Milestones in the journey of Vietnam – France relations

In February 1993, French President Francois Mitterrand became the first Western leader to visit Vietnam since 1975.

In the delegation of more than 200 people accompanying Mr. Mitterrand to Vietnam, there were 6 ministers and many famous businessmen such as Air France President Bernard Attali. Welcoming Mr. Mitterrand, the streets of Hanoi were decorated with national flags of the two countries, along with welcome banners in Vietnamese and French.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Mr. Mitterrand visited the Dien Bien Phu battlefield, which created a turning point leading to the signing of the Geneva Agreement on ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam in 1954. Addressed in Hanoi after During his visit to Dien Bien Phu, President Mitterrand said that the French war in Indochina “seemed to be a mistake”, in his view.

“French colonialism must understand the necessity of turning a new page. Since the end of the war, I think all is worth rethinking. I feel gratified that France is the first Western country. first came here to express his desire for reconciliation,” Mitterrand said.

The late French President Francois Mitterrand (left) chats with General Vo Nguyen Giap during his visit to Vietnam in February 1993.  Photo: Reuters.

French President Francois Mitterrand (left) talks with General Vo Nguyen Giap during his visit to Vietnam in February 1993. Photo: Reuters.

The French leader also said that they would help Vietnam restore relations with international financial institutions and double aid, and assessed that the US embargo was outdated and needed to be lifted.

Mr. Mitterrand’s three-day visit is said to show France’s support for Vietnam’s reform and opening-up, promote Vietnam’s integration into the world economy, and reflect the The West’s growing interest in Vietnam’s economic prospects and potential.

Vietnam and France established diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level on April 12, 1973. After 1975, Vietnam-France relations were strengthened in many aspects, with an important milestone being the visit to France by late Prime Minister Pham Van Dong in April 1977.

During the period when the US and Western countries sought to encircle and isolate Vietnam, France still maintained a moderate attitude. Vietnam – France relations have improved since 1989, with France taking the lead in clearing relations with Vietnam, eliminating debts and helping Vietnam settle debts with Paris Club member countries.

After Mr. Mitterrand’s visit, which was assessed to help usher in a new era in Vietnam-France relations, the relationship between the two countries is increasingly developing. In 1997, Jacques Chirac, then French president, visited Vietnam on the occasion of the Francophonie Summit in Hanoi, then returned in 2004 for a state visit.

During this visit, Mr. Chirac emphasized that despite the burdens of the past, Vietnam and France have the right to send a message of peace, cooperation and charity to the world. Efforts to cultivate relations continued to be confirmed during the visit to France by former General Secretary Nong Duc Manh in 2005.

During talks with former Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, Mr. Chirac welcomed Vietnam’s independent and open foreign policy, affirming France’s support for Vietnam’s strategy of development and hunger eradication and poverty reduction. , continue to give Vietnam bilateral development aid. He reaffirmed France’s full support for Vietnam’s early accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The two countries signed the Joint Statement on the strategic partnership between Vietnam and France when former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited Paris in September 2013, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

“Today we can together say with joy that the ship of relations between the two countries has landed on the shore of successful friendship and cooperation, with the leaders of the two countries jointly declaring the establishment of a strategic partnership. Vietnam – France”, former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said in Paris on September 24, 2013, said that the “special”, multi-field and multi-level relationship between the two countries is ripe.

Reality show Vietnam – France relations have developed comprehensively in all aspects in the past decades. In economic terms, France is Vietnam’s fifth largest European trading partner, with bilateral trade in the first seven months of this year reaching $2.81 billion.

As of July, France ranked third among European countries and 16th out of 140 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 605 projects, total registered investment capital reached 3.6 billion USD. . Meanwhile, Vietnamese enterprises have invested in nine projects in France with a total capital of 3.04 million USD.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (left) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris during his visit in March 2018.  Photo: VNA.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (left) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris during his visit in March 2018. Photo: VNA.

In terms of development cooperation, France is Europe’s leading official Development Assistance (ODA) provider to Vietnam and Vietnam ranks second among France’s ODA recipients in Asia, after Afghanistan. France supports at least 200 million euros (nearly 231 million USD) in ODA each year for Vietnam, focusing on three areas: climate change, converted energy and green growth.

In terms of security and defense, France is the first Western country to have a defense attaché in Vietnam since 1991. The two sides regularly exchange delegations, have annual consultations, have security dialogues, and support the export of face masks. equipment and weapons, training officers. Vietnam and France also have a strategic partnership in the field of defense.

The education-training cooperation relationship between Vietnam and France has been established and developed since the early 1980s. France has always considered this a priority goal in cooperation activities in Vietnam, focusing mainly on teaching. and French language development, undergraduate and graduate human resource training. Over the past 10 years, the number of Vietnamese students coming to France has increased by about 40% and now there are nearly 10,000 international students.

In terms of culture and tourism, the French government spends about 5 million euros ($5.7 million) on the budget for cultural cooperation with Vietnam. France is also ranked 7th among the countries and territories investing the most in tourism in Vietnam, with 14 projects totaling 188 million USD.

In 2018, on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 5th anniversary of the establishment of the Vietnam-France strategic partnership, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong visited France, and then French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also visited France. Vietnamese food. These events are said to be testament to the ever-growing relationship between the two countries.

During his visit in November 2018, Prime Minister Philippe became the second senior French leader to visit Dien Bien Phu after the late President Mitterrand. He visited the place where the campaign to overthrow the French colonial regime in Indochina took place, then laid flowers at the memorial to the dead from both sides.

“We have developed a close and serious relationship with Vietnam. I realize that both sides need to remember the common past peacefully. By making peace with the past, the two countries are looking forward to a common future. with new strength,” Mr. Philippe announced at the time.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will pay an official visit to France from November 3 to 5, after attending the COP26 conference in the UK. French Ambassador to Vietnam Nicolas Warnery said that during this visit, France will welcome the leaders of the Vietnamese Government with a very high level of etiquette, in the context of both countries’ desire to further strengthen the relationship with Vietnam. strategic action.

“We are very pleased and honored by this choice of the Prime Minister of Vietnam. This shows the importance and position in the bilateral relationship as well as in the regional relationship between the two sides,” the Ambassador said. Warnery emphasized.

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