Vietnam News Today (Jun 2): Fresh Impetus to Vietnam – Australia Partnership

Vietnam News Today (Jun 2): Fresh impetus to Vietnam – Australia partnership; German journalist’s new book tells stories about Vietnam war in 1972; Vietnam Festival in Tokyo to feature vibrant activities; Petrol prices increase in latest adjustment.
June 02, 2023 | 07:10

Vietnam News Today (Jun 2) notable headlines

Fresh impetus to Vietnam – Australia partnership

German journalist’s new book tells stories about Vietnam war in 1972

Vietnam Festival in Tokyo to feature vibrant activities

Petrol prices increase in latest adjustment

Airfares for domestic summer flights begin rising in price

Vietnamese durian selling well in Chinese market

Vietnam – US project for persons with severe disabilities enters new phase

Hanoi hosts Vietnam - Australia friendship food and culture festival

Vietnamese paintings auctioned for thousands of Euros

Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Nguyen Tat Thanh
Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Nguyen Tat Thanh.

Fresh impetus to Vietnam – Australia partnership

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is scheduled to pay an official visit to Vietnam on June 3-4 at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chinh, aiming to foster the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Vietnam and Australia established diplomatic relations on February 26, 1973. Bilateral relations have over the past five decades developed vigorously, especially since the two countries upgraded their relationship to the level of strategic partnership five years ago.

The Vietnam visit, the first in Albanese’s capacity as Australian Prime Minister and the third by an Australian Prime Minister, shows the Australian Government led by Albanese’s Labour Party attaches special importance to and wants to strengthen relations with Vietnam, said Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Nguyen Tat Thanh.

The visit comes hot on the heels of the Hanoi visit in April 2023 by Australian Governor-General David Hurley. Also in April 2023, Australian Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell visited Vietnam. Previously, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles visited Vietnam in November 2022, launching the first annual Defense Dialogue between the two countries. Foreign Minister Penny Wong also chose Vietnam as the first country in Southeast Asia to visit after the new Australian government was formed in May 2022.

Meanwhile, National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue visited Australia late last year – the first by a senior Vietnamese leader to Australia in the past five years. Previously, Politburo member and Head of the Central Committee's Internal Affairs Committee Phan Dinh Trac also visited Australia. In September 2022, Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son also travelled to Australia to formulate the annual working mechanism between the two foreign ministers.

It’s noteworthy that following a phone call in October, 2022, Chinh twice met Albanese on the sidelines of the 40th ASEAN Summit in November 2022, and the expanded G7 Summit in May 2023. Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong also held a meeting with PM Albanese on the sidelines of the coronation ceremony of British King Charles III in May 2023.

Those subsequent high-level meetings and visits show that both sides are making every effort to further strengthen bilateral relations, cited VOV.

Vietnam is one of important partners for Australia in Southeast Asia. Over the past year, Australia has proactively taken strong and comprehensive steps towards ASEAN neighbours, as evidenced by appointing a special envoy for Southeast Asia, developing a Southeast Asia economic strategy to 2040 and increasing its official development assistance (ODA) for the region after establishing the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with ASEAN.

Vietnam is an increasingly important economic and strategic partner for Australia in Southeast Asia, an area of focus for the Albanese Government, according to a media release of the Australian Government prior to the trip.

The Australian PM’s upcoming visit is of great significance as it will help to forge a closer partnership in the new period both bilaterally and multilaterally, whilst simultaneously tightening personal relations between the two countries’ leaders, Ambassador Thanh told Canberra-based VOV correspondent Viet Nga.

During his two-day stay in Hanoi, Albanese who is leader of the Australian Labour Party, is scheduled to meet with senior Vietnamese leaders, including General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong.

It’s worth remembering that Australia, under the rule of the Labour Party, welcomed Vietnamese Party General Secretaries on official visits in 1995 and 2009. The meeting between the two leaders in Hanoi this time is therefore expected to strengthen strategic trust and lay the foundations for a strong partnership between the two parties and the two countries over the coming decades, said the Ambassador.

The two PMs will also hold talks to outline orientations for bilateral and multilateral cooperation. They will spend time discussing ways to boost trade, investment, and education links, and to expand cooperation on climate, energy, and the environment.

The two sides are set to review the realisation of an action plan to implement the Vietnam – Australia Strategic Partnership and the Australia-Vietnam Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy.

Given the current context, the two countries are likely to prioritise cooperation in mutually-beneficial and complementary fields such as climate change response, digital transformation, green development, clean energy, and sustainable and coordinated supply chains in the Mekong sub-region, ASEAN, and other regional and international forums. These are believed to be new pillars of linkages which can serve to elevate the Vietnam - Australia Strategic Partnership to new heights.

The relations between both sides have developed effectively and substantially across all fields since the two countries upgraded ties to the level of a strategic partnership in 2018.

Currently, Australia makes up Vietnam’s seventh largest trading partner, whilst the country is the Australian side’s 10th largest trading partner. Vietnam has always received strong Australian support, especially in the fields of education - training and strategic infrastructure development. Last year saw two-way trade turnover reach US$15.7 billion, up nearly 27% compared to 2021.

Both countries have underscored the need to take their strategic partnership to a new level in order to boost bilateral cooperation amid a rapidly changing world. During previous meetings, senior leaders of the two countries agreed that they would announce the upgrade at an appropriate time.

Ambassador Thanh expressed his belief that Albanese’s visit would create a new framework for bilateral relations to further develop across all channels, while simultaneously deepening strategic trust and moving towards the two countries’ common vision for the next 50 years.

German journalist’s new book tells stories about Vietnam war in 1972

German journalist Hellmut Kapfenberger has introduced his new book, which is a collection of writings and photos about the war in Vietnam in 1972 that the author gathered when he worked as a resident correspondent of ADN News Agency of the German Democratic Republic and Neues Deutschland Newspaper in Hanoi.

Entitled “Vietnam 1972. Ein Land unter Bomben. Mit Notizbuch und Kamera im Norden unterwegs” (Vietnam 1972. A country under bombs. Out and about in the North with a notebook and camera), the 256-page book presents a large number of writings and 36 photos that the author took in the North of Vietnam, bringing readers a panorama and true picture on the resistance war of the Vietnamese people, especially in the tough fight in 1972.

In its first part, the book reviews major milestones in the history of the Vietnamese revolution from 1945 to 1965 when the US started bringing its first troops to the South of Vietnam and bombing the North, forcing Vietnam to sit at the negotiating table.

The author underlined that the US sprayed Agent Orange/dioxin (AO) in Vietnam not from 1965 but as early as 1961 and lasted until 1971. The spraying of this toxic chemical has left devastating consequences on Vietnamese people and their offspring.

Decades after the war ended, about 1 million Vietnamese, including about 100,000 children, mostly with birth defects, have still suffered the consequences of this crime. Even today, in the fourth generation, every year about 6,000 children are born with birth defects or serious diseases, according to VNA.

German journalist Hellmut Kapfenberger (left) at the launching ceremony of the book. (Photo: VNA)
German journalist Hellmut Kapfenberger (left) at the launching ceremony of the book. (Photo: VNA)

According to the author, no one can say when the incalculable suffering of the Vietnamese people will end. The perpetrators of the crimes were never prosecuted and the Vietnamese victims were not compensated by the US, while in 1984, thousands of US soldiers affected by AO were compensated by the manufacturers with 180 million USD.

Kapfenberger noted that Vietnam is making every effort to support AO victims. When the war ended, the US continued to punish Vietnam for nearly two decades with strict embargo and blockade measures. It was not until the early 1990s that US President George H. W. Bush launched the first negotiations on the normalisation of bilateral relations.

In its introduction, Wiljo Heinen publishing house wrote that 1972 was a terrible year when the US, under the command of President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, tried to break the resistance of the Vietnamese people with a cruel bombing campaign. The information and images collected by journalist Kapfenberger, introduced in the book, reflect the devastating consequences of attacks on civilians that have left thousands dead, and turned towns and villages into ruins and ashes. According to the publisher, the testimonies of Kapfenberger are not only contemporary documents but also a demonstration of solidarity with a nation that stood up to struggle for its own independence and freedom.

Speaking at the launching of the book, Vietnamese Minister Counsellor Chu Tuan Duc highly evaluated the deep sentiments that journalist Kapfenberger have given to Vietnam. He said that what the journalist wrote about Vietnam would help German friends and readers get a better understanding and insight on Vietnam, thus helping promote the sound relations between the two countries' people.

Kapfenberger, born in 1933, worked as a resident reporter in Vietnam in the 1970-1973 and 1980-1984 periods. After returning home, he actively joined solidarity activities with Vietnam.

He is also the author of many other books about Vietnam, including "Berlin - Bonn - Saigon - Hanoi", “Ho Chi Minh – Politische Biografie” (Political Biography), “Vietnam - ein dreizigjähriger Krieg 1945-1975” (Vietnam – A 30-year war 1945-1975), and “Duong mon Ho Chi Minh” (Ho Chi Minh Trail).

Vietnam Festival in Tokyo to feature vibrant activities

The Vietnam Festival 2023 scheduled to take place on June 3-4 at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo, Japan, is set to involve a wide range of activities to excite crowds.

Opening with the theme of “Hope”, this year’s festival will feature traditional cuisine, cultural and music performances of both Vietnam and Japan.

Most notably, Vietnamese artists will perform water puppetry pieces for the first time to showcase the country’s rich traditional culture.

Music galas drawing the participation of famous Vietnamese singers such as Amee and Grey D are expected to enthrall locals and tourists, reported VOV.

A Vietnam Festival held at Ikebukuro Park in Tokyo, Japan on April 8, 2023.
A Vietnam Festival held at Ikebukuro Park in Tokyo, Japan on April 8, 2023.

Booths displaying Vietnamese handicrafts and food delicacies will be set up, with Banh Mi (baguette) and Pho (noodles) being introduced to visitors during the festival.

Participants will have the chance to don an Ao Dai (traditional long dress) and Non La (palm-leaf conical hat), helping them to gain a greater understanding of Vietnamese culture.

The Vietnam Festival was first held in 2018. This year marks the 13th edition of the event in Japan, making significant contributions to enhancing unity and understanding between Vietnamese and Japanese people, as well as deepening the fine relationship between the two countries.

Petrol prices increase in latest adjustment

The retail petrol prices rose in the latest adjustment on June 1 by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance.

The price of E5 RON 92 petrol went up 390 VND per litre to 20,878 VND (0.89 USD). Meanwhile, that of RON 95 rose by 516 VND to 22,015 VND per litre.

Meanwhile, the price of diesel oil decreased 11 VND to 17,943 VND per litre, while kerosene price fell by 198 VND to 17,771 VND per litre, cited VNA.

Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)
Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

At this price adjustment, the two ministries decided to extract 300 VND per litre from all the fuels for the petrol price stabilisation fund.

Airfares for domestic summer flights begin rising in price

Air ticket prices for domestic flights to famous tourism destinations such as Da Nang and Nha Trang with departure from mid-June, especially on weekends, have begun increasing.

The airfares to tourism sites with departure in June remain reasonable and the supply is plentiful, as students are still busy with entrance exams to high schools and universities. However, airfares in June are still 20 percent higher than in May, which was considered the low season, when people had just experienced the April holiday.

The airfares will increase sharply in July.

Passengers will have to pay VND3.26 million for Hanoi-Nha Trang return ticket with departure in mid-June if they want to fly with Vietnam Airlines, and VND3.5 million if they want to fly with Vietjet Air. Meanwhile, on weekends, air tickets will be over VND4 million.

The airfares on Hanoi-Da Nang routes are between VND2-2.3 million in June, and VND3 million in July.

As for the Hanoi-Quy Nhon route, the tickets will be VND2.9-3.45 million depending on air carriers. However, the figure will be about VND4 million in July.

However, Phu Quoc Island has entered the rainy season, so the tickets for flights there are just VND2 million if flying on VietJet from Hanoi, and VND3.38 million if flying on Vietnam Airlines. If passengers book tickets in July, airfares will be VND4 million on weekends.

In order to satisfy high demand this summer, from June 1 to August 15, the Vietnam Airlines Group (including Vietnam Airlines, Pacific Airlines and VASCO) will provide 7.3 million seats in its entire domestic and international network.

In the highest rush period, air carriers will provide nearly 500 flights a day, which means a 30 percent increase compared with ordinary days, VNN reported.

Vietnam News Today (Jun 2): Fresh Impetus to Vietnam – Australia Partnership
Photo: VNN

The busiest air routes connect with famous tourist sites, including Hanoi/HCM City -Da Nang, Con Dao, Hue, Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, Da Lat, and Phu Quoc.

Regarding international air routes, the destination points with highest numbers of flights are Japan, South Korea and Thailand.

Vietnam Airlines Group has reported that the number of booked seats is increasing very rapidly. Some flights in the peak summer season have seen the number of seats half occupied. Air carriers are applying a flexible airfare policy with a wide variety of prices, satisfying the passengers’ diverse demands.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, airports throughout the country served 9 million passengers, up 3.2 percent over April.

Vietnam’s airlines carried 4.46 million passengers, up 3.3 percent (1.2 million foreign and 3.26 domestic travelers). In the first five months of the year, they carried 22.4 million passengers.

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