tenor vocal from Italy with a voice that is renowned for conquering prestigious Opera competitions such as Concorso Lirico Internazionale Crescendi.

Cindy Leung, who has been involved in directing high-class operas for decades, will join in the show in the role of general director.

The performance co-organised by the Saigon Philharmonic Orchestra, Vietnam National Opera Ballet Theatre, and the Italian Embassy aims to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Vietnam-Italy diplomatic relations.

This comes following a concert themed “Valentine Concert-From Italy with Love” which took place at the Hanoi Opera House from February 11 to February 12 to mark the establishment of joint diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Cua Lo Tourism Festival to kick off in mid-April

The 2023 Cua Lo Tourism Festival is scheduled to take place on April 14 at Binh Minh Square in the central province of Nghe An.

According to the organising board, the opening ceremony will feature a number of special art and cultural performances, along with an eye-catching fireworks display aimed at praising the beauty of the town.

A series of interesting events and competitions will also be held in the locality until the end of this month.

This year will see Cua Lo town strive to greet about 3.4 million visitors, including 1.5 million staying overnight at local accommodation facilities. The local tourism sector also aims to rake in more than VND3.5 trillion in revenue from services.

Cua Lo beach is a legendary site and is endowed with beautiful surrounding landscapes. Despite facing historical ups and downs, Cua Lo town, dubbed the green pearl of Nghe An, has become a popular marine destination in the province as well as in the country as a whole.

The town is viewed to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Vietnam by the World Tourism Organisation and has become a must-see place in the tourism map of numerous visitors thanks to both modern infrastructure and hi-end hotels and entertainment parks.

Coast guard urged to further join fight against IUU fishing

Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Sen. Lt. Gen. Tran Quang Phuong has urged the coast guard force to actively consult ministries, agencies, and localities in coordinating in the fight against illegal, unreported and undocumented (IUU) fishing.

Their efforts are expected to help speed up the removal of the EC’s “yellow card” warning against Vietnam's seafood exports, especially when an inspection team of the EC is scheduled to return to Vietnam in April to examine the country's anti-IUU fishing moves.

During his working visit to the Coast Guard high Command on April 3, Phuong said that in the coming time, National Assembly agencies will continue to study and propose amendments, supplements, and completion of a legal framework to create favourable conditions for the Coast Guard to fulfill its tasks.

Major General Le Quang Dao, Commander of the Vietnam Coast Guard, reported the force's performance of its tasks in 2022 and the first months of 2023.

Specifically, coast guard ships detected and prevented thousands of foreign fishing vessels from entering Vietnam's territorial waters. In 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, the coast guard saved six vehicles and 71 people in distress at sea and organised regular combat training as planned.

The force detected, arrested, and handled 1,256 violations with 1,548 involved people; of which 101 cases with 108 violators were prosecuted. It handled 838 administrative violations with 956 violators. The Vietnam Coast Guard coordinated with other forces to detect, handle and hand over 110 cases with 176 involved people.

Fines for administrative violations and the estimated value of confiscated exhibits reached more than 120 billion VND (5.1 million USD). The coast guard force inspected, controlled, made minutes, and sanctioned administrative violations relating to IUU fishing, collecting a total fine of over 2.9 billion VND.

Photo exhibition tells stories about life along Mekong River’s banks

The Da Nang Fine Arts Museum, in collaboration with the French Embassy and the French Institute in the central city of Da Nang, opened a photo exhibition featuring the life of people living and earning livelihoods in the Mekong River area.

The exhibition, which remains open to visitors to April 15, is among the activities in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Vietnam-France diplomatic ties, and the 10th anniversary of the bilateral strategic partnership.

On display are 28 photos by photographer Lam Duc Hien, a French Vietnamese who was born and grew up along the banks of the Mekong River in Laos.

Since childhood, Hien, born in 1966, has developed a close attachment to the river. He has travelled the river over a 4,200-km stretch, following its waters from the bustling river delta in Vietnam all the way to its source in the snow-covered Tibetan plateau.

Hien has won numerous awards, including the Leica Prize, the Great European Award of the city of Vevey, and the World Press Photo, among others.

Vietnamese gov’t tighten controls over vessel monitoring system

Although nearly 100 percent of fishing boats in Vietnam have been fitted with vessel monitoring system (VMS), there are still loss of communication between fishermen at sea and the mainland, and management agencies are still losing track of vessels.

From 2022 to 2023, 10 fishing vessels in Binh Dinh had been seized and put under surveillance for trespassing into foreign waters, said a local official. To combat this, Binh Dinh Province has made a list to monitor 318 fishing vessels that regularly operate outside the province which could commit illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU).

Quang Ngai also reported 79 fishing boats of unknown origin, the owners of which are locals but whose locations are unknown due to prolonged absence.

Meanwhile, Ba Ria - Vung Tau province in 2022 has discovered 28 fishing vessels whose VMS devices were handed over to other owners for “safe-keeping”. Another 15 were found under the same circumstances in Tien Giang province, resulting in 4 ship owners and 15 captains fined a total of over VND3.2 billion (about US$136,257).

By the end of 2022, over 86 percent of Vietnamese vessels were licensed to fish, of which more than 96 percent have been equipped with VMSs. Despite this, the mainland has lost connections with a number of them, which were later found engaging in illegal fishing activities in foreign waters, said the Directorate of Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. According to officials, this could have been caused by conflicting fining policies.

In Da Nang, Major Dang Van Dao, Head of Son Tra Border Guards have sent officers down to fishing ships to educate captains and their crews on IUU regulations.

Currently, fishermen in Quang Binh, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Da Nang and other southern provinces continue to report on VMS interruptions due to technical difficulties and lack of communications between industry leaders.

In Binh Chau Commune, Quang Ngai Province, there are about 1,700 fishermen operating 483 fishing boats (including 234 being offshore). Many of them have been subjected to VMS malfunctions, even trying to hold out to continue fishing and accepting the fines for failure to report after 10 days at sea.

Meanwhile, Quang Ngai since the beginning of 2023 has detected 5 fishing vessels that went beyond the limited bounds, with another 70 failing to report for more than 10 days. Director General of the General Department of Fisheries said they are looking into possible causes.

Fortunately, Ca Mau which has 4,310 registered fishing vessels in the Mekong Delta has not have any vessel captured in foreign territories since the beginning of 2023.

To help lift “yellow card” warnings placed by the European Commission (EC), competent agencies have been encouraging localities to properly follow vessel registration procedures, fishing license, logging requirements, VMS installation and other related matters.

It is expected that in June, the European Commission (EC) inspection team will visit Vietnam for the fourth time to check the progress on combating IUU violations after the five years that Vietnamese the seafood industry was given the “yellow card”.

HCM City, RoK foster collaboration in environmental protection

HCM City expects to cooperate with Korean businesses and partners in wastewater, solid waste and air pollution treatment, Phan Văn Mãi, chairman of the city’s People's Committee, said at a meeting held on Tuesday (March 28).

Mãi received Deputy Minister of Environment for the Republic of Korea (RoK) Kum Hang-seung during his official visit to the city.

He expects the RoK to share experiences with the city in mobilising international resources to support adaptation and prevention of disasters caused by climate change.

“The city is also willing to build a long-term cooperation with the RoK in green economy development,” he said.

The city is preparing for its strategy on circular economy, and green and sustainable growth.

It expects to learn experiences from the RoK in building policies, standards and roadmaps to achieve sustainable development goals, he said.

With the potential and its pioneering role, the RoK would lead major cities in Asia to foster sustainable economic development, build green economies, and protect the environment, he added.

Kum Hang-seung said the two countries have organised annual ministerial meetings to share relevant policies on the environment and green growth.

The RoK chose 2023 as the year of green technology growth.

It will share technologies in green development through international cooperation, contributing to green growth and sustainable development identified as one of the focuses of many countries around the world, he said.

It is strong in environmental protection such as clean water management and wastewater treatment.

He expressed that the RoK was ready to welcome delegations from the city to explore environmental protection models, share experiences in building environmental policies, and offer short-term courses to improve the quality of human resources in the city’s natural resources and environmental sector.

In addition, Korean firms proposed the city authorities create favourable conditions for them to join in wastewater treatment and environmental projects in the city, he said. 

Thua Thien-Hue approves solid waste treatment program

The government of Thua Thien-Hue Province in central Vietnam on March 28 approved a program to treat solid medical, domestic and commercial waste in the province. The VND1.9-trillion program will be carried out in two phases.

The first phase will require an estimated VND706 billion and start from now to the end of 2025. The second phase is slated to begin in 2026 and end in 2030, with a budget of more than VND1.2 trillion.

According to the program, domestic hazardous solid waste will be classified, collected, transported by special-use vehicles and processed separately.

It will also upgrade solid waste treatment plants in the province to reduce environmental pollution and close overloaded landfill sites.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s 2019 data showed that Vietnam generated around 65,000 tons of domestic waste annually, with HCMC and Hanoi City accounting for 16,000 tons.

Vietnam determined to clear UXO to free land for development

As one of countries most affected by unexploded ordnance (UXO) left over from the war, Vietnam has paid special attention to the clearance of bombs and mines in order to free land to serve socio-economic development and at the same time promote activities to support and help UXO victims.

The statement was made by Colonel Nguyen Hanh Phuc, Deputy Director of the Vietnam National Mine Action Centre (VNMAC), at a press conference providing information about the settlement of bomb and mine consequences in Vietnam in Hanoi on April 4.

It is estimated that there are still about 800,000 tonnes of bombs and mines left over from the war in Vietnam, with the contaminated area of about 6.1 million hectares, accounting for 18.31% of the country’s total area.

These unexploded bombs and mines are hidden underground in all 63 provinces and cities, with many concentrated in the central, Central Highlands and southeastern regions.

According to Phuc, it will take much time and huge resources to clear the contaminated areas to bring about a safe life for people and contribute to the nation’s sustainable development.

This year, VNMAC is collecting data to make a report reviewing the implementation of the national action programme on settlement of post-war bomb and mine consequences in the 2010-2025 period, and prepare a programme for 2025-2045, with a vision to 2050.

The centre is also building a mechanism on calling for domestic and foreign donations for this work and plans to complete and submit for approval a national strategy on education on risks of bomb and mine-related accidents.

Pham Thi Hai Ha, Deputy Director General of the Department of Social Assistance under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, said ministries, agencies and localities have actively rolled out policies to provide social assistance for UXO victims to reintegrate into the community, and educate people on UXO accident prevention. 

Essential services for the victims include orthopedics, rehabilitation, counseling, psychotherapy, physical therapy, social work, vocational training, employment services, and social welfare policies, she added.

Women’s football team arrives in Nepal for Olympic 1st qualifying round

Vietnam women’s football team arrived in Kathmandu for the first qualifying round of the Olympic Paris 2024.

The team will have two matches with the host Nepal women’s team in Group C on April 5 and 8 in Kathmandu. There are only two teams in this group after Afghanistan and Palestine withdrew. The winner will advance to the second qualifier.

Speaking at a press conference on April 4, Coach Mai Duc Chung said that after a flight of about 22 hours, the team will make necessary preparation and play to the fullest of its capacity.

Striker Huynh Nhu said that despite the difference in rankings, Vietnam women’s football team respects all opponents.

Nepalese women's team has mastered good technique and improved a lot in recent years, so the matches will be tough one for Vietnam, she added.

Source: VNA/SGT/VNS/VOV/Dtinews/SGGP/VGP/Hanoitimes