Vietnamese Ambassador to Bulgaria Nguyen Thi Hong Oanh has voiced expectations for stronger ties with Bulgaria ahead of an official visit to the European nation by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Bulgaria Nguyen Thi Hong Oanh (L).
Ambassador Oanh said the trip from July 3 to 5, made at the invitation of Bulgarian Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, is the first official visit by a Vietnamese diplomatic leader to Bulgaria since political changes in the country in 1989.
The visit comes at a time of cooperation developing in all spheres. Notably, since 2013, leaders of the countries have affirmed that they will promote bilateral relations towards a strategic partnership.
She said the visit is a chance for the two sides to strengthen traditional connections, discuss ways to bring bilateral ties to a new level and share views on issues of common concern.
It aims to not only realise Vietnam’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralisation and persification of foreign relations, and being a friend and trustworthy partner in the international community, but also show that Vietnam attaches importance to countries it has traditional relations with.
Oanh noted that Bulgaria was one of the first 10 countries to establish diplomatic ties with Vietnam, on February 8, 1950. She described the 1970s and 1980s as the “golden” period in bilateral links when thousands of Vietnamese officials and experts received training in Bulgaria.
Over the years, the two sides have maintained mutual visits at all levels, especially high-ranking delegations, organised consultations on issues of common concern and cooperated at international and regional forums, particularly within the framework of the United Nations, ASEAN-EU cooperation and the Asia-Europe Meeting.
Bulgaria considers Vietnam one of its most important partners in Southeast Asia, and Vietnam can help the EU nation enhance connections with ASEAN countries. Meanwhile, Bulgaria can also assist Vietnam in tightening links with EU countries. Its leaders have often affirmed that they support the signing and ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
The diplomat highlighted progress in bilateral economic-trade partnerships, especially in recent years, but they remain modest compared to the two sides’ potential.
She also noted expanding people-to-people exchange, adding that Vietnamese who used to study and work in Bulgaria and about 1,000 expatriates in the country at present are a bridge linking the two nations.
Regarding the prospect of bilateral relations, Ambassador Oanh expressed her belief in their huge potential in all fields because since the political changes in Bulgaria in 1989, all parties in parliament have voiced support for the countries’ traditional cooperation and considered Vietnam a leading Southeast Asian partner. Leaders of Vietnam and Bulgaria have also affirmed the wish to develop bilateral ties.
The role of Bulgaria in the EU has risen considerably after holding the rotational Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2018. Although it is a small economy with a population of about 7.5 million, Bulgaria has a strategic location and can serve as a gateway for Vietnamese goods to enter Europe, she added.
She voiced her belief that with the enormous potential and efforts of both sides, their friendship and connections will keep flourishing to meet the two peoples’ demand and interests./.