WB vows to assist Vietnam’s economic restructuring

The World Bank (WB) is committed to helping Vietnam restructure its economy to achieve progress in the coming time, WB Country Director Victoria Kwakwa assured Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh in Hanoi on December 5.

Kwakwa said the WB highly values Vietnam ’s economic restructuring efforts, with a focus on the banking system, State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and public investment, while taking note of the country’s achievements in maintaining macro-economic stability, foreign investment attraction and sustainable economic development.

Ninh thanked the WB for actively assisting Vietnam in policymaking, which, he said, has proved helpful to the country.

Both host and guest discussed issues of mutual concern, including sending more WB financial and technical experts to help Vietnam in the restructuring of financial and SOEs sectors.

PM reiterates determination to develop defence industry

The Party, State, government and Defence Ministry are steadfast in developing the defence industry and improving military combat capacity, especially the naval and air forces, towards building a revolutionary, regular, elite and modern army, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said.

He was speaking at a working session in Ho Chi Minh City on December 6 with the staff of Ba Son Corporation, a Defence Ministry’s unit which is building a batch of six fast-attack missile boats Molniya that use Russian technology.

Designed by the Russia’s Almaz Naval Design Bureau, the Molniya-class boat is able to reach a maximum speed of 70km per hour, destroy fleets of combat ships, landing crafts, escort vessels, and go patrolling.

Each is equipped with an advanced radar system, 16 Uran-E anti-ship rockets with a range of 130km, an automatic single-barrel gun AK-176M, and two 6-barrel guns AK-630M firing 4,000-5,000 rounds per minute as far as 4-5km.

Two Molniya boats, called HQ 377 and HQ 378, were handed over to the Vietnam People’s Navy after four years of assembly.

In the meantime, Ba Son workers are building four others Molniya for delivery by the second quarter of 2015 and the second quarter of 2016.

Ba Son Corporation is also building patrol, reconnaissance, search-and-rescue and tug boats ordered by the naval and coast guard forces.

The PM hailed the corporation for successfully building the two first Molniya boats, adding that it demonstrates affirmatively Vietnam’s ability to master advanced military shipbuilding technology.

“To maintain peace and stability, we must be stronger in terms of politics, economics and defence. We need to push for a developed defence industry and step by step master cutting-edge military technologies,” he stated.

The Government leader pledged all possible support for the corporation to relocate away from the city and build another shipbuilding plant.

Meeting marks 70 years of Vietnam People’s Army

The Central Military Committee of the Ministry of Defense hosted a meeting with generations of officers, soldiers and armed forces heroes in Hanoi on December 7, marking the 70th anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) and the 25thanniversary of All People’s National Defense Festival.

Former Party General Secretary Le Kha Phieu and other former Party and State leaders attended the event.

In his address, Politburo member, Vice Secretary of the Party Central Committee's Military Commission and Minister of Defense General Phung Quang Thanh highlighted the meeting as opportune occasion to pay gratitude to and honour Vietnamese generals, heroic mothers, armed forces heroes and senior military officers and soldiers for their great contributions to the development of the Vietnam People’s Army over the past 70 years.

In observation of their contributions, the government decided to organize a state ceremony to mark the 70th founding anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army, he added.

Austrian President believes in Vietnam’s development prospect

Austrian President Heinz Fischer said he believes Vietnam will overcome any difficulties and challenges to develop further in the future.

The Austrian president made the remark at a reception for Vietnamese Ambassador to Austria Vu Viet Anh who presented his letter of credential to the President on December 3.

President Heinz Fischer recalled good impressions of the Austria visit by Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet in June 2008 and his own official visit to Vietnam in May 2012.

He expressed pleasure at the growing multi-faceted friendship and cooperation between the two countries, with increasing two-way trade and more Austrian businesses keen to invest in Vietnam.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, two-way trade between Vietnam and Austria exceeded one billion USD for the first time in 2013.

The Vietnamese Ambassador updated the host on the situation in Vietnam and pledged to do his utmost to nurture the friendship and cooperation between the two countries during his tenure.

15th AAFV national congress opens in France

A sound understanding of Vietnam and its positive changes will enable the France- Vietnam Friendship Association (AAFV) to devise practical projects for Vietnam and play a constructive role in reinforcing bilateral ties.

Participants to the AAFV’s 15th national congress held in Paris, France, on December 6 shared that viewpoint on the association’s 2014-16 term after hearing a review report delivered by AAFV Secretary General Jean - Pierre Archambault.

During 2011-2014, AAFV has made great contributions to boosting the relations and cooperation between Vietnam and France, the official affirmed.

He said AAFV focused on enhancing political relations, expanding solidarity strengthening activities and popularising Vietnam’s images.

Deputy Secretary General of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations Pham Thi Thai highlighted that AAFV has since 1975 worked tirelessly to bridge the two peoples via wide-ranging introductions on Vietnam as well as charitable projects.

Vietnamese Ambassador to France Duong Chi Dung thanked French friends for helping Vietnam for over the past 50 years, especially in the most difficult period.

He expressed his belief that AAFV will continue to be the driving force participating in the development of the bilateral relations in the coming time.

On this occasion, a national committee was elected before the leading positions are officially selected by January 24, 2015.   

Party leader meets with Hanoi voters

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong met with voters in Hanoi on December 6 to inform them of the outcomes of the National Assembly’s eighth session and listen to their opinions.

Most of the voters lauded the outcomes of the session, especially the efficiency of the vote of confidence, and measures that cabinet members gave during the question-and-answer session.

Many voiced their concern about issues related to corruption and low-quality and fake commodities that seriously affect people’s health.

Regarding foreign investment attraction, they emphasised the need to carefully consider the socio-economic and defence-security interests, ensuring that investment do not affect the national security.

The voters also worried about high public debts and Government bond debts, slow enforcement of laws, as well as emerging problems in education and training.

Acknowledging voters’ opinions, the Party chief said that during the NA’s eighth session, 30 laws were debated, 18 laws were passed and many important resolutions were approved.

Especially, deputies passed a resolution on conducting vote of confidence on officials holding positions elected or approved by the NA and People’s Councils, he said.

He also agreed with voters on the need to further promote the role and responsibilities of deputies so as to ensure the quality and efficiency of the NA sessions.

About anti-corruption work, the Party leader affirmed the Party’s consistent stance of resolutely fighting corruption and wastefulness without any compromise while still maintaining political stability.

In the coming time, the Party will continue speeding up the Party Central Committee’s Resolution 04 on party building as well as the Politburo’s resolution on studying and following President Ho Chi Minh’s moral example, ensuring purity within the Party, he said.

Regarding the East Sea issue, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong underscored that a series of measures have been rolled out to protect the national independence and sovereignty while maintaining an environment of peace and stability for development and friendship with other countries, and not allowing external forces to cause disturbance.

“We are determined to follow a foreign policy of peace, independence, self-reliance, and being friend with all countries,” stated the Party chief.

He also mentioned a number of issues raised by voters, including public servant reduction, wage reform, organisation of People’s Council, and ensuring enforcement of laws.

He also expressed hope to hear more from voters so as to help the Party and the National Assembly better their performance.

Laos appreciates support of Vietnamese mission in Geneva

The Lao Government has presented the Friendship Medal and a certificate of merit to Ambassador Nguyen Trung Thanh, Vietnam’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other international organisations in Geneva, in recognition of the Vietnamese mission’s support for Laos’ bid to join the WTO.

The awards were presented by Lao Ambassador to Geneva Thongphane Savanphet during a ceremony on December 5.

Addressing the ceremony, Ambassador Thanh described the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos as an invaluable treasure that will be further promoted by both countries’ missions in Geneva .

Speaking with a Vietnam News Agency correspondent after the ceremony, Thongphane Savanphet affirmed the mutual trust and all-round ties between Vietnam and Laos are benefiting the two peoples.

Since Laos officially joined the WTO one year ago, collaboration between the two missions has flourished, with stronger mutual support at international forums, he noted.

The Lao mission has learnt much from its Vietnamese counterpart, he said, expressing hope for the continued exchange of ideas and information for mutual progress.

The WTO membership has paved the way for Laos to fulfil its Millennium Development Goals and maintain a stable economic growth, he added.

Malaysian NA wishes to boost delegation exchange with Vietnam

Vietnam and Malaysia should increase the exchange of parliamentarian delegations to share legislative experience, said President of the Malaysian Senate Abu Zahar Ujang.

While receiving Than Duc Nam , deputy head of the Vietnamese National Assembly’s office, during his visit from December 4-6, Abu Zahar Ujang hailed the cooperation between Malaysia and Vietnam in various fields, especially in human resources training, labour, economy, education, defence and crime prevention.

Two-way trade between the two countries has developing rapidly in recent time, hitting 5.4 billion USD in the first half of this year, he said.

On his part, Nam informed his host of the outcomes of the recent 8 th session of the Vietnamese NA as well as its preparations for the 132 nd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly, scheduled for March 2015 in Hanoi . He expressed his wish that Malaysia will send a delegation to this event.

He said he hopes that the two nations will further enhance ties between their legislatures and soon complete necessary preparations for the upgrading of their relations to a strategic partnership.

Vietnamese, Lao provinces boost cross-border cooperation

Vietnam’s central Quang Binh province and Laos’ southern Savannakhet province have agreed to further cooperation along the shared border for mutual benefits.

Vice Chairman of the Quang Binh provincial People’s Committee Tran Van Tuan and Vice Governor of Savannakhet Khamphoi Phanthachon signed a minutes on cross-border collaboration in 2015 following their talks in Quang Binh on December 5.

Border guards of the two localities will continue to carry out bilateral patrols to protect their shared border line and markers, while informing each other of relevant issues and working together to handle violators in accordance with the agreement on Vietnam-Laos border regulations and law of respective countries.

The two provinces will maintain regular meetings and information exchanges to consolidate their traditional friendship.

They will accelerate infrastructure building for the opening of the Chut Mut – La Von border gates.

Quang Binh and Sanvannakhet have maintained close cooperation in the fields of defence, security and border as committed in their cooperation agreement signed in November last year.

Party official receives DPRK guest

Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations Hoang Binh Quan received a delegation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) -Vietnam Friendship Association in Hanoi on December 5.

Quan hailed the visit of the DPRK friendship delegation which came at a time when the two countries are preparing for the 65 th anniversary of bilateral ties.

He reiterated Vietnam’s support of the cause of socialism building and peaceful national reunification of the DPRK people, as well as Vietnam’s consistent stance on supporting peace, stability and denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

The head of the delegation, Ho So Won, who is Vice Chairman of the DPRK’s Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries and Chairman of the DPRK-Vietnam Friendship Association, informed his host of the recent and planned activities made by the DPRK-Vietnam Friendship Association and the Vietnam – DPRK Friendship Association to foster ties between the two peoples.

The guest said he hopes for more support of the Vietnamese Party and State, and the Vietnam – DPRK Friendship Association in particular to strengthen bilateral friendship.

Challenges in implementing Vietnam-EU FTA put on table

Vietnamese officials, representatives from the European Union (EU) delegation, and experts from Singapore, Thailand, and the US attended a seminar in Hanoi on December 5 to discuss challenges in the implementation of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (VEFTA).

Opening the function, Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations Hoang Binh Quan said during recent meetings, Vietnamese and EU leaders emphasised their political resolve to accelerate the final stage of the VEFTA negotiation so as to sign this deal in early 2015.

The EU has surpassed the US to become Vietnam ’s top export market and its member nations are also leading foreign investors in the Southeast Asian country, he noted.

Quan said the enforcement of the VEFTA will open up a multitude of great opportunities for both sides. Particularly, Vietnamese businesses will gain better access to the 500 million-strong EU market and attract more investment from this bloc.

It is crucial to identify challenges and devise feasible comprehensive solutions, especially in economic, trade, legal, and institutional aspects, to ensure practical benefits to be soon brought by the FTA, he said, adding that the seminar is seen as a contribution to efforts taken by Vietnamese ministries and localities to speed up the implementation of this agreement.

Rabea Brauer, head of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung foundation’s office in Vietnam , said each country needs to integrate strongly into the global economy, and the VEFTA will fuel collaboration not only between EU member countries and Vietnam but also between the two regions.

The seminar included a discussion on economic and commercial challenges and measures, and another on legal ones.

ASEAN fights drugs

ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh has underlined the need to boost co-operation between ASEAN member nations and between the bloc and other countries in the fight against drug-related crime.

Addressing the Third ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Drug Matters held recently in Jakarta, he said as organised criminal groups and drug traffickers were taking on a more global perspective in their operations.

He said ASEAN must ensure that its responses to drug trafficking were equally innovative, equally prompt to adapt to changing and challenging circumstances, and equally global in outlook.

Chair of the conference, Anang Iskander, head of the National Narcotics Board of Indonesia, said despite the progress and achievements in the implementation of the ASEAN Work Plan 2009-15, ASEAN still needed to do more and further strengthen its collaboration in addressing the threat and abuse of illicit drugs.

He emphasised the need to prevent drug syndicates and transnational crime organisations from taking advantage of ASEAN regional integration and connectivity.

Quang Binh, Savannakhet boost border affairs cooperation

Vietnam’s Quang Binh province and Laos’ Savannakhet province held talks in Quang Binh on December 5 to compare notes and sign minutes on border affairs cooperation for 2015.

The two provinces agreed on bilateral border patrol and information sharing to ensure a border of safety, friendship, stability and development.

Under the minutes signed on November 19, 2013, the two provinces have fostered cooperative relations in defence, security and border affairs. The borderline between the two provinces have been well protected and local socio-politics and security have been maintained.

The two provinces have conducted a number of patrols and better handled issues, especially free immigration.