Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh is chairing a dialogue with the youth in Hanoi on March 22 under the theme “building high-quality young workforce to meet Industry 4.0 era”.

The videoconferencing is connected to all centrally-run cities and provinces nationwide.

It draws leaders of ministries, ministry-level agencies, Government-run and relevant central agencies, representatives from the Vietnam Fatherland Front (VFF) Central Committee, Party Central Committee’s commissions, National Assembly committees and socio-political organisations, as well as leaders of localities and youngsters across the nation.

According to Minister of Home Affair Pham Thi Thanh Tra, the dialogue shows the Party and State’s great attention and responsibility to the youth. It aims to give a chance for youngsters to speak out their proposals and aspirations, enabling the Government to roll out solutions to settle difficulties facing them, ensuring the rights and interests of the youth in the building and implementation of policies and laws relating to them.

During the dialogue, participants will focus on the realisation of the Party’s orientations and policies and State's laws regarding the youth, the role and responsibilities of the youth in the country’s socio-economic development amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and proposals of the youth and response from the Government.

At the event, together with the Prime Minister, representatives from the Ministry of Home Affairs and a number of ministries and central agencies will answer to opinions and requests from the youth.

Vietnam, Thailand beef up sci-tech, educational collaboration

Vietnam, Thailand beef up sci-tech, educational collaboration hinh anh 1
Thailand will further promote sci-tech and education cooperation with Vietnam, including a plan to teach Vietnamese at some local universities, affirmed Minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) Anek Laothamatas in a working session with Vietnamese Ambassador Phan Chi Thanh in Bangkok on March 20.

Thanh proposed the minister direct relevant departments to discuss the organisation of the first meeting of the Vietnam-Thailand Joint Committee for Science and Technology Cooperation. He said via the meeting, the sides will agree on contents serving the promotion of their engagements in the time to come and on a mechanism of co-financing joint research cooperation tasks, especially in the fields of digital transformation, green transformation, biotechnology, and automation.

He suggested Thailand support the teaching of the Vietnamese language in Thailand and informed his host that the Hanoi University of Vietnam is building a project to study the establishment of a Vietnamese language and education centre in Thailand.

The diplomat recommended the Thai side help expand the Thai language education programme in Vietnam. Currently, Thailand is assisting five Vietnamese universities in teaching the language, with the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) granting scholarships for Vietnamese lecturers to join training courses in Thailand as well as offering the universities related teaching and learning materials.

He also proposed that the MHESI introduce Thai schools for forming twinning relations with Vietnamese schools, thereby enhancing exchanges of students, teachers and educational administrators at the grassroots level.

Agreeing with Thanh’s proposals, the Thai minister pledged to push for the early organisation of the first meeting and underscored Thailand’s readiness to grant scholarships for Vietnamese students studying sci-tech disciplines in the country, especially concerning the health

The MHESI supports the establishment of the Vietnamese centre and the teaching of Vietnamese at Thai universities. He asked the Vietnamese side to soon decide on the related teaching programme, send experts, and support the training of teachers and lecturers in Thailand.

President Vo Van Thuong hosts Cambodian official

President Vo Van Thuong hosted a reception in Hanoi on March 21 for Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn, who is in Vietnam for an official visit and co-chairing the 20th meeting of the Vietnam-Cambodia Joint Commission on Economic, Cultural, Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

Thuong expressed his belief that Cambodia will successfully organise its general election in July 2023, and reap more achievements in building a country of peace, independence, democracy and prosperity.

Congratulating the neighbouring country on its successful ASEAN Chairmanship 2022, the State leader wished the 32nd Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 32), which Cambodia is hosting in May, a success, and stressed that Vietnam stands ready to share its experience in organising the SEA Games 31. 

The President noted with pleasure the fruitful development of the bilateral relations over the past time, affirming that Vietnam always treasures the warm sentiment and valuable support of Kings Norodom Sihanouk and Norodom Sihamoni and leaders and people of Cambodia for Vietnam in its past struggle for national liberation, as well as the present cause of national construction and defence.

Vietnam always attaches great importance and wishes to constantly strengthen the good neighbourliness, traditional friendship, and comprehensive, sustainable, long-term cooperation with Cambodia, Thuong emphasised.

On the occasion of Cambodia’s traditional New Year Chol Chhnam Thmay, the President conveyed the best wishes and regards of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and other high-ranking Vietnamese leaders to King Norodom Sihamoni and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, and noted his wish to welcome them to Vietnam at an early date this year.

Thuong also asked the guest to convey his wishes and regards to Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and other senior leaders of Cambodia.

For his part, Prak Sokhonn affirmed the importance Cambodia attaches to the bilateral friendship and cooperation with Vietnam.

The official congratulated Vietnamese people on the great achievements they have recorded in socio-economic development, saying he believes that Vietnam will fulfill the target of industrialisation and modernisation by 2030.

The two sides rejoiced at the maintenance of all-level meetings and exchanges despite COVID-19 impacts over the past time, the implementation of major cooperation mechanisms, and the strong growth of the bilateral trade.

Practical activities within the framework of the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Year 2022 celebrating the 55th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties (June 24, 1967-2022) have contributed to raising the awareness of the two countries’ people, especially young generation, of the relations, they said.

Prak Sokhonn also informed President Thuong about outcomes of the 20th meeting of the Vietnam-Cambodia Joint Commission on Economic, Cultural, Scientific and Technological Cooperation, during which the two sides had in-depth and straightforward discussions on all spheres in order to enhance the bilateral cooperation.

PM Pham Minh Chinh welcomes Cambodian Deputy PM and Foreign Minister

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh received in Hanoi on March 21 Cambodian Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn, who is on an official visit to Vietnam.

PM Chinh extended Vietnamese leaders’ greetings to Cambodia on the occasion of the country’s coming traditional Chol Chnam Thmay festival. He congratulated Cambodia on its enormous achievements over the past years, especially in the COVID-19 fight, inflation control, economic growth, the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2022, and the fifth-tenure communal/ward council elections last June.

Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn affirmed that Cambodia always attaches importance to the reinforcement and development of the “good neighbourliness, traditional friendship, comprehensive cooperation, and long-term sustainability” with Vietnam.

He expressed his delight at the flourishing bilateral relations in all aspects.

Leaders of the two countries have maintained frequent meetings and mutual visits. Bilateral trade topped 10 billion USD in 2022, rising nearly 11% from 2021. As of the end of last year, Vietnam had 205 investment projects worth 29.4 billion USD in Cambodia, establishing itself as the biggest ASEAN investor and one of the five biggest foreign direct investors there. The two sides also coordinated to hold many meaningful activities in the Vietnam - Cambodia Friendship Year 2022.

Reporting on the outcomes of his talks with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and the 20th meeting of the countries’ Joint Committee, the official said the meeting’s minutes will serve as the basis for the two sides’ ministries and sectors to further expand and intensify their sound cooperation in different areas, from politics, diplomacy, security, defence to economy, trade, investment, culture, and people-to-people exchange, thus generating practical benefits to the two peoples.

To develop bilateral relations more fruitfully, PM Chinh asked both sides to effectively implement high-level agreements and joint statements; boost transport and economic connectivity and jointly build independent and self-reliant economies in tandem with extensive, substantive, and effective international integration; facilitate cross-border trade and economic development in border areas; cooperate in fighting transnational and drug crimes; and work together in green transition and climate change response.

He thanked and asked Cambodia to continue creating conditions for Vietnamese-origin people to live and work there and promote the settlement of legal procedures related to the community.

He also urged the two sides to jointly seek appropriate solutions for accelerating border demarcation and marker planting on the remaining 16% of the land border so as to build a border of peace, stability, cooperation, and development.

As Cambodia will host many important events in 2023, including the seventh National Assembly election, the 32nd Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), the ASEAN Para Games, and the 12th summit of the Cambodia - Laos - Vietnam Development Triangle Area, the Vietnamese Government, within its capacity, is ready to assist, share experience, and support Cambodia to successfully organise those events, the host leader affirmed.

The two sides also agreed to maintain close coordination and mutual support at regional and international forums and contribute to the building of a united, strong, and prosperous ASEAN Community.

Also on March 21, Le Hoai Trung, member of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee and Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations, had a meeting with Prak Sokhonn, who is also member of the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) Central Committee’s Standing Board and head of the CPP Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations.

The two officials informed each other about the situation of their respective Parties and countries, reviewed cooperation between the two Parties and the two commissions, discussed measures for stepping up the implementation of agreements reached between leaders of their Parties and countries, and touched upon issues of common concern.

Vietnam, Cambodia to maintain high-level consultations, bilateral mechanisms

Vietnam and Cambodia agreed to continue maintaining high-level exchanges, consultations, and bilateral mechanisms in the coming time at the 20th meeting of the Vietnam-Cambodia Joint Committee on economic, cultural, scientific and technological cooperation in Hanoi on March 21.

The meeting was co-chaired by Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn in the framework of the latter's ongoing official visit to Vietnam.

In his remarks at the meeting, FM Son expressed his delight at the fruitful development of the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia, saying that stakeholders in the two countries have coordinated to successfully organise important events and commemorative activities in the Vietnam - Cambodia Friendship Year 2022. The events have contributed to further tightening the bilateral relations, and raising awareness of people of the traditional friendship between the two countries, he said.

For his part, Prak Sokhonn said bilateral cooperation mechanisms and cooperation between ministries, sectors and localities of th two countries have been strengthened and proven effective.

He added that the meeting offered an opportunity for the two sides to discuss how to further improve the effectiveness of bilateral cooperation at regional and international forums.

The two sides discussed cooperation outcomes among ministries and sectors in recent times across all fields of politics-diplomacy, defence, security, border control, economy, trade, investment, transport, education-training, culture, sports, tourism, health care, and justice.

They shared pleasure at the two sides' close coordination in successfully organising a high-level meeting between the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Cambodian People's Party on February 18, 2023; the official visits of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue to Cambodia in 2022; as well as other activities to mark the 55th founding anniversary of the diplomatic ties.

Defence-security cooperation has become an increasingly important pillar, while economic cooperation has been also a highlight in bilateral relations in recent years. Last year, two-way trade hit 10.57 billion USD, up nearly 11% year-on-year. Vietnam is Cambodia's third largest trade partner in ASEAN. Vietnam has so far 205 valid investment projects worth 2.94 billion USD in Cambodia, ranking first in ASEAN and among the five biggest foreign investors in Cambodia.

The two sides agreed to continue effectively implementing signed agreements; strengthening security and defence cooperation; working together to boost economic connectivity and deal with difficulties facing businesses of both countries; and maintaining the stable growth of bilateral trade and investment.

They also concurred to step up partnerships in transport, tourism, agro-forestry-fisheries, telecommunications and information technology, labour, natural resources and environment, whilst promoting cooperation among localities and within the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam (CLV) Development Triangle. They agreed to work closely in searching for, collecting and repatriating the remains of Vietnamese soldiers who fell down in Cambodia during wartime.

On behalf of the two governments, FM Son and Sokhonn signed the meeting's minutes. The 21st meeting of the committee is scheduled to be held in Cambodia in 2024.

Vietnamese, Cambodian foreign ministers hold talks

Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son held talks with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn in Hanoi on March 21.

Prak Sokhonn arrived in Vietnam earlier the same day to co-chair the 20th meeting of the Vietnam-Cambodia Joint Commission on Economic, Cultural, and Scientific-Technological Cooperation from March 21-22.

Son congratulated Cambodia on its outstanding achievements in internal and external affairs over the past years, including the successful organisation of commune/ward council elections for the fifth tenure in June 2022 and assumption of the Chairmanship of ASEAN and ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) last year.

Lauding Vietnam for supporting Cambodia in its role as the ASEAN Chair 2022, the Cambodian Deputy PM vowed to constantly strengthen good neighbourliness, traditional friendship, comprehensive, sustainable and long-term cooperation between the two countries. He congratulated Vietnam on its important achievements in socio-economic development, with an economic growth of over 8% last year.

The two sides agreed to facilitate high-level visits, continue upholding the effectiveness of existing bilateral cooperation mechanisms, implement the joint statements and cooperation agreements between the two Parties and Governments, step up connectivity between the two economies, enhance locality-to-locality cooperation, speed up the demarcation and border marker planting of the remaining 16% of the border line, toward building a borderline of peace, friendship, cooperation and sustainable development between the two countries.

They highly valued the close coordination between the two ministries in promoting relationship between the two nations and promised to hold the eighth political consultation at the deputy ministerial level in Cambodia at a suitable time this year.

On regional and global cooperation, both sides underlined their commitment to working closely together to strengthen solidarity, unity and the central role of ASEAN, as well as bolster collaboration between the bloc and and its partners.

Regarding the East Sea issue, they affirmed the importance of maintaining peace, security, and stability in the region, ensuring freedom and safety of navigation and overflight, settling disputes via peaceful means in line with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), fully abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), toward reaching an effective and practical Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

Son suggested the Cambodian official continue offering support to Cambodians of the Vietnamese origin to settle down and integrate into the host country, serving as a friendship bridge between the two countries.

He asked the Cambodian side to jointly deal with cases in which Vietnamese citizens are scammed and forced to work illegally in several foreign-owned entertainment businesses in Cambodia.

The guest affirmed that Cambodia will continue offering fair treatment to the people of the Vietnamese origin, like those from other countries.

Enhanced dengue prevention measures needed as cases rise

The Ministry of Health reports that the number of dengue fever cases across the nation has increased 2.3 times in the first two months of 2023 compared to the same period last year, with southern and central provinces being hit the hardest.

In response to the growing crisis, the ministry has issued a directive to the people's committees of provinces and cities to implement preventative measures before the peak months of 2023.

The directive urges localities to disseminate information on dengue fever and organise activities for the ASEAN Day of Dengue Prevention and Control. Additionally, relevant agencies and the medical sector have been assigned to carry out campaigns on environmental sanitation and larvae eradication, ensuring that households in epidemic and at-risk areas are regularly monitored for mosquito's breeding grounds such as water tanks and waste bins.

To facilitate early detection and prompt handling of dengue outbreaks, local preventive health agencies have been directed to closely monitor the situation in their respective areas.

Medical establishments must also ensure the availability of adequate treatment equipment and organise patient receiving to avoid potential delays in emergency treatment or hospital transfer. Upper-level hospitals have plans to support local clinics in treatment, and departments of finance have been instructed to submit budget plans for funding dengue prevention and control programmes in 2023.

Despite efforts to control the epidemic, epidemiologists warn that the cyclical nature of dengue epidemics, coupled with favourable weather conditions for the development of larvae and mosquitoes, pose ongoing challenges.

Last year, the country recorded 361,813 cases of dengue fever and 133 deaths. Localities have been advised to organise inspections and supervision of dengue fever prevention and control in hot spots and areas at risk of outbreaks.

Vietnam, Canada seek deeper partnerships in education, training

A conference was held at Tra Vinh University in the Mekong Delta province entitled the Vietnam-Canada International Education and Partnership Conference to discuss collaboration between college and university educational institutions in the two countries.

Addressing the event, which drew more than 300 Vietnamese and foreign delegates, Canadian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Behzad Babakhani highlighted the sound relations between Tra Vinh province, and Tra Vinh University, in particular, thanks to the success of the Vietnam-Canada Community College project and other Canadian-funded projects.

He said that the conference aims to foster partnerships between the two sides while encouraging cooperation activities in the field of vocational training, and labour market development as well as collaboration programmes in education, scientific research, digital transformation in teaching and learning activities, student and lecturer exchange, and apprentice receiving.

Chairman of the People’s Committee of Tra Vinh province Le Van Han thanked the Canadian Government for supporting the province to develop Tra Vinh University from the Vietnam-Canada Community College model, which has greatly contributed to developing human resources for the province, the region and the whole country.

During the two-day event, participants shared practical experiences and discussed issues related to the Vietnam-Canada Community College model in Vietnam, the student recruitment of Vietnamese students, and international cooperation for the sustainable development of human resources for agriculture and fisheries sectors amid climate change, and other environmental factors.

On the occasion, Tra Vinh University and the Council for International Education of British Columbia, the Canadian Association of Public Schools, Nova Scotia Community College of Canada and the Vietnam Association of Community Colleges (VACC) signed memoranda of understanding in the fields of promoting digital transformation in teaching and learning activities; developing curricula and teaching programmes; transferring and recruiting students; cooperating in training projects and scientific researches; and jointly contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals regarding higher education.

Seminar discusses 50 years of achievements, prospects of Vietnam - UK ties

A seminar was held in Hanoi on March 21 to look back on achievements during the 50 years of the Vietnam - UK diplomatic relationship and the prospects of future bilateral ties.

Opening the event, Phan Anh Son, Vice President and Secretary-General of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO), said since the official establishment of the diplomatic relationship on September 11, 1973, bilateral ties have continuously been reinforced and developing. This is especially the case since the elevation of relations to a strategic partnership in September 2010, which has opened up many cooperation frameworks such as the strategic dialogue, the joint committee for economic and trade cooperation, and the working group on defence.

Thanks to the effective implementation of the UK - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA), bilateral economic links have been growing strongly. Trade in goods and services reached about 5.9 billion GBP (7.2 billion USD) in 2022, up 12.4% year on year.

The UK is currently a leading educational partner of Vietnam with 74 transnational educational programmes of 23 British universities.

The two sides have also unceasingly strengthened collaboration in global issues, especially climate change response, he noted, elaborating that they are working together towards the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) and also cooperating closely at international and regional forums.

In addition, Vietnam and the UK have always attached importance to respect for, the maintenance of peace, stability, and security, as well as the guaranteeing of navigation and overflight freedom in the East Sea in line with international law. The two countries see the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the legal framework for all activities in seas and oceans, Son went on.

Regarding people-to-people diplomacy, the Vietnam - UK Friendship Association has been organising various activities to help intensify the friendship, mutual understanding, and cooperation between the two peoples, thus contributing to the countries’ strategic partnership, he added.

He expressed his belief that based on the achievements obtained over the last 50 years, the friendship, and multifaceted cooperation, relations between Vietnam and the UK will continue to be promoted, meeting the aspirations of and generating practical benefits for the two peoples and helping with regional and global peace, stability, and development.

For his part, Marcus Winsley, Deputy Ambassador of the UK to Vietnam, held that bilateral relations are now in their prime. The COVID-19 pandemic is also the time for the two countries to lift cooperation in many areas to a new level, from politics, economy, and education to security and defence, particularly the combat against human trafficking and transnational crimes.

He noted his country is ready to assist the Vietnamese Government in improving people’s English language skills.

Both sides should further share information about investment attraction, market opening, and technology development to realise the commitments to sustainable development and net zero emissions by 2050. They also need to work more closely towards the JETP, according to the diplomat.

Youth must pioneer national digital transformation: NA Chairman

The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCYU) and young people must be the pioneers in implementing the policy of promoting national digital transformation, and developing the digital economy based on science, technology and innovation, National Assembly (NA) Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue requested on March 21.

The Vietnamese Party and State always attach special importance to youth and the youth work, and place faith in the force and the Youth Union, Hue said at a meeting with the HCYU Central Committee’s Secretariat on the occasion of the 92nd anniversary of the HCYU.

Speaking highly of the theme of “Digital Transformation” that the HCYU Central Committee has selected for the Youth Month 2023, he stressed that this is an important and urgent task that can make Vietnam integrate more deeply into the general development of the world.

The NA Chairman highlighted the importance of continuing to innovate the content and mode of operation in the context of digital transformation; and carrying out tasks and solutions to promote the intelligence and strength of young people through three movements: "Volunteer Youth", "Creative Youth", and "Youth Pioneers to Defend the Fatherland".

The HCYU should implement measures to accompany and take care of adolescents in all aspects of learning, start-ups, training and developing skills in life, improving physical health and spiritual life.
The top legislator noted that developing high-quality human resources to contribute to labour restructuring and increasing labour productivity is currently a hot issue.

As youths are an important part of Vietnam's workforce, it is necessary to intensify support for them to have stable jobs, in accordance with actual requirements and capacity, emphasised Hue.

He proposed the Government focus on directing the Ministry of Home Affairs, relevant ministries, sectors and authorities at all levels to closely coordinate with the HCYU Central Committee to well implement the 2020 Youth Law and the Vietnamese Youth Development Strategy in the 2021-2030 period.

Regarding the ninth Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Forum of Young Parliamentarians to be hosted by Vietnam in September, the NA Chairman stated that hosting this important forum shows the deep concern of the Party, State and NA leaders about Vietnamese youth, and helps strengthen the country’s cooperation with important partners, especially young parliamentarians and leaders of other countries.

Appreciating the preparations for this event, Hue affirmed that this will be a good opportunity to promote the image of Vietnamese youth, the related movements in particular and the country and people of Vietnam in general to international friends.

Can Tho, India cultivate multifaceted cooperation

Leaders of the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho held a working session with Indian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Madan Mohan Sethi on March 21 to discuss multifaceted cooperation between Can Tho and Indian partners and localities.

Speaking at the event, Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Thuc Hien suggested orientations for  bilateral cooperation in hi-tech agriculture, processing industry, investment, tourism, health care, education-training and information technology.

He wished for India’s support to hold the "India - Can Tho City" networking conference with an aim to connect Indian importers with local exporters of rice, seafood, farm produce and processed agricultural products, as well as popularise the city’s tourism.

Can Tho plans to arrange a trip to India in May for a delegation of investment, trade and tourism promotion officers, he said, suggesting that the Indian side helps the delegation hold a working session with the Indian Institute of Technology to invite Indian investors to Can Tho's concentrated IT zone.

The host also wished to visit and share experience in economic and tourism development with authorities of a suitable locality.

Sethi, for his part, pledged to step up cooperation in areas suggested by the host.

He suggested that the Vietnamese delegation visit Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states, noting that Telangana is strong is pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, information technology and health care while Andhra Pradesh hold potential in agriculture, particularly aquatic products and fruits.

On the occasion, the Indian Consulate General and the municipal Department of External Affairs signed a cooperation agreement, under which they agreed to enhance information sharing to effectively hold exchange activities, especially in education, culture, arts, information technology, tourism, trade and investment promotion.

Each year, both sides will hold online or face-to-face meetings to review joint work and set future tasks.

SEA Games 32 to bring together over 11,000 delegates

As many as 11,453 sport delegates from the ten ASEAN member countries and Timor-Leste will compete in the upcoming 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games 2023 in Cambodia, according to a local official.

Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism and Permanent Vice Chairman the Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee and the Cambodian ASEAN Para Games Organising Committee said at a torch-lighting ceremony for the Games on March 21 that the host country will send 1,312 people to SEA Games 32.

Thailand will dispatch the most delegates, 1,755, followed by Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar, Laos, Timor-Leste, and Brunei.

The participation of all the member countries in all categories reflects their solidarity, friendship, and good cooperation, as well as their full support for Cambodia’s hosting, he said.

The 32nd SEA Games will take place from May 5-7, featuring 37 sports, while the 12th ASEAN Para Games will be held from June 3-9, 2023, with 13 events.

HCM City seeks ways to expand cooperation with Argentina

A delegation of Ho Chi Minh City led by Vice Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Ho Hai visited Argentina from March 19-21, aiming to enhance friendship and expand cooperation with the South American nation.

While in Argentina, the delegation had a meeting with Politburo member and secretary in charge of external relations of the Communist Party of Argentina (CPA) Jorge Kreyness.

Hai thanked the CPA for its solidarity, support and sentiment for the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and Vietnamese people in their past struggle for national liberation as well as the present cause of national reform and construction.

The official affirmed the consistent stance of the Vietnamese Party, State and people on constantly consolidating and strengthening the friendship and solidarity between the CPV and the CPA and people of Argentina.

Hai expressed his hope for enhanced solidarity and more efficient cooperation between the two parties for the common revolutionary cause.

In reply, Kreyness lauded Vietnam’s achievements and experience, and noted his belief in the success of reforms and socialism building in Vietnam under the CPV’s leadership, calling Vietnam an example for Latin American nations to follow.

He highlighted an initiative to build a Ho Chi Minh cultural centre at the CPA’s headquarters in Buenos Aires, which will display documents and photos on the life and ideology of the late Vietnamese President.

They exchanged views on the Party mobilisation work and ways to intensify people-to-people exchanges, and reiterated the two parties’ support for progressive movements at regional and international forums.

At another working session with leaders of Buenos Aires, Hai stressed that Vietnam and Argentina have established many bilateral cooperation mechanisms to boost investment-trade-tourism links, collaboration in industry-agriculture and cultural exchange, which he said, creates optimal conditions for HCM City to step up cooperation with Buenos Aires and Argentina at large.
He called on the local authorities to support activities connecting Argentinian businesses with HCM City, thus contributing to raising cooperation efficiency in investment, trade and tourism.

The two sides agreed to maintain information sharing to put forth plans for tourism promotion and sport exchanges in the time ahead.
 The Vietnamese delegation pays tribute to President Ho Chi Minh at his monument in Buenos Aires. (Photo: VNA)
Within the framework of the visit, the Vietnamese delegation also had working sessions with trade promotion and international relations agencies in Buenos Aires, visited the Vietnam-Argentina Culture Institute, and laid wreaths at President Ho Chi Minh’s monument in the capital city.

Experts highlight importance of professional social work for nation's development

Professional social work is an inevitable requirement for the country’s development as a stable, sustainable and equal society, according to experts at the 14th Eurasia Forum of Social Workers held in Hanoi on March 21.

The event was held at the Vietnam Women’s Academy on World Social Work Day, the third Tuesday of March every year and falls on March 21 this year.

Vietnam’s Social Work Day is celebrated on March 25.

The forum gathers representatives of social work associations and experts from 11 countries, including Russia, India, the Republic of Korea, and the Philippines, for discussions on new models, initiatives and good case practices in the field.

Ton Ngoc Hanh, vice president of Vietnam Women’s Union, said: “The world is witnessing major changes in the socio-political situation and the post-COVID era.

“This requires all of us to strive further and join hands in actions for people, especially the vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.”

An overview of social work as a profession in the country by Dr Nguyen Hai Huu, Vice President of Vietnam Association for Vocational Education and Training & Social Work, revealed that there are currently about 235,000 social workers nationwide.

Among them, approximately 35,000 work at social services facilities, nearly 100,000 in associations, and over 100,000 others are coordinators working for poverty reduction, child protection and fighting social evils.

According to the statistics, there is one professional or semi-professional social worker for every 425 people in the country.

A study jointly conducted by the University of Social Sciences and Humanities (under Vietnam National University - Hanoi) and the Vietnam Women’s Academy shows that many people in the country are aware of their right to social security, especially in terms of employment support.

Among the 2,100 survey respondents, 66.3% know about the right to borrow money at preferential interest rates for product development; while 68.8% are aware of their right to extend the loan repayment period for production development loans; and 54% know they have the right to assist the construction of barns, the improvement of aquaculture ponds and production land.

In this aspect, social workers assist with policy advocacy and consultation and prepare documents and link support resources for the individuals.

However, the study pointed out that there are still limitations in terms of capacity and service delivery in the field that need to be addressed.

Other social work experts also shared case studies from their respective countries, such as social welfare policies for the disabled in South Korea, preventive intervention programmes for children in conflict with the law in the Philippines, and competency development for social workers in Russia.

Vietnam - Belgium ties turn into effective economic partnership: Friendship association leader

Over the last 50 years, relations between Vietnam and Belgium have developed from pure humanitarian cooperation into an increasingly effective economic partnership, said President of the Belgium - Vietnam Friendship Association (ABV) Pierre Gréga.

Bilateral cooperation has been developing diversely, with economic and trade ties covering a large proportion aside from political, cultural, scientific, and training connections, he told the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the countries’ diplomatic relationship (March 22).

Cooperation has been promoted at both the governmental and local levels, he noted, elaborating that the Flanders and Wallonia regions along with the French-speaking community of Belgium have been implementing many projects assisting Vietnam.

The two sides also boast much potential for tourism and healthcare cooperation, Gréga went on.

With regard to politics, he touched upon the collaboration in settling war consequences in Vietnam, including the Agent Orange (AO) issue.

In their recent visit to Vietnam, an ABV delegation had a working session with the Vietnam Peace Committee and the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) and affirmed that many projects will be carried out, especially those assisting AO/dioxin victims.

The ABV pledges to support Tran To Nga, who is struggling against chemicals companies of the US to seek justice for AO/dioxin victims in Vietnam, he said, adding that the association is liaising with a company in Belgium to implement a dioxin detoxification project in Dong Nai province.  

Describing economic cooperation potential as huge, Gréga said that at a workshop held at the Hanoi-based Foreign Trade University on February 23, a brewery in Hainaut province of Belgium managed to connect with a Vietnamese firm to form partnership.

Besides, Namur city, home to a number of unique festivals, is also continuing to bolster ties with Hue, its twin city in Vietnam, according to the ABV President.

He also expressed his intention to connect friendship associations in European countries such as France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, Spain, and Hungary with Vietnam to increase exchanges within both bilateral and multilateral frameworks.

The ABV will join the Vietnam - Belgium Friendship Association in further stepping up people-to-people exchanges and assisting each other to fulfill their role in helping foster bilateral cooperation, Gréga added.

Vietnam calls for stronger ASEAN – EU relations

Vietnam is willing to share its experience as well as work closely with other ASEAN member countries to continue promoting the ASEAN-EU strategic partnership, a Vietnamese diplomat has said.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium Nguyen Van Thao, who is also head of Vietnam's Delegation to the EU, made the statement at a workshop to review the relations between ASEAN and EU over the last four decades in Brussels on March 21.
Speaking on behalf of ASEAN at the discussion on trade cooperation, Thao highlighted the great potential for the two sides to further step up trade cooperation, which he said is a driver of the ASEAN- EU relations.

According to the diplomat, the two sides are now the third largest trade partners of each other. They have mutual complementarity in key export products, and at the same time have the needs and policies to diversify supply chains. The EU is also the second biggest foreign investor in ASEAN with more than 380 billion EUR invested in ASEAN as of 2021.

He proposed that the two sides should set up a free trade agreement (FTA) on the basis of bilateral FTAs that the EU has signed with ASEAN member nations, including Vietnam.

The diplomat called on the EU to increase its support for ASEAN and promote connectivity with the bloc by supporting the implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC) and the EU's Global Gateway Programme.

Efforts need to be taken by both sides, and dialogue should be intensified to narrow the gap and enhance understanding and respect for each other's culture, Thao said.

Addressing the event, Vice President of the European Parliament (EP) Heidi Hautala said ASEAN and the EU have enjoyed an equal partnership in which trade is the main driving force.

Hautala stressed the need to effectively implement results of the EU-ASEAN Commemorative Summit and the EU-ASEAN Plan of Action 2023-2027.

The EU is willing to cooperate with ASEAN for mutual benefits, towards the goal of sustainable development, she said.

Jan Zahradil, Vice-Chair of the EP’s Committee on International Trade welcomed the idea of an EU-ASEAN parliamentary council, saying that the long-term goal of FTAs between regions should not be abandoned.

Participants said that there is a lot of untapped potential in the ASEAN-EU relations, so the two sides should further foster all-around cooperation to bring practical benefits to their people.

Jointly held by the ASEAN Brussels Committee (ABC), the EP and the EIAS, the event saw the participation of 200 delegates from the EP, the EU’s European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission (EC), embassies, universities, research institutes and businesses in Brussels.

Vietnam, Belgium enjoy fruitful 50-year-ties: Ambassador

Over the past 50 years, Vietnam and Belgium have enjoyed fruitful partnership across all fields from politics, diplomacy to economy, culture and people-to-people exchange, said Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg Nguyen Van Thao.

The ambassador noted that although Belgium is a small country with a population of only more than 10 million, the European country is a partner with great cooperation potential for Vietnam. As the centre of Europe, Belgium has acted as a gateway for Vietnam to the European Union (EU).

According to him, Vietnam and Belgium are both members of the International Organisation of the Francophonie (IOF), and share many similarities in culture, which are favourable conditions for them to bolster their friendship. He added that the two countries have regularly exchanged high-ranking delegations.

Agriculture is one of the successful cooperation areas between the two countries, said the diplomat, noting that the two sides set up their strategic partnership in agriculture from 2018. Belgium is one of the two strongest countries in Europe in agriculture, making it a great partner for Vietnam to build and develop an agricultural economy, he said.

In terms of economy, after the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) took effect, two-way trade surged 60% in 2022 to over 6 billion EUR (6.46 billion USD) from 3.9 billion EUR in 2021.

Located in the centre of Europe, Belgium is a hub for high technologies, including those for semi-conductor chip production. In the recent visit to the Belgium of the Prime Minister, Vietnam and Belgium signed a cooperation agreement on semi-conductor chip research and production in Vietnam, which is expected to become a bright spot in bilateral partnership, he said.

The diplomat also thought that green, digital and circular economy is also a promising area for bilateral cooperation.

 Vietnamese Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg Nguyen Van Thao (Photo: VNA)
At the same time, culture cooperation has also drawn great attention from both countries, helping connect localities of the two countries. Namur city of Belgium and Hue city of Vietnam have set up twin relations and regularly conducted exchanges in culture, art and heritage conservation, he said.

In April, the Mayor of Namur will lead an art delegation to the Hue Festival, while a Vietnam Day will be held in Belgium to introduce the Vietnamese cultural identity to Belgian friends, said the ambassador, holding that promoting cultural exchange will help people of the two countries deepen their mutual understanding, paving the way for the development of ties in other fields.

The diplomat also pointed to other promising areas in bilateral cooperation, including education and training.

In addition, Vietnam and Belgium have maintained close coordination and cooperation within multilateral organisations. Both countries have been elected to the UN Human Rights Council in the 2023-2024 tenure, he noted, expressing belief that cooperation between the two sides within the council will contribute to the development of human rights in the world as well as the growth of bilateral ties.

Ambassador Thao said that this year, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations, about 50 activities will be held in Vietnam in many forms, including a number of high-level visits and those to boost cultural, trade, investment and tourism collaboration. The visit of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to Belgium last December was a great start of the series of events.

Regarding measures to further bolster the Vietnam-Belgium relations, Ambassador Thao said that proper preparations and appropriate investment are needed to optimise  cooperation potential with Belgium in all fields, especially agriculture and high technology, ensuring benefits for all parties.

Effective management crucial to prevent future water shortage: Official

Vietnam’s water demand is likely to reach about 122 billion cu.m each year from 2030, 1.5 times higher than the current amount, which means water shortage may become severe if the country fails to effectively manage the resources, said Deputy Director of the Department of Water Resources Management under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) Nguyen Minh Khuyen.

Khuyen noted that Vietnam is exploiting 84 billion cu.m of water each year, including 3.8 billion cu.m of underground and 80.6 billion cu.m of surface water. The peak water-consumption time is in the dry season from July to September when over 80% of water is used for agricultural activities, he said.

The official underlined that some localities have still faced difficulties in accessing clean and safe water, especially those in the central and southcentral regions. Particularly, the situation is even worse in the Mekong Delta region where saltwater intrusion is increasingly severe.

It is forecast that 11 out of the 16 major river basins of Vietnam will experience water stress, especially in the four main river basins from which 80% of Vietnam's GDP is generated, including the Red – Thai Binh river basin, Mekong River basin, Dong Nai River basin and the basins of rivers in the southeast region, he said.

As part of the efforts to better manage water resources, the Law on Water Resources was issued in 2012. So far, the Government and the MoNRE have promulgated nearly 70 documents, while localities have also issued nearly 500 others to guide the implementation of the law.

To date, six out of the 15 water resources planning have been approved. At the same time, among the 63 cities and provinces nationwide, said Khuyen.

However, he cited a comment from the World Bank (WB) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) that Vietnam is a country with low water usage efficiency, especially the agricultural sector.

According to the World Bank's assessment in 2019, water used in agriculture accounted for 81% of Vietnam's total water consumption, but the sector currently generated only 17-18% of GDP and created jobs for 45% of the labour force.

Meanwhile, water wastage has remained, and the rate of water loss in urban and rural areas has still been high, at about 25%. The efficiency of water exploitation is much lower than the designed capacity of water works, especially those for irrigation and agriculture, said Khuyen.

He said that currently, the MoNRE is working on a draft revised Law on Water Resources, focusing on four key policies of ensuring water source security; socialising the water sector; promoting water economy; and protecting water resources and preventing harms caused by water.

In respond to this year’s World Water Day, themed “Accelerating Changes”, through various forms and methods, the MoNRE has spread messages of saving water to protect the planet, contributing to promoting social progress, and accessing safe water. Small actions will lead to great changes, he concluded.

Workshop seeks measures to boost Vietnam-India relations

The Vietnam - India Friendship Association in Ho Chi Minh City and the Southern Institute of Social Sciences under the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) on March 21 held a workshop "Vietnam - India Relations: Tradition and Present", seeking measures to boost the two countries’ relations.

Participants discussed the potential, resources, and strengths of Vietnam and India in the development process of each country. They also touched upon directions and opportunities to intensify their cooperation in the coming time.

Associate Professor, Dr. Tran Nam Tien from University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH) under the Vietnam National University-HCM City said that from the establishment of their diplomatic relations in 1972 to that of  their strategic partnership in 2007, and the comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016, the political-diplomatic relationship between the two countries has been increasingly consolidated and developed, creating a strong impetus for cooperation in various fields.

The relationship was founded by President Ho Chi Minh and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and has been cultivated by generations of their leaders through the exchange of high-level delegations and commitments to support each other in multilateral and international forums.

Researcher Dong Thi Thuy Linh from the VASS's Institute of Indian and Southwest Asian Studies said that trade and investment relations are among the main pillars of Vietnam - India relations and have continuously grown steadily over the last decade.

By the end of 2021, the two-way trade reached 13.2 billion USD and is heading for 20 billion USD in the coming time. India is the 27th largest foreign investor out of the 140 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with more than 300 projects and a total registered investment capital of nearly 1 billion USD.

Forum marks International Day of Forests

The Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VAF) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) jointly held a forum in response to the International Day of Forests on March 21 in Hanoi, with the theme of “Healthy Forests for Healthy People”.

Pham Hong Luong, Chief of the VAF Office, said that “Healthy Forests for Healthy People” is a very meaningful message in the context that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people's health and all aspects of the social life.

According to the UN’s Global Forests Goals Report 2021, the importance of forests for the well-being of people and the planet is clear. Some 1.6 billion people worldwide depend directly on forests for food, shelter, energy, medicines and income. Forests provide clean air and fresh water and help to avert desertification. They are home to 80% of all known terrestrial species, and they regulate the climate, absorbing one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Recognising the importance of forests, over the past years, Vietnam has actively and responsibly made many commitments to and strongly supported global initiatives on climate change response, including the protection and sustainable development of forests, said Luong.

Nguyen Song Ha, Assistant to the FAO Representative in Vietnam, said that the theme of the 2023 International Day of Forests stresses that forest and environmental degradation, caused by unsustainable forestry activities, will result in climate change, loss of biodiversity and emergence of new diseases.

Ha said that there are currently three measures related to forests and vegetation that can support forest health and environmental restoration, including ending deforestation and maintaining existing forest areas; restoring degraded soil and developing agro-forestry; and boosting sustainable forest use and building green value chains.

Over the past years, the FAO has worked closely with the Vietnamese Government to support activities promoting a healthy and sustainable forestry sector. Together with other UN organisations, the FAO is committed to being a long-term partner of the Vietnamese Government, and maintaining its assistance for healthy forests in Vietnam, he added.

Photo exhibition to feature world heritage sites in Vietnam, Laos

A photo exhibition highlighting world heritage sites in Vietnam and Laos is set to open on April 20 in the Laotian capital of Vientiane as part of activities aimed at strengthening cultural exchanges between the two countries.      

On display will be a total of 180 photographs featuring UNESCO-recognised world heritage sites in both Laos and Vietnam.

The exhibition set to run through to April 30,, is expected to promote images of Vietnamese landscape and people to international friends.

During the course of the 10-day event, three Vietnamese photographers will be invited to attend cultural exchanges scheduled to take place in Vientiane and Luang Phrabang city, as well as in Champasack and Xiengkhuang provinces.

First heat wave bakes Vietnam in 2023, temperature rises to 39℃

A heat wave, the first of its kind this year, is spreading northern and central regions of Vietnam, causing temperatures to rise sharply to 36 - 39℃.

The hot low pressure area is forecast to bake the western part of the northern region and the whole of the central region, with daily temperatures rising to 37℃ or even 39℃, and humidity falling to between 35-50%.

According to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, daytime temperatures of 35-39℃ and beyond will be recorded in central provinces from Thanh Hoa to Quang Ngai, while those in northern provinces will hover around 35-37℃.

In Hanoi, daytime temperatures will also rise to 35-36℃ on March 22 and 35-37℃ or even above 37℃ on March 23.

Meanwhile, the ongoing heatwave is spreading across southern Vietnam, especially in the South-eastern area, with the highest daytime temperature going up to more than 37℃.

The heat wave is expected to gradually increase in intensity on March 23 before decreasing in the northern region on March 24 and in the central and southern regions on March 25.

Due to the influence of the heatwave and low humidity in the air, weather experts warned about a risk of fires in residential areas and forests. In addition, the hot sun will also cause dehydration, exhaustion and heat strokes is people are exposed to high temperatures for a long time.

Ca Mau Festival 2023 to host numerous activities

A wide range of activities, including a hot-air balloon festival and a shrimp festival, are set to take place in the southernmost province of Ca Mau within the framework of the “Ca Mau – Destination 2023” programme as part of efforts to promote the locality’s tourism potential.      

Moving forward, a hot-air balloon festival is scheduled to get underway to mark the occasion of National Reunification Day on April 30 and May Day on May 1. This will give visitors the opportunity to experience flying in hot air balloons to see Ca Mau province from above.

Music performances and food stalls at Khai Long beach are also expected to serve locals and tourists during the course of the festival.

The first-ever shrimp festival will be organised in June, including forums, trade fairs, and a cooking contest.

This marks the third time that the annual programme will be held in Ca Mau province, with the ultimate aim of creating chances for businesses to meet, connect, and co-operate in developing trade and tourism.

Vietnam to face Japan in U17 ASEAN Jenesys’ finals

The Vietnamese U17 women’s football team are set to play host nation Japan in the final round of the U17 ASEAN Jenesys international tournament after defeating Singapore 4-0 in the semi-finals on March 20.      

Lining up in a 4-3-3 formation, the team showed great effectiveness in the semi-final match against Singapore.

Striker Le Thi Trang opened the scoring in the 12th minute before doubling the score six minutes later.

Her teammate Le Hong Yeu then helped to raise the score to 3-0 in the final minutes of the first half. Defender Deo Ky Chun then concluded the scoring to make it 4-0 in favour of Vietnam in the 43rd minute.

The young Vietnamese footballers are attending the U17-ASEAN Jenesys international tournament from March 17 to March 22 following an invitation by the Japan Football Association (JFA).

A total of 12 other U17 football teams from Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, the Philippines, Timor Leste, and Japan, as well as Japanese female football club Okinawa, also competed in the competition.

After the final on March 22, the Vietnamese team will then head to Tokyo to continue their training camp before returning to Hanoi on March 25.

They will then join up with the remaining players in Vietnam to prepare for the qualification round for the 2024 AFC U17 Women's Asian Cup, with the first round scheduled to be played between April 22 and April 30 and the second round slated for September 16 to September 24. 

In the first round, the Vietnamese team have been drawn in Group C alongside Bahrain, Palestine, and Uzbekistan. All matches of Group C will be held at Vietnam Youth Football Training Center on April 22, April 24, and April 26, respectively.

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