Four priorities for bilateral Vietnam–France co-operation
Newly appointed French Ambassador to Vietnam Bertrand Lortholary met with the media in Hanoi on October 20 to provide details about France’s four priorities for co-operation with Vietnam, which were identified by French President François Hollande during his September visit to the Southeast Asian country.
Newly appointed French Ambassador to Vietnam Bertrand Lortholary
According to Lortholary, Vietnam and France have been enjoying a long-standing and strongly growing relationship, which may be the most unique and special in the region as well as around the world. France was one of the first Western nations to support Vietnam’s Doi Moi (Renewal) policy and has been a partner in the country’s development and opening process since then.
Bilateral ties were lifted to a new height in 2013 as the two sides established a strategic partnership, with President Hollande’s state visit to Vietnam last month creating a new impetus for Vietnam–France relations.
Lortholary noted that during his term, he would give priority to concretising the pathways mapped out by the French President on his Vietnam visit, which included four pillars: economics, national defence, climate change and the youth.
For the “economics” pillar, Vietnam and France registered encouraging figures in import and export activities over the past years, with two-way trade revenues in 2015 being double their value in 2010, the French ambassador revealed.
The two sides had signed a number of important economic contracts when President Hollande visited Vietnam in early September, he added.
France had many companies capable of meeting Vietnam’s demands for economic development, urban development and climate change, Lortholary said, calling on Vietnamese enterprises to strengthen their investment into France in order to ensure a “two-way” relationship between the two countries.
He reiterated that France wished to be a companion to and to boost economic ties with Vietnam in the hope that the country could become a gateway for France to penetrate further into the ASEAN market.
Concerning the second priority—climate change, Ambassador Lortholary pointed out that with a coastline over 3,200 kilometres long, Vietnam was among the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change.
France would share its experience with Vietnam in this field via the French Development Agency (AFD), which operated seventeen relevant projects worth a total of EUR525 million across Vietnam during the 2006-2010 period, he said.
The newly accredited ambassador revealed that France would work with the Hanoi authorities to implement an air quality monitoring system in the capital city. The air monitoring project would feature the signing of contracts providing services between Hanoi and French companies, recommendations on controlling the air quality in Hanoi and policies to improve the situation.
Other projects dealing with rising sea water and riverbank erosion would also be carried out in the provinces of Ninh Binh and Ha Tinh as well as in Can Tho, he added.
With regards to national defence, Vietnam and France have been cooperating well with each other in the fields of military medicine and training senior officers, and were looking towards fostering ties in peacekeeping operations.
France is seeking to accompany the People’s Army of Vietnam in the process of modernising military equipment, with a number of negotiations on specific projects currently underway, Lortholary said.
The final priority for France’s relations with Vietnam is getting closer to Vietnam’s younger generations and making France a leading destination for Vietnamese youth, not only for its landscapes and cultures, but also for its favourable and prestigious studying environment, according to the ambassador.
He stated that France would encourage and create favourable conditions for Vietnamese students seeking to pursue overseas studies in the country by providing them with scholarships and offering Vietnamese post-graduates at French universities with internship scholarships at French companies, thereby increasing their employment opportunities.
Lortholary affirmed the French Embassy’s wish to accompany Vietnamese students on their life stages, which would be concretised by the future establishment of the French Space across the country, firstly at Can Tho University in Can Tho./.
( VNF/NDO )