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Da Lat faces traffic congestion due to tourist surge

Many roads in Da Lat City in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong have seen traffic jams since the second day of the Tet Lunar New Year following a sharp rise in visitors.

This morning, the fourth day of the Tet Lunar New Year, Road 3-4 which links Prenn Pass was seriously congested for around an hour.

Diem Thung, a local resident, said that these days, many people in Da Lat often stay at home to avoid the congestion.

Roads such as Tran Phu, Nguyen Chi Thanh, 3-2, Nguyen Van Cu and areas around Ho Xuan Huong Street were most affected.

Le Anh Kiet, head of Da Lat City’s Culture and Information Board, admitted the congestion on some local streets, saying that the police are trying to ensure the traffic at peak time.

Destinations such as Datanla Waterfall, Da Lat City’s Flower Garden and the Valley of Love have attracted the most travellers.

According to the management board of the Valley of Love, this year, the tourist number to the site has increased by 20-30 percent compared to previous years.

On January 23, the Valley of Love welcomed 2,500 tourists and the figure rose to 5,000. Ticket prices for visitors have been reduced to VND170,000 (USD7.18) from VN250,000.

Cherry blossoms are blooming on Tet, which is among Da Lat’s attractive factors to draw tourists. Areas like Tuyen Lam Lake and roads around Ho Xuan Huong Lake and roads 20 and 27C remain popular tourist check-in spots.

Tourist numbers to Da Lat have considerably increased since January 23 at 23,500 people and the figure would be much higher on Jan 25-26.

Thanh Hoa to build American War memorial to teachers and students
The northern central province of Thanh Hoa has decided to build a monument park to commemorate 64 teachers and students who died at a dyke construction site along the Ma River in 1972.

The Thanh Hoa Provincial People's Committee on January 19 approved the VND 125 billion two-hectare project.

According to local authorities, the project aims to educate people about local history and provide a cultural and historical destination for visitors to the province.

During the American War, the US troops regularly bombed the Ma River in order to prevent supplies and troops being mobilised for southern battlefields.

From the beginning of 1972, the US escalated their attacks on the north by raiding key strategic positions throughout the north, including the Ham Rong Bridge on the Ma River.

Thanh Hoa Province sent 5,000 people including teachers and students to reinforce the dyke along the Ma River following continuous bombing.

At 9.10 am on June 14, 1972, the US suddenly attacked the dyke again, dropping 24 bombs on the site. The attack left 64 young teachers and students dead on the spot, and 96 others injured.

Hanoi plans to plant 250,000 trees this year

Hanoi has set a plan to plant 200,000-250,000 new trees along city streets this year.

Of the sum, 100,000-120,000 trees have been planted during the Tet New Year holiday.   

The city will also grow around 20-30 hectares of forested land. It will also concentrate on taking care of 3,500 ha of planted forests and managing and protecting 6,400 ha of protection and special-use forests.

According to the Hanoi Department of Construction, Hanoi is now home to 1.7 million trees. In the 2016-2020 period, the city grew 1.6 million new trees. In urban districts of the capital, the ratio of trees is only roughly two square metres per person, per person at present, compared with the targeted level of seven square metres per person by 2030.

Between 2021 and 2025, the city has set a goal to grow 2.9 million new trees. Once the plan is fulfilled, the city’s ratio of trees would be 8-10 square metres per person.

HCM City maintains growth momentum, reaps successes in 2022

After struggling to recover from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ho Chi Minh City took back what it lost, achieving positive results in its socio-economic development in 2022, said Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen.

Entering the new year 2023, HCM City determines to be highly focused on tasks, particularly those to promote last year’s achieved results, maintain economic growth momentum, and ensure social security, he said.

In 2022, with the drastic leadership and direction of the central government, the determined will of the city’s political system, people, and business community, in the spirit of flexible, proactive, and drastic adaptation and disease control, the city achieved results faster than expected.  

The scale and growth rate of industries and fields reached the pre-pandemic levels. Specifically, the city's gross regional domestic product (GRDP) increased to 9.03% over the same period of 2021 and exceeded the planned target of 6-6.5%.

The city’s budget revenue reached 471.56 trillion VND (20.1 billion USD), 22% higher than the estimate and increasing by 23.6% over the same period.

Its export revenue reached 49.5 billion USD, up 10.3% compared with that of 2021. In addition, many of the city's manufacturing and service sectors grew strongly last year.

Cultural and social activities, education and training, health care, and sustainable poverty reduction were promoted.

The material and spiritual lives of the people continued to improve.

The city also enhanced foreign affairs and maintained political security, social order, and safety.

It made positive changes, especially in Party building; each cadre and party member properly performed their assigned duties and responsibilities, associated with self-cultivation and training.

The city gradually adjusted and rearranged the apparatus, and improved the quality of the contingent of cadres and civil servants, making an important contribution to strengthening internal unity.

Key projects and works were implemented as planned. The removal of difficulties in investment projects left positive impacts on the city's investment environment, such as putting into operation Thu Thiem 2 bridge that connects district 1 and Thu Duc city, the upgrade and expansion of Dang Thuc Vinh road in Hoc Mon district and Vo Van Kiet parallel road project in district 1.

The year 2022 saw the city's breakthrough efforts in creating positive changes in the development of infrastructure, especially traffic infrastructure, speeding up the progress of construction and operation of key infrastructure projects, including urban railway project No. 1 (Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien), a flood control project that climate change factor taken into account, urban railway project No. 2 (Ben Thanh - Tham Luong), Ring Road 3 (expected to start in June 2023), HCM City - Moc Bai expressway, a project on the construction of T3 terminal of Tan Son Nhat Airport, works/projects to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the southern region of Vietnam and reunification of the country.

Tran Viet Anh, Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Business Association, said that after more than a year of implementing the policy on flexible adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic, HCM City has made great breakthroughs which prove the city's internal economic strengths in terms of dynamism and creativity.

The city’s business community has the tradition and skills to overcome difficulties, he said.

He added that in 2022, besides the prolonged impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city's economy was affected by high inflation, fluctuating real estate market, and the bond market.

However, the city's manufacturers, exporters, and digital technology service providers recovered quite well.

Concluding at the year-end meeting of the city’s Party Committee in 2022, Politburo member, Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen emphasised after a year of socio-economic recovery and development, the city overcame difficulties and regained what it lost due to the pandemic.

The spirit of solidarity in the political system and social consensus increased, creating a positive spillover effect on the trust of the people and business community. He said the city's leaders sincerely thanked the dedication, sacrifice, and active and effective contributions of cadres, civil servants, public employees, labourers, and armed forces in the city.

The business community, organisations, individuals, and people joined hands and united, contributing to generating positive important results, paving the way for the successful implementation of the city’s 5-year socio-economic development plan.

A model of reform, innovation, and development Entering 2023, the city set 15 key goals, particularly targeting a GRDP of 7.5-8%.

The year is themed "Improving the quality of public services, accelerating administrative reform and improving the investment environment."

The city will focus on removing difficulties for businesses, strengthening discipline, administrative discipline, and improving civil service ethics.

Spectacular mountains and rivers - Scenic spots in Quang Ngai province

Thien An mountain and Tra Khuc river, the top scenic spots in the central province of Quang Ngai, are familiar to not only local people but domestic and foreign visitors as well. These iconic spots have become an epicenter for economic and tourism development in the province.

Tra Khuc, the largest river in Quang Ngai, originates from 2,350m high Dac To Ron mountain before merging with the Rhe, Xa Lo (or Dak Xa Lo), Rinh (or Dak Drinh) and Tang rivers. The river runs to the east through Son Ha, Son Tinh and Tu Nghia districts and Quang Ngai city, then enters the sea through Dai Co Luy estuary. The river offers spectacular views while running through Quang Ngai where Thien An mountain looms silently by the river.

Along the Tra Khuc river is beautiful natural scenery, including four of Quang Ngai’s 12 natural wonders. They are Thien An Niem Ha (Thien An mountain - heavenly seal stamped on the river), Long Dau Hy Thuy (Long Dau mountain - dragon head playing with water), Ha Nhai Van Do (Ha Nhai wharf in sunset), and Co Luy village. Viewed from Thien An mountain, there are also many other picturesque places such as Thien But Phe Van (Thien But mountain-heavenly pen writing on cloud), Thach Bich Ta Duong  (Thach Bich mountain in sunset glow), Thach Ky Dieu Tau (old man fishing on a cliff) reef, and An Hai sandbar.

The Tra Khuc river has formed waterway trade and created a sub-region of Tra Khuc river culture, which covers a large area with widespread influence across Quang Ngai. This enriches the province’s  unique culture with a huge treasure of folk songs and verses featuring the life of local farmers and traders.

Along the Tra Khuc river are popular craft villages, which include a blacksmithing village in Tinh Minh commune, Son Tinh district; a beansprouts village in Van hamlet, Son Tinh; Sung Tich and Thanh Kiet vegetable villages in Son Tinh and Tu Nghia districts; a flower village in Nghia Ha commune, Nghia Hoa district and North and South Co Luy welcome mat villages in Son Tinh and Tu Nghia. The area is also known nationwide for making rock sugar, cube sugar and coarse cane sugar.

On the banks of the Tra Khuc river are wharfs where boats can stop overnight and their owners can make barter for goods. Next to the river wharfs are stages for hat ho responsive singing and bai choi folk singing, usually organized during full moon nights, the lunar new year festival (Tet) and other festive events.

Viewed from the Co Luy village citadel is the immense area of Ly Son - Sa Huynh geopark and further away is green Ly Son island, the native land of the Hoang Sa (Paracel) flotilla. Ly Son island, regarded as Vietnam’s Maldives, is expected to promote tourism in Quang Ngai.

The river, which brings alluvium from the peak of Dac To Ron mountain, runs 135 km through mountain and midland areas before entering the sea at Co Luy in Tu Nghia district. At the end of the river, an industrial triangle has been formed in Son Tinh and Binh Son districts and Quang Ngai city and is one of the leading industrial hubs in central Vietnam.

Tet fruit tray, indispensible part of Vietnamese culture

A “Mam Ngu Qua” or five-fruit tray is indispensable for each Vietnamese family as among the numerous offerings that are required to decorate ancestral altars during the traditional Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.

The tray symbolises the wholeheartedness and gratitude of the present generation towards their ancestors and the Genie of the Land during Tet.

Like other popular rituals, the preparation of a five‑fruit tray for Tet has become an established convention.

During the few days just before Tet, the Vietnamese begin to buy the necessary fruits for this purpose.

A five‑fruit tray is usually composed of a hand of green bananas, a ripe pomelo (or a Buddha's hand, a shaddock), oranges, persimmons, sapodilla plums, a bunch of kumquat, and in recent years, one can add mangoes and grapes from southern Vietnam, or apples and pears from China. Although it is called a five‑fruit tray, it does not necessarily contain exactly five kinds of fruit.

Arranging fruits on the crimson, hourglass‑shaped wooden tray is really an art. One has to combine the colours and shapes of the different fruits in arranging them on the tray to make it look like a still life picture.

To ensure balance on the tray, the hand of bananas is usually put in the middle with the bananas pointing upright and the pomelo on the concave surface of the hand of bananas. Then the oranges, sapodilla plums, apples are added in the gaps between the bananas and the pomelo.

The last little gaps are filled in with little kumquats to create a full, compact tray of fruits.

In colours, the fruit‑tray presents a harmonious combination of the different colours of fruits: dark green of banana, light yellow of pomelo, deep red of persimmon, reddish yellow of orange and kumquat, light green of apple, and dark brown of sapodilla plum. To complete the picture, the fruit tray will be covered here and there with some small, fresh leaves of kumquat.

The five-fruit tray, together with horizontal lacquered boards engraved with Chinese characters, parallel sentences written on red paper, ornamental kumquat and peach trees, and popular Hang Trong and Dong Ho pictures, has transcended its material value to become a spiritual symbol, an original national product in the spiritual life of the Vietnamese.

At present, while many of the ancient spiritual values have sunk into oblivion, the custom of arranging the five‑fruit tray on the altar during the lunar New Year days is being jealously preserved as a fine legacy of Vietnam's traditional culture.

The “Mam Ngu Qua” in Tet Festival represents the quintessence that Heaven and Earth bless humans. This is one of the general perceptions of life of the Vietnamese, which is “An qua nho ke trong cay” (When taking fruit, you should think of the grower).

Vietnam - important partner of RoK: Korean broadcaster

Vietnam is an important partner of the Republic of Korea (RoK), with more than 200,000 Koreans living in the Southeast Asian country from which a large amount of trade surplus was generated in 2022, Korean broadcaster KBS underlined in an article published on January 24.

The article noted that Vietnam is the largest consumer of Korean-made Choco Pie with spending of 100 billion KRW (81.02 million USD) each year. The country is also home to 270 Lotteria shops, it added.

Due to the US-China tension, businesses from all over the world are flocking to Vietnam, and the country is gaining great attraction, it held.

The article said that Apple will produce MacBooks in Vietnam from May and both Dell and HP corporations are also ready to come to Vietnam. A significant number of Chinese companies are also moving to Vietnam, it noted.

As investment inflows and exports increased, Vietnam's economy grew rapidly. It cited data from the General Statistics Office of Vietnam which showed that in 2022, the country's economic growth reached 8.02% and workers' wages increased by an average of 16%.

Vietnam is becoming a global manufacturing hub. In December 2022, Vietnam overtook the UK in terms of trade with the US to rise to the 7th position.

In order to manufacture and export electronic products, Vietnam needs to import sensor components, semiconductors, screens, and steel, which are strong products of the RoK, it said.

In 2022, the RoK exported 60.9 billion USD worth of goods to Vietnam, equivalent to more than 50% of the RoK's total export revenue from the US (109.8 billion USD) and doubling the revenue from Japan ( 30.6 billion USD). Although Vietnam saw a trade deficit of 34.2 billion USD with the RoK last year, it is the country from which the RoK gained the most benefits in the past year, not China or the US, the article underscored.

The RoK ranks first in both number of projects and cumulative value of investments in Vietnam. Currently, there are about 9,000 Korean companies operating in Vietnam, the article said.

Vietnam's economy opened in 1986. In the process, Vietnam has created favourable conditions for the development of private enterprises, the article noted, adding that in Vietnam, domestic firms such as Vingroup and Vietjet are developing rapidly.

Palestinian Ambassador expresses profound love for Vietnam

The book “Cau chuyen Viet Nam cua toi" (My Vietnam story) in Vietnamese version, written by Palestinian Ambassador to Vietnam Saadi Salama for nearly five years, was published in early 2023.

Talking with Vietnam News Agency in Vietnamese language with Hanoi accent, Ambassador Salama said he had come to Vietnam for the first time as a predestined affinity, then stayed and became closer to the country also due to predestined affinity.

When being awarded with a scholarship from Vietnam when he was 19, he said he aspired to travel to the Southeast Asian country not only for Vietnamese study but also for answer to its glorious history in national construction and defence.

While attending the University of Hanoi (now Vietnam National University, Hanoi), his love for Vietnam and its people deepened. Following graduation, he worked for Palestine’s representative diplomatic agencies in Vietnam, Laos, Yeman, Ghana, among others.

But like a predestined affinity, his life milestones were associated with Vietnam decades ago. During 1982-1983, he was secretary in charge of information at the Office of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in Vietnam. From 1989-1991, he was vice ambassador at the Palestinian Embassy in Vietnam. Later, he has served as Ambassador of Palestine to Vietnam since 2009 and head of the Palestinian diplomatic corp in Vietnam since 2019.

Salama affirmed that he always considers Vietnam his second homeland. His responsibility is not only to foster friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Palestine but also to popularise Vietnam as a nation of long-standing culture and peace loving.

His book is a gift manifesting his sentiment for Vietnam, giving the Vietnamese an insight into a foreigner’s view on the country’s changes. Its English version is due to be published in March.

His another project is rewriting this book in Arabian language to help Arabian people understand more about Vietnam.

The diplomat also used to translate the book “Dien Bien Phu - Five unprecedented prodigious facts in the war history” by Mai Trong Tuan and several poems in President Ho Chi Minh's " Prison Diary" into Arabian language to introduce to Palestinian people and Arabian countries.

Impressed by Vietnam’s integration process, he expressed his firm belief that Vietnam will continue succeeding on its own road.

As 2023 marks the 35th anniversary of Palestine-Vietnam diplomatic ties, he wished more joint activities would be held to nurture Vietnam’s understanding of Palestine’s culture and people and vice versa, contributing to growing bilateral ties.

Concluding the conversation, Salama said life has changed and is changing with many things that are no longer the same, but one thing will never change, that is, a part of his heart has belonged to Vietnam.

Deputy Foreign Minister highlights role of economic diplomacy in service of national development

Under the wise and timely direction of Party and State leaders, in 2022, the diplomatic sector quickly shifted its focus from vaccine diplomacy to economic diplomacy for national recovery and development, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Minh Vu said in a recent interview granted to the media.

Accordingly, economic diplomacy was strongly promoted, becoming the central task of the whole sector as well as of all 94 Vietnamese representative offices abroad, he added.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with relevant ministries, agencies, and localities, concretised the Resolution adopted at the 13th National Party Congress in relation to economic diplomacy for national development until 2030.

The diplomatic sector, together with other sectors, helped deepen relations between Vietnam and other countries, especially in the fields of economics, trade, and investment. Economic cooperation became the focal point in all external activities.

It made contributions to promoting international economic integration and linkage, while promptly taking advantage of attracting external resources to serve new driving forces for development, especially green financial sources, investment in energy transformation, and investment in high-tech industries, among others.

The ministry supported the effective implementation of 15 signed free trade agreements (FTAs), and made recommendations for the country to promptly engage in international economic integration initiatives in order to take full advantage of resources for development.

Last year, the ministry organised more than 50 working delegations with 25 localities, organised about 70 activities connecting localities with partners, supported the signing of more than 40 international cooperation documents. These efforts have been recognised and appreciated by localities and businesses.

According to Deputy FM Vu, the ministry and Vietnamese representive offices abroad continued to actively coordinate with ministries and sectors to support localities and businesses to optimise the FTA network and attract foreign investment, thus promoting two of the three important growth drivers - trade and investment.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accompanied the Ministry of Planning and Investment and agencies to attract high-quality investment, connect and support foreign enterprises to invest and expand operations in Vietnam, as well as to strengthen exchange and cooperation with investment funds and study international investment trends.

Highlighting the promotion of green and digital economic development, Vu said Vietnam is one of developing countries with a strong commitment to green and digital transformation. Vietnam's commitment at the COP 26 Conference in 2021 requires the country's great efforts but also opens up a lot of opportunities for cooperation with international partners as these are the issues of global concern.

Currently, international organisations, multilateral mechanisms, and development partners all give high priority and pool plenty of resources to promote the international community's effort to implement green transition, energy transition, innovation, and digital transformation. Following that trend, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and relevant ministries and agencies focused on promoting cooperation with partners both bilaterally and multilaterally in order to maximise the attraction of external resources, along with domestic resources, for the implementation of national strategies relating to green and digital transformation.

Digital economic cooperation was also highlighted in high-level foreign affairs activities, with a specific focus on attracting investment, training human resources, and improving management capacity. Many international partners such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) expressed willingness to cooperate with Vietnam on digital skills, the establishment of the fourth Industrial Revolution centre and other initiatives.

The ministry will continue to closely work with relevant ministries and sectors to further promote ties in these fields in order to pool more external resources for the transformation of the domestic growth model, according to the Deputy FM.

Regarding Directive No. 15-CT/TW on economic diplomacy issued by the Party Central Committee's Secretariat on August 10, 2022, Vu said the directive identifies economic diplomacy as a basic and central task of Vietnamese diplomacy, an important driving force for rapid and sustainable development of the country as a whole, while playing a pioneering role in mobilising external resources.

The directive affirms the special importance of economic diplomacy moving forward, stressed the Deputy FM.

To implement this directive, the Prime Minister directly chaired a conference to promote economic diplomacy in service of national development in September 2022, as well as a conference to summarise vaccine diplomacy and lessons to step up economic diplomacy in the new context in November last year, he added.

To ramp up economic diplomacy moving forward, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will steadfastly and consistently implement the country’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralisation, and diversification of international relations under the motto ‘Vietnam is a friend, a reliable and responsible partner of the international community’.

It will pay closer attention to research, forecasts, and policy advice as a means of grasping the situation, as well as introducing timely, appropriate, and drastic solutions for implementation of assigned tasks. It will focus on renewing methods to suit the new situation for the sake of the nation and people, while bringing into play the activeness and creativity of Vietnamese representative agencies abroad.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Vietnamese representative offices abroad will also continue to do their best to carry out economic diplomacy for development, affirmed Deputy FM Vu.

Vietnam engages in building of UN convention against cybercrimes

A Vietnamese delegation has attended the fourth session of the UN Ad Hoc Committee to Elaborate a Comprehensive International Convention on Countering the Use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Criminal Purposes.

The delegation, led by Vietnamese Ambassador to Austria Nguyen Trung Kien, included representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of National Defence, and the Ministry of Justice.

Speaking on the opening day of the session, which lasted from January 9 to 20, the delegation highly valued efforts by the Secretariat of the Ad Hoc Committee in building the first draft, which laid a solid foundation for the next negotiations to soon finalise the draft convention and submit it to the UN General Assembly for ratification.

The Vietnamese side also gave opinions about some parts of the draft such as the scope of the convention, offences against information technology (IT) systems, IT-based scams, and individual criminal responsibility.

In recent years, protecting cyber safety and security and combating cybercrimes have become a crucial part in the security strategies of many countries.

After 10 years of negotiations by inter-governmental working groups, in 2019, the UN General Assembly decided to set up the Ad Hoc Committee to build an international convention for promoting international cooperation against ICT crimes. The committee establishment reflected the international community’s concern about growing threats posed by ICT crimes, and also showed UN member states’ efforts to create the first international legal document covering this issue.

At the three sessions held in 2022, the Ad Hoc Committee agreed on the negotiation roadmap and identified the structure and basic content of the future convention. Countries began discussing the draft in detail from the beginning of 2023.

The final draft is expected to be finalised by the end of 2023 and submitted to the UN General Assembly for ratification in 2024.

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


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