General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong held high-level phone talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on October 20 as the two countries are celebrating the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary of strategic partnership this year.

Trong hailed the success of the French Government and President Macron in conducting reforms in various socio-economic sectors to help France develop stronger and enhance its role in strengthening the European Union, contributing to dealing with challenges faced by Europe and other regions across the world.

On the occasion, the Party leader thanked France for supporting Vietnam over the past years, including during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He informed the French President about Vietnam’s outstanding and comprehensive achievements after over 35 years of renewal and post-pandemic economic recovery, as well as the Southeast Asian country's development goals by the middle of the 21st century and its foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation and development, and multilateralisation and diversification of relations.

The General Secretary highlighted the importance of peace, friendship, cooperation and compliance with the principles of international law and the United Nations Charter in addressing international issues, including ensuring peace and security in the East Sea.

The Vietnamese leader affirmed that both sides have actively realised the contents of the Joint Statement reached by leaders of the two nations during his visit to France in 2018.

Vietnam attaches great importance to and gives a high priority to the Vietnam-France strategic partnership, and supports France's initiatives for peace, cooperation and development in the region and the world, he said.

The two leaders discussed major directions and measures to expand and improve the efficiency of the bilateral cooperation.

Macron, for his part, affirmed that France treasures Vietnam’s international role and position and its strategic partnership with the Southeast Asian nation. He underlined France's commitment to accompany Vietnam in implementing the country's strategic development goals.

He said the phone talks provided an important occasion for the two leaders to discuss the strategic orientations to develop the bilateral relations in the next two decades.

The French President agreed that both countries need to continue strengthening political trust and people-to-people exchange, and promoting strong changes in cooperation in different fields such as national defence-security, economy, trade, investment, aviation, energy transition, sci-tech, culture and technology.

He expressed his support for Vietnam's increased collaboration with the EU, including the implementation of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the ratification of the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), and cooperation in seafood fishing. He wished that both countries would work more closely together in multilateral frameworks, especially the Francophone community.

Both leaders promised to instruct relevant agencies to actively realise the agreed contents. Trong took this occasion to reiterate his invitation to the French President to visit Vietnam, and the latter accepted it with pleasure.

First-ever ASEAN-GCC Summit marks historical milestone: PM

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh highlighted the significance of the first-ever Summit between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) held in Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh on October 20, saying that it marked a historical milestone. 

In his speech, PM Chinh stressed that ASEAN and GCC need to join hands in promoting resilience, harnessing resources for growth, and taking substantive actions with the highest political determination and vigorous efforts. By doing so, the two regions could create tangible breakthroughs and become a highlight for regional and global collaboration.

ASEAN and the GCC should continue to create more favourable conditions to ensure that economic, trade, and investment ties will remain the key pillar and driver connecting the two regions, and complementing each other in the bid for mutual development, he said, adding that this will lay the foundation for investment funds and businesses from GCC countries to expand their business and investment in ASEAN, and allow ASEAN goods and services to enjoy greater presence in the Gulf.

Besides, both sides should give priority to together building a green, digital, circular, and sharing economy, pursuing sustainable agriculture, and expediting energy transition, he said. 

Focus should be given to economic, trade, and investment ties, tourism, culture, education, and people-to-people exchange, the PM said.

It is also necessary to quickly institutionalise ASEAN - GCC cooperation via regular, substantive, and effective mechanisms in specific areas. Given their advantages as successful regional organisations, ASEAN and the GCC should support each other in upholding both sides’ central role and making meaningful contributions to peace, stability, and development in both regions and the world as a whole, according to the government leader.

He stressed that Vietnam strongly opposes all acts of violence and calls upon parties concerned to immediately put an end to violence against civilians, humanitarian establishments, and critical infrastructures. 

Only negotiation, dialogue, peaceful settlement of disputes, and a two-state solution on the basis of international law and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)’s relevant resolutions can pave the way for lasting peace in the Middle East and among all parties concerned, he believed. 

At the summit, leaders of ASEAN and GCC agreed to maintain the regular exchange of views and meetings, including the plan to hold the ASEAN-GCC Summit biennially.

They underlined the need to focus on economic, trade, and investment cooperation, ensuring sustainable supply chains, connectivity, maritime cooperation, energy and food security, Halal industry, sci-tech and innovation, tourism, labour, energy transition, and climate change adaptation.

Amid complicated developments in the region and the world, both sides pledged to enhance multilateral cooperation, promote dialogue and cooperation, build trust, uphold the rule of law, respect independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, not interfere in each other's affairs, join hands to address global and regional challenges, and effectively contribute to peace, security, stability, and sustainable development.

Countries underscored the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety, freedom of navigation and overflight in the region while settling disputes through peaceful means in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

They expressed concern over recent developments in the Gaza Strip, strongly condemned acts of violence against civilians, called on parties to immediately hold a ceasefire, put an end to acts of violence, respect the international humanitarian law, resume negotiations, settle disagreements via peaceful measures in line with international law and relevant resolutions of the United Nations in a bid to achieve a equitable, satisfactory and long-lasting solution to the Middle East peace process and ensure the lives, security and safety of people.  

The summit adopted a Joint Statement that reflected the outcomes of exchanging views among leaders and outlined orientations for the development of ASEAN-GCC relations in the future, for the sake of peace, cooperation and mutual development.

PM meets with overseas Vietnamese in Saudi Arabia

PM meets with overseas Vietnamese in Saudi Arabia hinh anh 1
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh meets with representatives of the Vietnamese community in Saudi Arabia. (Photo: VNA)

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh met with officials and staff of the Vietnamese Embassy and representatives of the Vietnamese community in Saudi Arabia on October 20, as part of his trip to the Middle East country to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit.

PM Chinh told them that the Vietnamese Party and State always pay attention to overseas Vietnamese and those living in Saudi Arabia in particular, affirming that the Vietnamese communities abroad in general and those in Saudi Arabia are an inseparable part of the Vietnamese nation, an important resource contributing to the cause of national construction, defence and development.

He wished that with the support of the embassy, the OVs would continue to play a important role in building a stable and prosperous community.

According to Vietnamese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dang Xuan Dung, the Vietnamese community in Saudi Arabia, at its peak, reached around 20,000 people, but currently, it consists of about 5,000. They are not permanent residents but are working and living in Saudi Arabia for employment purpose. 

This was the final activity of PM Chinh’s trip to Saudi Arabia. In the evening, he and his entourage departed the Middle East nation for home.

Vietnam, Saudi Arabia seek stronger cooperation

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh held talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman on October 20 as part of his visit to the Middle East country, where he also attended the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit.

Speaking highly of the bilateral relations, both leaders said that Vietnam and Saudi Arabia hold huge potential and opportunities to further develop their friendship and cooperation for the benefits of the two nations' people.

They held that it is necessary to consolidate the sound political – diplomatic relations by increasing the exchange of delegations at all levels, open their markets and promote trade ties.

Besides, they agreed to join hands to build a cooperation roadmap, define specific cooperation projects and areas as well as business opportunities between enterprises of the two countries, and strive to bolster collaboration between the two governments and businesses communities with a view to bringing the bilateral relations to a new high.

Congratulating Saudi Arabia’s outstanding achievements to make the country become an important partner in the region and the world, Chinh suggested Saudi Arabia’s investment funds inject capital into fields that Vietnam is prioritising for development such as green economy, innovation, high technology, industry, and renewable energy.

He also asked the House of Saud and the Saudi Arabian Government to continue creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese citizens to live and work in Saudi Arabia, making contributions to the development of the host nation as well as the friendship between the two countries.

Mohammed bin Salman, for his part, affirmed that Vietnam is a leading partner of Saudi Arabia in Southeast Asia, expressing his hope that his country will accompany Vietnam in the future.

He said he will direct Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to expand investment in Vietnam, especially in the fields of traditional energy and renewable energy.

A world leading energy corporation of Saudi Arabia, which is investing and running business in Asia, wants to expand its investment to the Vietnamese market, he added.
Chinh took this occasion to invite the Saudi Arabian leader to pay an official visit to Vietnam in 2024 when the two countries celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The Saudi Arabian leader said he always wants to visit Vietnam, and will arrange a trip to the nation next year.

Vietnamese, Cambodian PMs meet on sidelines of ASEAN-GCC Summit

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his Cambodian counterpart Samdech Thipadei Hun Manet have agreed to foster cooperation and connect the two economies, helping each other to develop an independent and self-resilient economy in association with deep international integration.

At their meeting on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on October 20, the two leaders informed each other about development steps in the bilateral ties, with political trust enhanced through meetings between senior leaders of the two countries.

The two PMs agreed to effectively carry out the signed agreements, create more favourable conditions for investment and business activities of enterprises from the two nations, especially those in the fields of border trade and economic development in border areas.

Besides, they concurred to join hands to concretise the “One Journey, Three Destinations” tourism cooperation initiative among Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam; create conditions for Vietnamese people in Cambodia to stably live and do business in the host nation, and promote people-to-people exchanges, especially among the youth, so as to nurture the affection and trust between the Vietnamese and Cambodian people.

At the meeting, Chinh congratulated Hun Manet on his achievements in maintaining stability, boosting socio-economic development and improving living conditions of the Cambodian people.

He also conveyed the regards from Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and other high-ranking leaders of Vietnam to Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk, President of the Cambodian People’s Party, and incumbent and former leaders of Cambodia.

Vietnam considers relations with China as top priority: President

Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong met with General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and President of China Xi Jinping on October 20 while in Beijing to attend the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

At the meeting, Thuong affirmed that the Vietnamese Party, State and people always attach great importance to and consider the consolidation and development of Vietnam-China relations as a strategic choice and a top priority in its foreign policy.

He recommended both sides to deepen the essence so as to elevate the Vietnam – China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, while enhancing exchanges and meetings at all levels, and bolstering practical cooperation with a focus placed on developing economy and trade ties in a more sustainable and balanced way.

It is necessary to promote the import of goods, especially China's import of Vietnamese agricultural products, to bring practical benefits to farmers and consumers of both nations, he said, adding the two countries should strengthen transport connectivity, accelerate the disbursement of Chinese assistance funds to Vietnam, and join hands to remove bottlenecks for several cooperation projects.

Thuong also suggested both sides work together to create favourable conditions for the fruitfully growing bilateral relations, enhance communications work on the friendship, and organise more people-to-people exchange activities so that their people, especially the youth, have a deeper and more complete insight into the traditional friendship between the two nations.

The Vietnamese leader also called for concerted efforts from both sides to effectively control and satisfactorily settle differences at sea, respect each other's legitimate and legal interests in line with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and join hands with relevant nations to build the East Sea into a sea of peace, friendship, cooperation and development.

For his part, Xi affirmed that China always considers Vietnam a priority in its foreign policy, and supports Vietnam’s strong development and successful implementation of the industrialisation - modernisation process.

China treasured and highly evaluated General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit to the Friendship International Border Gate, he said, adding that it showed the Vietnamese Party and State have attached importance to the Vietnam – China relations.

Xi agreed to increase the exchange of delegations at all level to enhance mutual understanding and consolidate political trust between the two sides.

Laying stress on the significance of practical cooperation for mutual benefits, Xi affirmed that China is willing to promote the import of goods from Vietnam, including agricultural products and industrial and manufacturing products.

He urged both sides to connect the Belt and Road Initiative with the “Two corridors, One Belt” framework, build specific cooperation planning schemes, step up strategic cooperation in infrastructure development and transport connectivity, and share experience in reforming state-owned enterprises.

Both leaders highlighted the importance of increasing people-to-people exchanges, and satisfactorily settling and well controlling differences for peace and stability at sea and in the region.

They also discussed several international and regional issues of mutual concern, and agreed to make efforts to promote peace, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

Firetrap Hanoi apartment block begins dismantling illegal floors

The investor of a nine-storey apartment building illegally built in Hanoi's outlying district of Thach That has started demolishing floors from the site.

My Home Apartments Building was licensed to have three floors and an attic on an area of over 700 square metres in April 2023. However, Nguyen Minh Cong, the apartment block’s investor, increased the building to eight floors and an attic.

The owner is now in the process of removing all the illegally-constructed floors by the end of this year.

Construction had been completed with a total of 200 apartments of between 25-55 square metres each. Apartments were offered for rent at between VND2.9-5.5 million per month.

The planning violations were recently revealed by the media and then on October 13, Hanoi People’s Committee Chairman Tran Sy Thanh demanded an investigation into the illegal construction.

Thach That District’s authorities said that they had noticed the investor's planning violations and had issued a decision to revoke the construction licence of the building in June, but the investor ignored local authority requests to stop construction work.

However, local authorities admitted that they had not taken responsibility to strictly deal with the investor’s violations.

The chairmen of Tan Xa, Thach Hoa, and Binh Yen communes in the district have been suspended as an investigation is being carried out into the case.

Hanoi Chairman Thanh also ordered an investigation into all mini apartment blocks that have recently mushroomed in Thach That District.

Hanoi Department of Construction has also been asked to co-operate with Thach That to check all local apartment blocks and report to the municipal people’s committee before October 30.

PM meets with leaders of Gulf countries

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh met with leaders of Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman on the occasion of his attendance at the ASEAN- Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit held in Saudi Arabia’s capital city of Riyadh on October 20.

Meeting Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, PM Chinh affirmed that Vietnam attaches importance to its cooperation with Qatar and considers the country an important partner in the Middle East. He expressed wish to welcome the Emir of Qatar to Vietnam in November to push cooperation in trade, investment and labour.

Vietnam is ready to create favourable conditions for Qatari enterprises and investment funds, particularly the Qatar Investment Authority, to raise their investments in Vietnam through diverse forms, he said.

Emir Hamad al-Thani expressed readiness to remove any barriers to further cultivate Vietnam-Qatar cooperation, especially in areas proposed by PM Chinh.

Both sides agreed to establish joint working groups in potential areas such as digital transformation, renewable energy, infrastructure, and to sign agreements that facilitate the entry of citizens from both countries to step up bilateral ties in the near future.

 Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. (Photo: VNA)
Talking with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, PM Chinh suggested facilitating the exchange of high-ranking delegations, cultural exchange and tourism. He wished that UAE's investment funds would increase their investments in sectors of Vietnam’s need such as green transition, digital transformation and circular economy.

The UAE President affirmed the priority to elevating comprehensive cooperation with Vietnam to new heights, adding that he will instruct the country's investment funds to actively explore opportunities in Vietnam.      

On the occasion, both sides vowed to expedite negotiations and soon sign the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), beef up collaboration in potential areas such as digital transformation, data centre construction, innovation, sci-tech, and research in food security.

Meeting Deputy Prime Minister of Oman Prince Sayyid Shihab bin Tarik Al Said, the Vietnamese leader suggested that in the coming time, both sides continue facilitating visits at various levels and improve the effectiveness of bilateral cooperation mechanisms such as the Joint Committee and Political Consultation, as well as carry forward cooperation in trade to achieve a significant breakthrough in two-way trade turnover.

Al Said said the Omani Government attaches importance to furthering cooperation with Vietnam, especially in economy and investment.

He consented to create favourable conditions and consider opening up the market for goods of strength while promoting collaboration in the Halal sector and enhancing the efficiency of the Vietnam-Oman Investment Fund (VOI). Both sides also agreed to expand cooperation in education and enhance exchanges between the younger generations.

PM meets with leaders of ASEAN member states

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had bilateral meetings with Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr., Indonesian President Joko Widodo, and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, on the occasion of his attendance at the ASEAN-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia on October 20.

PM Chinh and the Philippine President instructed the relevant ministries and agencies to step up the signing of an inter-governmental agreement on rice trade to enhance the proactive role of Vietnam and the Philippines in rice production and export.

The two leaders affirmed that the upcoming Vietnam visit by President Marcos Jr. will generate a new impetus to further develop the extensive and effective relationship between the two countries, bringing tangible benefits to their people and making positive contributions to peace, security and stability in the region.

The Vietnamese and Indonesian leaders also vowed to actively discuss measures to reinforce ties in the coming time. They will effectively implement the signed agreements and accelerate the early ratification of the agreement on delineation of exclusive economic zones, contributing to bringing practical benefits to their people.

The two leaders affirmed their active coordination to boost trade cooperation, agreeing to assign relevant ministries to negotiate and move toward the signing of a long-term trade agreement on rice export, as well as expand the export-import of agricultural products to each other's market.

PM Chinh congratulated Indonesia on its success as the Chair of ASEAN 2023. On global and regional issues, they vowed to continue working closely together at various global and regional forums, particularly at the United Nations and ASEAN, as well as in global and regional issues of shared interest.

During their conversation, PM Chinh and his Singaporean counterpart discussed orientations to upgrade bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership at an appropriate time.

Speaking highly of the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP)’s positive contributions, they agreed to instruct relevant agencies to study the possibility of establishing an association of both countries’ industrial zones, thereby improving the efficiency of VSIP operations using smart, green and sustainable models, and promoting the development of industrial-urban ecosystems. They also consented to jointly build a shared database between the two countries to facilitate the digital transformation process of both economies.

On priorities and focuses of Vietnam-Singapore economic ties, PM Lee recognised Vietnam's huge potential in renewable energy, particularly wind and solar power. PM Chinh thanked Singapore for licensing the supply of clean electricity from Vietnam to the island state.

The two sides also underlined the importance of strengthening people-to-people exchanges, including among youth from both countries, to raise mutual understanding and deepen the enduring friendship and connection between the two nations.

President concludes China trip for Belt and Road Forum

President Vo Van Thuong and his entourage arrived in Hanoi on October 20 afternoon, successfully concluding their trip to attend the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) from October 17-20, at the invitation of General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and President of China Xi Jinping.

In Beijing, President Thuong attended the opening ceremony of BRF, which was graced by the presence of over 4,000 delegates from more than 140 countries and 30 international organisations, including more than 20 heads of state or government.

In his speech, he affirmed that Vietnam always supports initiatives that benefit peace and development in the region and the world. Vietnam welcomes and actively joins several important global mechanisms and initiatives initiated by China.

Regarding the digital economy as a new growth driver, he said Vietnam sets digital economy as new space; digital human resources, technology and data as new production forces, and digital innovation as new impetus. He proposed cooperation in digital economy based on the three pillars of digital institutions, digital infrastructure, and digital human resources.

On the occasion, he held numerous meetings with heads of state and delegations from different countries and international organisations, during which they discussed ways to improve the efficiency of comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and other countries and regions around the world.

In particular, he held meetings with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan, Prime Minister Hun Manet of Cambodia, and received Party General Secretary and President of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith. He also met with President Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

The Vietnamese leader also held an important meeting with Chinese Party General Secretary and President of China Xi.

He also had conversations with member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China Zhao Leji; member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, member the Committee’s Secretariat and Chief of the Committee’s Office Cai Qi.

While in Beijing, the Vietnamese delegation visited a typical model of new-style rural development in Chaoyang county, met with leaders of leading Chinese telecom and IT corporations such as ZTE and Huawei, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Monument Park of Heroic Martyr Vo Thi Sau invested over US$18 mln

The People's Committee of Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province has just issued a decision approving the project of Monument Park and Memorial House of Heroic Martyr Vo Thi Sau in Dat Do Town, Dat Do District.
This project is invested by Dat Do District People's Committee.

The work has a total investment capital of more than VND440 billion (US$18 million) from the provincial budget, comprising site clearance and compensation costs of VND354 billion (US$14.5 million) and the remaining being fee of construction contingency and some other costs.

The project will focus on expansion, new construction and renovation of the memorial house, park and monument of Heroic Martyr Vo Thi Sau on a total land area of more than 1.7 hectares.

The People's Committee of Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province required the investor to implement the project in accordance with current regulations and strive to inaugurate it by June of 2025.

According to the People's Committee of Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province, the project is to create favorable conditions for residents, domestic and international tourists to visit as well as to contribute to educating the young generations about patriot traditions and the example of heroine Vo Thi Sau.

Government encourages people to participate in voluntary insurance

Deputy Heads of the city's National Assembly Delegation Van Thi Bach Tuyet said that currently, the government encourages people to participate in voluntary insurance as buying extra national insurance years is the best way to boost your pension.

The Ho Chi Minh City National Assembly delegation in collaboration with the Ho Chi Minh City Labor Union organized a meeting with voters of workers and business owners to comment on the draft Social Insurance Law (amended).

At the meeting, Chairwoman of the Labor Union of Intel Vietnam Company in Tan Thuan EPZ Pham Thi Hong Yen said that there are two options for employees they can choose between receiving lifetime income (also called an annuity) and a lump-sum payment to pay for their day-to-day life after they stop working. Employees who need to cover their lives must choose to receive one-time social insurance. Currently, many employees are willing to take one year off to receive a lump-sum payment before the Social Insurance Law (amended) is expected to take effect in 2025. Therefore, according to her, the government should keep the regulations on one-time withdrawal of social insurance as at present to stabilize the labor force for businesses.

Many workers voiced their opinions that the Social Insurance Law should reduce the number of years of social insurance payment to 15 years to create conditions for many employees to receive pensions.

According to worker Ngo Thi My Kha from Lac Ty Company in Binh Tan District, currently, the pensions of the majority of workers are still low, not enough to live on. That's why workers are not interested in participating long term insurance. Therefore, she proposed that the draft law needs to stipulate that the lowest pension level must be equal to the regional minimum wage to motivate laborers to buy social insurance for a long time.

In addition, many workers raised their opinions about increased maternity benefits for female workers. Specifically, they proposed to increase the number of prenatal check-ups to receive social insurance benefits during pregnancy. Chairman of the Trade Union of Binh Chanh District-located Dai Dung Construction Mechanical Joint Stock Company Nguyen Van Hung revealed that currently, most female workers use their leave to take care of sick children while the government lets workers have days off to rest and relax to regenerate their labor force. Therefore, Mr. Hung proposed extending social insurance leave to care for sick children until the child turns 15 years old, instead of 7 years old as currently.

Ms. Tran Thi Dieu Thuy assessed that the comments at the meeting were very close to reality. She requested that grassroots trade unions continue to coordinate with the City Labor Confederation Legal Consulting Center to organize meetings for workers at the workplace to give opinions and comments on the draft Law on Social Insurance (amended).

The Chairwoman of the Ho Chi Minh City Confederation of Labor also proposed to have a more visibly attractive social insurance law. Only when workers can feel that their rights are guaranteed, they will not receive a lump-sum payment until they receive their pension. Specifically, she believes that the Social Insurance Law should have a bonus of 5-7 percent to create an attraction for people to buy social insurance while participating in social insurance.

Deputy Heads of the city's National Assembly Delegation Van Thi Bach Tuyet said that the number of workers in Ho Chi Minh City is very large. Some workers have labor contracts and are paid social insurance while others are not paid social insurance by employers. Currently, the State encourages people to participate in voluntary social insurance to have savings when they get old.

Ms. Van Thi Bach Tuyet also emphasized that social insurance contributions are important. Therefore, it is necessary to calculate how employees can pay social insurance at a high level so that their pension will ensure their lives in the future. Thus, trade unions ought to participate in developing appropriate salary tables and policies for ensuring workers’ benefits.

HCMC hosts festival honoring Vietnamese cuisine culture

The “Glorifying Vietnamese Cuisine Culture” festival will take place at the Reunification Palace in HCMC on October 20-22.
The event organized by the HCMC Tourism Association in collaboration with the functional departments aims to honor the cuisine culture of regions throughout the country.

A wide range of activities will be held during the festival, such as granting a record to the map of Vietnamese cuisine introducing 189 dishes from 63 provinces and cities of the country, a signing ceremony on preserving and promoting Vietnamese culinary culture between the HCMC Tourism Association and partners, a food fair presenting dishes in regions across the country, a cooking contest, a display of traditional cakes and music performances.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Khanh, Chairwoman of the HCMC Tourism Association, said that the festival attracts around 100 display booths featuring hundreds of dishes from localities throughout the country. Visitors will have a chance to enjoy specialties made by professional chefs and culinary artisans of HCMC, provinces, and cities.

On this occasion, Khanh Han Group will launch a “Zero-dong startup” program to provide 500 support packages worth VND20 million each to needy people to open a street noodle store in three years.

The event is expected to attract 50,000 gastronomers.

Vietnam commits clean energy transition: Trade counselor

Vietnam has paid due attention to energy transition as part of efforts to respond to climate change, highlighted Vietnamese trade counselor in Thailand Le Huu Phuc while attending the third Asian and Pacific Energy Forum (APEF 2023) in Bangkok on October 16-20.

In his speech at the event, Phuc said that as one of the world’s top five countries most vulnerable to climate change, Vietnam is facing sea-level rise, flood, and drought, while severe weather conditions are threatening the country’s socio-economic development and environmental sustainability.  

Energy transition is the primary factor that delivers on Vietnam’s climate change response targets, he said, elaborating that energy sources have the highest carbon footprint in the country.

He stressed energy cooperation within the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is important for Vietnam and many other developing countries in the region to share experience in energy transition process as well as climate change response as a whole.

"Vietnam stands ready to bolster cooperation with partners and international organisations in the field," he said, expressing his hope that the United Nations’ organisations, especially ESCAP, will have rational orientations and policies to support the developing countries in the energy transition process, particularly assistance in terms of finance, and capacity building for policy outlining and project implementation.

“Recent crises have tested us all, resulting in economic shocks, energy supply price rises and supply chain disruptions, all of which have threatened progress on the energy transition and, more broadly, sustainable development,” said UN Under-Secretary General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana.

“These events remind us of the need for energy resilience and security to be considered alongside sustainability. For the energy sector, pursuing better energy efficiency, universal access to modern energy and increasing the share of renewable energy are strategies that can improve our collective ability to weather these shocks and recover better,” she added.

The APEF 2023 drew the participation of more than 265 delegates from 42 countries, including ministers, senior officials and experts from 37 member states of ESCAP. They reviewed the progress made in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 (Affordable and clean energy) in the Asia-Pacific region, and in implementing the Ministerial Declaration on Regional Cooperation for Energy Transition towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies in Asia and the Pacific, which was adopted at the Second Asian and Pacific Energy Forum, in 2018.

They also adopted a ministerial declaration on “Building a Secure, Sustainable and Interconnected Energy Future for Asia and the Pacific” that will guide the partnership between ESCAP and its member States in addressing these pressing energy challenges towards a sustainable energy future in the region.

The fourth Asian and Pacific Energy Forum will be held in 2027.

Vietnam values strategic partnership with Australia: Party official

The Vietnamese Party and Government treasure the Strategic Partnership with Australia, Politburo member and Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Tran Tuan Anh has said.

He made the statement during meetings with Australian officials while leading a high-ranking delegation from the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) to pay a working visit to the country on October 16-20.

Laying stress on the shared vision between the two countries amidst complicated developments in the region and the world, Anh said that stakeholders on both sides should bolster collaboration to enhance two-way trade and investment, and improve human resources quality in tandem with innovation.

Tourism, digital transformation, energy transition, climate change response, sustainable development and supply chain are potential fields for enhanced cooperation, he said, adding both nations should work to effectively carry out the new-generation free trade agreements to which Vietnam and Australia are members.

At the meetings, Anh, Premier of New South Wales Chris Minn, and Australian ministers highlighted the sound Vietnam – Australia Strategic Partnership, with the political trust being promoted through exchanges of visits at all levels.

They agreed that bilateral cooperation across economy, trade, investment, defence, security, education-training and health care has been developed into an extensive, practical and comprehensive fashion, bringing benefits to the people and businesses from both nations.

They also spoke highly of the important contributions of the Vietnamese community in Australia to bilateral ties, noting pleasure with the two countries looking toward building the new relation framework to become leading economic partners.

The Australian officials said Anh’s visit is significant as both sides are celebrating their 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations, adding their Government attaches much importance to Vietnam’s role in its foreign policy and Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040.

They placed high value on the CPV’s policies and development targets, and wanted to boost the Vietnam – Australia Strategic Partnership into a stronger and more effective manner in the time to come.

They also agreed with Anh’s recommendations to step up bilateral cooperation especially in sectors of demand in both countries.

During their stay in Australia, Anh had a meeting with the Vietnamese Embassy, and Vietnamese Consulate General in Sydney, and paid a working visit to Macquarie Group Limited. He also had a working session and delivered a speech at a roundtable conference on FDI attraction.

Bac Kan: Endangered langur relocated for preservation

A white side-burned black langur (Trachupithecus francoisi), which attacked passersby at Kim Hy Nature Reserve in Na Ri district in the northern province of Back Kan will be relocated to the Centre for Rescue, Conservation and Development of Creatures of the Cuc Phuong National Park.

The management board of the Kim Hy Nature Reserve said on October 20 that the animal, weighing 11 kilogrammes, was in stable health after it was caught by the centre's staff.

It will be put into quarantine and receive further examination at the Centre for Rescue, Conservation and Development of Creatures in the northern province of Ninh Binh.

The critically endangered primate species, which was found in the locality in July, attacked locals and put several people in the hospital in separate incidents on July 14, and again on September 26.

Workshop discusses population database, digital government

An international workshop on population database and digital government was held in the northern province of Thai Nguyen on October 20, with the theme of developing and exploiting the national database on population to better serve people and enterprises.

Director of the Administrative Procedure Control Department Ngo Hai Phan said that in the first nine months of 2023, the rates of administrative procedures processed online in ministries and sectors, and localities were 22% and 39%, respectively.

The transition from paper documents to electronic records reached 81% in ministries and sectors and 70% in localities.

Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Thanh Vinh, Director of the National Population Data Centre under the Ministry of Public Security, said that at present, the national population database is connected to and shared with 15 ministries and sectors, one State-owned enterprise, three telecom businesses, and all 63 provinces and cities.

Participants discussed effective models and achievements in digital transformation and the development of online public services to improve user satisfaction. They also optimised the national population database to develop e-commerce and the digital economy.

The workshop looked at ways to build a culture of privacy in the digital age, and ensure cyber security and information security to meet the country's key data connection requirements.

RoK youngsters build houses for the needy in Ben Tre

Forty youngsters and volunteers from the Republic of Korea (RoK) have provided funding and working days for the construction of four houses for the needy in Tan Thanh Binh commune, Mo Cay Bac district of the Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre.

The charity work is part of volunteer activities that the group has conducted in the locality from October 16-20, which also include Korean language teaching for local children, as well as art, sports activities and folk games of Vietnam and the RoK, said Deputy Secretary of the provincial Youth Union, and President of the Vietnam Youth Federation's Ben Tre chapter Phan Thanh Tre.

Along with benefiting the local community, the activities have helped strengthened exchanges among youngsters of Vietnam and the RoK, contributing to fostering the friendship between the two countries, said Tre.

Kang Seohyun, a volunteer of the RoK’s Dream School organisation, said that thanks to the programme, she and other members of the group have had the chance to explore the culture of the Mekong Delta region. She expressed her hope to have more opportunities to return to Vietnam for volunteer activities.

On the occasion, the Dream School organisation presented 20 bicycles to students with outstanding academic performance in Tan Thanh Binh 1 primary school.

On October 20, the group handed over the four houses to local households.

HCM City honours outstanding farmers, agricultural products

Twenty-four agricultural products and 15 outstanding farmers in HCM City were honoured by the city Farmers' Association at a ceremony held on Tuesday (October 17).

The event aimed to celebrate the 93rd anniversary of the establishment of the Việt Nam Farmers' Association (October 14, 1930-2023).

Speaking at the event, Chairwoman of HCM City Farmers' Association Nguyễn Thanh Xuân said the honored farmers are outstanding individuals who are enthusiastic about their profession, and strive to overcome difficulties to prosper.

“They boldly transformed the structure of crops and livestock, and actively researched and applied modern technology to production, contributing to the city's total agricultural production value,” she said.

Among the honoured farmers, Phạm Thanh Minh is successfully breeding white-legged shrimp in Đa Phước Commune in Bình Chánh District. Meanwhile, Nguyễn Văn Kiêm in Bình Chánh District's Bình Lợi Commune is earning income from planting yellow apricot trees.

Some of the typical agricultural products include green-skin grapefruit of farmer Hà Thị Bưởi, and water for fresh flowers of all kinds of Lê Trung Hiếu.

Nguyễn Phước Lộc, Vice Secretary of the municipal Party Committee, said the city Farmers' Association thoroughly grasped and effectively implemented the Prime Minister’s motto of putting farmers at the centre of the agricultural development process, recognising the countryside and agriculture as the foundation and driving force, respectively, in carrying out the resolutions of the Congress of the city Farmers' Association.

The city’s agricultural development programme focuses on strengthening the restructuring of the agricultural sector, developing plant varieties and high-tech agriculture, seeking solutions for selling agricultural products on e-commerce platforms, promoting digital agricultural economics and digital rural development, and ensuring sufficient supply of essential goods.

On this occasion, the Việt Nam Farmer's Union awarded “For the Vietnamese Peasantry” certificates to 62 individuals who had significant achievements and contributions to the development of the Việt Nam Farmer's Union and Vietnamese farmers.

The municipal People’s Committee presented certificates of merit to 12 individuals who grew agricultural products in the city this year.

Việt Nam-UK transnational education foster exchanges, cooperation and progress

Transnational education can go beyond academic values to provide economic benefits in national competitiveness, sustainable communities and gender equality, said Professor Sir Steve Smith, UK Government International Education Champion at a transnational education forum between the UK and Việt Nam on Thursday.

The event, co-organised by the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), the British Embassy in Hà Nội and British Council, attracted around 200 higher education leaders from both countries to facilitate knowledge and experience exchanges, while also presenting insights from case studies for future partnerships. 

There are currently more than 7,100 students in Việt Nam studying the UK university curriculum, of which 6,000 are in person and the remainder online.

Highlighting that the overarching theme of transnational education today is of ever-growing importance in the world of higher education, Professor Sir Smith said: “Together with our Vietnamese counterparts and partners, we view this as a promising platform to expand on, to enable a more inclusive, equitable and affordable option to study, at the highest of levels.’’ 

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) on education between the Vietnamese and UK governments was signed in October 2019, aiming to promote educational cooperation in higher education, English training, educational technology, international education and preschool education.

According to the British Council in Việt Nam, the UK is ranked first among countries with the largest number of transnational education programmes and fourth among the preferred English-speaking study destinations in Việt Nam.

The UK-Việt Nam cooperation in higher education now has partnerships with 25 UK universities, with 101 joint programmes. 

Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Education and Training Nguyễn Văn Phúc said: “The relations between the two countries have seen strong developments, of which education is a key area.”

He believed that in the future, Việt Nam and the UK will see more cooperation achievements in the sector, particularly higher education.

The forum also introduces a report titled “Towards a more competitive environment for transnational education in Việt Nam” which is carried out by the British Embassy in Hà Nội, the British Council and the MoET. 

According to the document, transnational education contributes to an increased supply of higher education, while also reducing brain drain and supports brain circulation by attracting talent to the location of programme delivery.

Data from the report also revealed that Việt Nam is the world’s third largest sender of globally mobile students, after China and India.

Therefore, transnational education widens access to international degrees to students who can’t afford to study overseas, or are unable to access the local higher education system because of family or work commitments.

Noting that Việt Nam has a favourable regulatory framework for transnational education, the report also recommends that the country adopts simple and clear guidance on how to engage in these programmes. 

Partnerships between higher education institutions are more than collaborations, British Council Vietnam director Donna McGowan said, added that these are the bridges that connect the two nations, build trust, foster mutual understanding, promote cultural exchange and ultimately drive progress. 

She said: “In today's rapidly changing world, the importance of international collaboration and education cannot be overstated.

“The challenges we face from global pandemics to climate change to the emergence of new technology require solutions that transcend borders, and the UK-Việt Nam transnational education partnerships are powerful tools to help address these challenges.” 

Guests also participated in discussions regarding global trends and local opportunities in transnational education partnerships and the evolving landscape of international education. 

They also discussed the strategic aspects of transnational education, examining its role and the changing priorities, policies, and regulatory frameworks necessary to facilitate its development in Việt Nam and beyond. 

Gender stereotypes prevent female journalists from doing their work

During many years working as a reporter and now an editor, Trần Hoàng Lan, head of the Family News Desk of Phụ Nữ Thủ Đô (Capital City’s Women Newspaper), has found that not only women but also men feel shy about sharing gender stories and do not want to be part of conversations with journalists.

Due to gender-based stereotypes, women do not dare to share about violence. Even female journalists find it difficult to approach women, Lan said.

Sharing at a recent press talk on gender and news on the occasion of Vietnamese Women’s Day, Lan said that even female journalists working at a gender-focused newspaper like Phụ Nữ Thủ Đô face lots of obstacles in covering gender issues.

As one of two newspapers of the Việt Nam Women's Union, Phụ Nữ Thủ Đô newspaper faces the stereotype that the newspaper is for women only or covers strictly women-related issues.

When female reporters interview others about broader topics like education or transport, many interviewees show surprise that women are concerned about and write about those issues.

“When we visit remote areas, local people are surprised to see that female journalists travel that far. They think female reporters only sit in front of a desk,” Lan said.

"Many men think that the women’s newspaper is only for women to read so they feel hesitant to share with reporters. In fact, gender equality requires the sharing of both genders. Without a joining of hands from both men and women, we cannot achieve gender equality", she said.

According to statistics of Phụ Nữ Thủ Đô newspaper, the number of male readers has recently increased, but not much. Many gender equality issues have not touched men.

Lan proposed changing public stereotypes on the newspaper of women itself, raising public awareness of both men and women so women are more confident and men are no longer hesitant in sharing gender stories.

Sharing international perspectives on gender sensitive issue reporting, Associate Professor Minelle Mahtani from the Institute for Social Justice at the University of British Columbia, Canada, said “One of the things we discovered is it's impossible to get men involved in conversation of gender-based violence if they have no personal connection with it.”

She recommended reporters start thinking about the siblings, brothers and sons, people directly impacted by gender-based violence, because of their connection with the person who experienced the violence personally.

"They have their own experiences to talk about and they have their own stories to tell. By bringing them on board as part of our project, it opens up all sorts of different spaces for other men to want to be part of the conversation", she said.

Trần Lệ Thùy, director of the Centre for Media and Development Initiatives, said media jobs have opened up more opportunities for women than in the past.

Female journalists have more chances to show their abilities. If they are active and eager to learn, they have lots of opportunities to be promoted.

“However, there still persists gender stereotype in our mind, though sometimes we don’t realise it. This stereotype is the obstacle hindering the development ability of women in general not only those in media.” Thùy said

Gender stereotype affects not only job promotion but also the content of articles whose writers have not been trained about gender sensitivity, she said.

She hoped that female journalists will have more opportunities to gain more formal training with gender-related guidance to better perform their work. 

Art programme dedicated to Đồng Lộc T-junction volunteers

The Việt Nam Women's Museum has launched a special art programme themed "Legends of Youth" to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Đồng Lộc Victory and commemorate ten female volunteers who sacrificed their lives for the historical victory.

The programme also celebrates the 93rd anniversary of the establishment of Việt Nam Women's Union and Vietnamese Women's Day on October 20.

During the anti-American resistance war, from 1965 to 1968, the US dropped nearly 50,000 bombs and fired tens of thousands of missiles on the Đồng Lộc T-junction – the important T-junction of the Hồ Chí Minh Trail connecting the North with the southern front.

At that time, in order to keep traffic flowing, all human resources were mobilised to clear the road to ensure the safe operation of the transport route sending supplies to the southern front.

On July 24, 1968, ten young female volunteers, aged from 17 to 24, maintained the vital traffic route at Đồng Lộc, but lost their lives in a US’s bomb raid.

By theatricalising their story, the programme conveys a message about the gratitude of today's generation for those who have fallen for their country and also about hope for the future.

"Legends of Youth" is a collaborating between the Việt Nam Women’s Museum and playwright and director Lê Quý Dương with the purpose of recreating the image of the female hero squad and honouring their sacrifice.

Nguyễn Thị Tuyết, the museum director, said: "The highlight of the programme is recreating the historical story of heroic Vietnamese girls, exuding youth and courageous spirit.

“The battle will take place in the museum space, where many memorabilia and images of heroic Vietnamese women on the front lines of the battlefield are displayed.”

The 60-minute performance recreates a fierce battlefield, using visual technology, 3D effects with bomb craters, A-shaped bunkers, artillery battlefields and the backgrounds of convoys carrying goods and troops to battle.

Five tonnes of real soil were specially transferred from Đồng Lộc Junction to the museum stage.

The actresses in the show are from 18 to 24 years old and are from the central provinces of Nghệ An and Hà Tĩnh, making them the same age and from the same place as the martyrs.

"We want our audience to experience the most genuine and profound emotions while immersing themselves in the atmosphere of Đồng Lộc Junction's battlefield,” director Dương said.

“The audience also has the opportunity to experience and interact directly with actors during the performance.”

The museum intends to introduce the programme to domestic and international audiences, and visitors in the future.

“We hope that Vietnamese Women's Museum continues to be a destination that offers numerous engaging experiential activities for the public,” Tuyết added.

The first performance of "Legends of Youth" takes place at 8.00pm today at the Vietnamese Women's Museum, 36 Lý Thường Kiệt Street, Hoàn Kiếm District, Hà Nội. 

Gia Lai's festival to promote VN cultural heritage

The Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province of Gia Lai will host a festival to honour Vietnamese cultural heritage on October 20-22.

2023 Cultural Heritage Day aims to preserve and promote the cultural heritage preservation of ethnic minorities in the region, as well as introduce heritages from other regions to the visitors.

The event will attract hundreds of artisans and performers in different fields from five Tây Nguyên provinces and HCM City.

The artists will share knowledge and performances of gong culture, named a Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005, and tài tử music, a traditional music genre of the South recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013.

They will also introduce the then practices of Tày, Nùng, and Thái people in Việt Nam, which were recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2019.

They will offer folk music shows by traditional musical instruments, sạp dance (or Cheraw dance, a traditional dance with bamboo), and water puppetry as well.

Meanwhile, visitors will have the opportunity to play folk games, experience rattan and brocade weaving, and enjoy tea ceremonies, calligraphy art and local food.

In addition, the festival will include an exhibition of HCM City’s cultural heritage organised by the HCM City Museum.

The province will launch a painting exhibition themed “Về Miền Đất Đỏ” (Back to Basalt Land) by local female painters to celebrate Việt Nam Women’s Day on October 20.

The festival will open to the public at Gia Lai Museum in Pleiku City.

Vietnam’s second int’l photography festival kicks off in Binh Thuan

The second Vietnam International Photography Festival 2023 commenced in the central coastal province of Binh Thuan on October 20, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The festival aims to promote beautiful images of the country and people of Vietnam and strengthen international exchanges through photography-related activities.

The festival is part of series of activities to celebrate the National Tourism Year 2023 hosted by Binh Thuan, with the theme “Binh Thuan – Green Convergence”.

Director of the Department of Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibition Ma The An said that the event is a chance for photography enthusiasts and photographers both at home and abroad to exchange and introduce their art works.

Of more than 2,252 works of 147 photographers from 15 countries and territories sent to the festival, 200 photos by 82 participants were selected to display at the photo exhibition "Vietnam through the lens of international photographers", which took place in Phan Thiet City. The photos are also introduced on the website of the Department of Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibition at

The first festival held in 2021, hosted by the northern province of Ninh Binh, received 1,567 entries from 98 professional and amateur photographers from 19 countries and territories.

Memoir of Greek-Vietnamese hero launched in Greece

The Su That (Truth) National Political Publishing House and the Vietnamese Embassy in Greece on October 17 jointly introduced the book "Vietnam - My Second Homeland" by the Greek hero of Vietnam People’s Armed Forces Kostas Sarantidis-Nguyen Van Lap.

The seminar is an activity to pay tribute to the contributions and sacrifices for justice, peace, independence, and freedom of the internationalist who has Greek and Vietnamese citizenship - Kostas Sarantidis-Nguyen Van Lap.

He is a Greek who fought alongside the Vietnamese people for many years and made Vietnam his second homeland.

In Greek, the book is titled "Testimony of a Greek-Vietnamese on Vietnam's Struggle for Independence," while its Vietnamese translation is titled "Vietnam - My Second Homeland."

As a person with "an extremely interesting and adventurous life," Kostas Sarantidis' stories have been recorded and preserved by the Association of Greeks Abroad because "his experiences are unique in the world."

Speaking at the seminar, Vu Trong Lam, Director and editor-in-chief of the Truth National Political Publishing House, said that the memoir "Vietnam - My Second Home" is a drastic account of the Vietnamese revolutionary war, in which the portrait of Kostas Sarantidis-Nguyen Van Lap appears humble but imbued with the spirit of a hero.

Lam emphasized that the book is a tribute to the Greek people and generations of Vietnamese and Greeks.

"The book also provides more evidence to help readers of the two countries better understand and appreciate the history between the two peoples, thus contributing to consolidating and developing the traditional friendly relations between the two sides," Lam added.

Born in Greece, Kostas Sarantidis spent most of his youth fighting with the Viet Minh forces against the invading French colonialists. In February 1946, at nineteen, he was sent to Vietnam as a soldier in the French expeditionary force, with the "desire to liberate" the country, as the French government had lulled and deceived him.

However, when he witnessed with his own eyes so many atrocities committed by the French Foreign Legion, he realized that the legionnaires were not there to protect the people but to oppress and kill them.

Only four months after arriving in Vietnam, Kostas Sarantidis defected from the French colonialist army. They fought alongside the Vietnamese during the First Indochina War to liberate Vietnam from French colonialism. He adopted the Vietnamese name Nguyen Van Lap and officially became "Uncle Ho's soldier" in June 1946.

After living in Vietnam for nearly 20 years, Kostas Sarantidis-Nguyen Van Lap returned to Greece in 1965 and, from there, continued to serve as a bridge of friendship between the two countries.

With significant contributions to the cause of national liberation and the construction of Vietnam, Kostas Sarantidis-Nguyen Van Lap was awarded the Friendship Medal and granted Vietnamese citizenship in 2010.

In 2013, he became the first and only foreigner to receive the honorary title of Hero of the People's Armed Forces of Vietnam.

After his death in 2021, the ashes of Kostas Sarantidis Nguyen Van Lap were repatriated to Vietnam from his hometown of Thessaloniki, Greece on August 2, 2022. The repatriation was made in accordance with his will to return to Vietnam and rest with his comrades.

Three rescued after seven hours drifting at sea

Three fishermen have just been rescued after seven hours of drifting at sea after their boat sank off Binh Thuan Province.

According to one of the survivors, captain Kieu Van Nghiep, 45, they were four crew members from a boat that went to catch tuna off the Paracel Islands over two weeks ago. The trip was scheduled to last one month.

However, a crew member who is Nghiep's older brother, suddenly died of electric shock while fishing on the evening of October 15. Nghiep decided to end the trip and return to shore.

While travelling some 45 nautical miles (over 80 km) from Tam Quan Port, their boat was hit by strong winds and high waves which ultimately sunk the boat. Nghiep and two other crew members grasped some styrofoam pieces from the boat and tied them together to make a larger lifeguard.

"We had been very upset and couldn't eat much since my brother's death so we were very tired at that time," Nghiep said. "We let the lifeguard drift and hoped that someone could see us. We saw some passing boats but they didn't notice us. And then at noon on October 17, the rain stopped and I saw a passing boat. We took off our life jackets and waved them. They saw us and came to save us."

Vice head of the Pho Quang Border Guard Station, Nguyen Tung Duong, said that the three fishermen were taken to the station by a fishing boat which found them drifting at sea on October 17.

"We've called some doctors to give them health check-ups and they are now in stable condition," Duong said. "We've arranged transportation for them to return home.

The central and southern central sea have faced strong wind and high waves over the past few days due to the low tropical pressure and storm, causing some fish boats to sink.

According to the Vietnam Maritime Search and Rescue Coordination Centre, two fishing boats sank due to bad weather off the Spratly Islands on Monday and Tuesday morning. In total, 78 fishermen were safely rescued by passing vessels, two died and 13 others remain missing.

Saudi Arabia keen to lure more Vietnamese tourists

The Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia signed an action programme on October 19 aimed at promoting tourism cooperation between the two countries.

Vietnam is seeking to strengthen international ties to develop Halal tourism products in line with Muslim culture, and at the same time to promote Vietnamese tourism in Muslim markets such as Saudi Arabia, said Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung at the signing ceremony.

The Minister went on to propose that Saudi Arabia offer support to the Vietnamese side in learning about tourist demand and the Muslim market in general.

The Vietnamese Ministry stands ready to coordinate with competent agencies to hold trips for Saudi Arabian businesses as they conduct surveys at famous tourist destinations in Vietnam, he added.

Saudi Arabia's Vice Minister of Tourism Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al-Saud, shared that the Middle Eastern country is now considering issuing electronic visas for tourists from Vietnam and other countries in the near future. In addition, the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Tourism will work with domestic travel firms to develop tourism products which are capable of meeting the demand of Vietnamese tourists.

With the desire to promote tourism exchanges with Vietnam via air routes, Saudi Arabia hopes to soon establish a direct flight between the two countries, she stressed.

The signing ceremony was held in Saudi Arabia on October 19 as part of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s visit to the Middle Eastern country to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Gulf Cooperation Council (ASEAN-GCC) Summit.

Vietnam attends Singapore Int’l Cyber Security Week 2023

A Vietnamese delegation led by Deputy Minister of Public Security Senior Lieutenant General Luong Tam Quang attended the Singapore International Cyber Security Week 2023 (SICW 2023) and the 8th ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cyber Security (AMCC-8) in Singapore from October 16-19.

At the AMCC-8, Deputy Minister Quang shared Vietnam's viewpoint on current and emerging threats to the digital environment and cyberspace in an important speech, contributing to the conference’s theme "Regional efforts in fighting existing and emerging threats in cyberspace and technology".

According to the official, the fourth industrial revolution has strongly promoted the digital era and a hyper-connected world, bringing potential for transformational change, but at the same time also posed security issues for countries, including ASEAN member states.

He said that these issues include rising trends in ransomware and threats from artificial intelligence (AI) technology and online fraud. Cybercrimes have caused great damages to businesses and governments of many countries, negatively impacting cyber security and safety of users.

Quang shared that in Vietnam, it is estimated that about 77 million people, an equivalent of 79% of the population use the internet. The country has been promoting e-Government, digital economy, and digital society while strengthening global and regional cooperation in implementing solutions to ensure network security and prevent cybercrime.

He called on ASEAN countries to intensify effective implementation of cooperation on cybersecurity, build common intra-bloc as well as international regulations on cyber security, establish a mechanism to support ASEAN member states in responding to and handling cyber security matters and preventing cyber attacks, share information about cybercrime and coordinate the fight against cybercrime, establish communication channels and hotlines to handle developments quickly; strengthen relevant public-private cooperation, among others.

Participating delegates at the event also discussed measures to further strengthen cybersecurity initiatives in the region, contributing perspectives and valuable initiatives for the conference.

Within the framework of SICW Week 2023, Deputy Minister Quang had a courtesy meeting with Minister of Communications and Information and Minister in charge of Cyber Security Josephine Teo; Minister of State for the Ministry of Home Affairs of Singapore Sun Xue Ling; Director of the Department of International Information Security under the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Artur Lyukmanov, among others.    

The Vietnamese delegation also visited Gov-Ware 2023 - a premier cybersecurity event in Asia - to learn and catch up with the latest trends and technologies in cybersecurity, digital and smart cities.  

On this occasion, Vietnam and Singapore signed documents amending and supplementing the cooperation agreement in transnational crime prevention and control, which was renewed in 2018.

Exhibition introduces Vietnam’s 17 Faces of Action for Sustainable Development

An exhibition named “17 Faces of Action of Vietnam for Sustainable Development” opened at the Vietnam Women’s Museum on October 20.

The exhibition is held within the framework of the "17 Faces of Action" initiative launched by Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) Tatiana Valovaya to recognise and encourage women around the world to further make active contributions to socio-economic development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In her opening remarks, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang said when Vietnam strongly commits to implementing the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Vietnamese women continue to play a pioneering role in all fields, propose initiatives, carry out solutions, promote innovation, and strengthen partnerships to ensure sustainable development and leave no one behind.

Corresponding to the 17 sustainable development goals, this exhibition introduces 17 visual stories about women from all over Vietnam, representing many fields. They are scientists, teachers, businessmen, soldiers, doctors, diplomats, artists, engineers, movement officials and community leaders, said Hang.

She expressed her belief that through this exhibition, international friends and partners will better understand Vietnam's foreign policy priorities, including promoting gender equality and sustainable development, and intensifying cooperation in these fields.

Tatiana Valovaya affirmed that the exhibition is a specific joint effort of the UNOG, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Vietnam Women’s Union, and the Association of Swiss Women and Empowerment.

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