Ho Chi Minh City, a southern economic hub of Vietnam, wishes to further expand multifaceted cooperation with Belgium to fully tap the potentials of the two countries, Secretary of the city’s Party Committee Nguyen Van Nen said on Friday.
Nen was speaking at a reception he hosted for President of the Belgian Senate Stéphanie D’Hose, who arrived in Vietnam on Monday for an official five-day visit at the invitation of Vietnamese National Assembly chairman Vuong Dinh Hue.
The city’s Party leader, also a Politburo member, highly appreciated the visit by D’Hose as it took place when two countries are celebrating the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations and five years of the bilateral strategic partnership in the field of agriculture.
In the past 50 years, the relationship between the two countries has been constantly developing, with a shift from purely humanitarian cooperation to an increasingly effective partnership in all fields from politics, diplomacy to economy, culture and people-to-people exchanges, Nen stated.
At the same time, the two countries have common interests in the fields of education, culture, mitigation of consequences of Agent Orange/dioxin, disadvantaged women protection, environmental protection and climate change response.
As an economic, culture, education-training, science and technology hub of Vietnam and the country’s center for international integration, the city has implemented various cooperation programs and plans between the two nations in all areas, Nen said.
He emphasized that Ho Chi Minh City has also operated many effective cooperation projects with Belgium, but the current trade and investment partnership between the city and Belgium has remained modest compared to the potential and aspirations of both sides.
The city’s Party chief believed that the Belgian Senate President’s visit will help expand the cooperation between the two countries as well as between the city and Belgian localities, especially in the current period when the city has piloted a number of specific mechanisms and policies to further attract foreign investment.
The official extended his high appreciation and thanked the House of Representatives of Belgium for issuing a resolution on support to Agent Orange/dioxin (AO) victims in Vietnam.
D’Hose said her visit aimed to further strengthen the Vietnam-Belgium relations and added that the two nations are far apart geographically but they have closeness in terms of culture, patriotism and empathy.
The resolution on Agent Orange of the Belgian House of Representatives is not only a political, diplomatic and humanitarian issue but it is also of ethical and humane significance.
Through the resolution, Belgium wants to awaken humankind conscience and prevent similar acts in the future, she added.
Belgium and Vietnam have similarities in history, so there is sympathy for the pain of war consequences, D’Hose said, adding that the friendship and cultural closeness between the two sides will contribute to erasing the pain of war.
She presented Nen a pen as her gift, saying she hoped the official will use it to sign such projects that help boost the development of the city.
Throughout her visit to Vietnam, the President of the Belgium Senate had highly effective discussions with senior leaders of Vietnam, from Hanoi, Hue, Quang Tri to Ho Chi Minh City, to discuss steps to beef up the strategic partnership between the two nations
She said she respects the country and people of Vietnam because in her eyes, the Vietnamese people are very humble and honest.