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Dec 08, 2022 / 21:13

Vietnam, France to deepen strategic partnership

Both sides are expected to cooperate in the reconstruction of the Long Bien Bridge into a cultural space.

Vietnam prioritizes its relations with France and hopes to deepen the bilateral strategic partnership in all spheres, Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue said today [December 8] during a meeting with France’s President of the Senate Gerard Larcher, who is currently on a visit to Vietnam from December 8-9.

 Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue and France’s President of the Senate Gerard Larcher. Source: quochoi.vn

On behalf of the National Assembly, Hue welcomed the visit of the delegation of French policymakers led by the Senate President to Vietnam, saying the move is a major milestone ahead of the upcoming 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations (1973-2023) and 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership (2013-2023).

For his part, Larcher said Vietnam is key in France’s foreign affairs policy, highlighting the Southeast Asian country's growing influence on the global stage in general and ASEAN in particular.

Larcher added in 2020, when Vietnam was serving as the ASEAN Chairmanship, France became the bloc’s development partner.

Both leaders agreed on the positive results in cooperation between the two legislative bodies, based on a cooperation agreement signed in 2003, and would hold a further discussion to revise the agreement to reflect the new situation.

In addition to high-level cooperation, the two sides stressed the necessity to boost relations among localities.

 Overview of the meeting. 

Hanoi plans to hold the 12th meeting on decentralized cooperation between Vietnam and France in April 2023. Currently, there are 55 ongoing projects between 20 French provinces/cities and their 30 Vietnamese counterparts.

Therefore, Larcher asked the two countries to boost cooperation at the local level and tap each side's potential.

Both sides also discussed measures to boost economic cooperation, trade, and investment.

Larcher affirmed that French businesses want to invest in Vietnam under the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EU-Vietnam FTA) and hoped that efforts would be redoubled to better use the agreement for mutual benefit.

Agreeing with Larcher, Hue said the bilateral trade turnover remains modest compared to the potential of the partnership, so the two should continue to facilitate trade both centrally and locally.

On this occasion, Hue called on the French Senate to ratify the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) soon to attract more European investors to Vietnam, including French ones.

Hue noted that Vietnam wants to rebuild the Long Bien Bridge into a cultural space and pedestrian bridge and seeks France's support.

 Larcher on his visit to the Long Bien Bridge. 

Larcher noted he had visited the Long Bien Bridge before this meeting and said there is a political will from both sides to cooperate in this project.

The two leaders have also explored opportunities for cooperation in education and training, with Hue suggesting the French Government grant more scholarships to Vietnamese students.

"This would help improve the quality of Vietnamese human resources and form a cultural and friendship bond between the two countries," Hue said.

Looking ahead, Hue urged the two sides to strengthen cooperation at multilateral forums, such as the IPU, ACEP, and APPF, including an information exchange mechanism before attending these events to improve the effectiveness of cooperation.

Vietnam and France reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, and freedom of navigation in the East Sea, according to which any territorial disputes must be settled by peaceful means and following international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).