Southern Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City and the northeastern American city of New York signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the twinning relationship at a ceremony in New York on Friday.
The signing was made between Phan Van Mai, chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City administration and New York Mayor Eric Adams, in the presence of Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, who are in the U.S. city to attend the General Debate of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
This MoU on twinning ties “is of great significance to both cities” as the two countries have recently upgraded their bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership, Mai told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
“This is not only symbolic but also demonstrates a strong commitment to promoting comprehensive, substantive and effective cooperation between the two countries at all levels,” Mai commented.
“I hope the sister relationship will serve as a solid and favorable foundation for bilateral cooperation programs between Ho Chi Minh City and New York City within the new relationship framework,” the Vietnamese city’s mayor said.
The new ties will facilitate businesses of both cities in strengthening cooperation and expanding their markets, he added.
The mayor stated that the two cities have many similarities and great potential to promote cooperation, adding that each city has its own role in its home country.
New York, with a population of about nine million people, approximately that of Ho Chi Minh City, is among the leading financial, commercial, cultural centers of the U.S. and the world.
Meanwhile, Ho Chi Minh City, as the economic engine as well as the economic, cultural and scientific and technical hub of Vietnam, is on the way to become a leading metropolis in the region, Mai said.
As both are large cities, they are facing a lot of challenges in terms of urban administration and environment, prompting the two sides to launch cooperation programs to address such challenges, the mayor added.
Based on the MoU, Mai hoped that the two cities would focus on promoting the exchange of experience and cooperation in the fields of economics, finance, culture, environment, science, technology, innovation and education.
“In the immediate future, I propose cooperation in training high-quality human resources, setting up an innovation center and an international financial center in Ho Chi Minh City to lay a foundation for an extensive cooperation framework between the two cities and both countries,” Mai suggested.
The twinning between Ho Chi Minh City and New York City will bring many benefits to both, supporting Ho Chi Minh City in realizing its goal of becoming a regional and international financial center.
The city will learn from New York’s experience in building, managing and operating a financial center, and the two sides will exchange experience in new areas such as green finance and cyber security.
The twinning will help Ho Chi Minh further attract investment from New York firms and get access to funding from investment funds and banks of New York.
“Through educational and cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, I believe that the people of the two cities will have more and more opportunities to meet, enhance bilateral understanding, cultivate knowledge and build trust for peace, cooperation and development,” Mai stated.
After the twinning ceremony, Mayor Adams and PM Chinh had a meeting, in which the American city leader affirmed that he will take steps to support Ho Chi Minh City, contributing to the efforts to make it a strong financial center in the region and the world.
Adams also promised to strengthen the ties with Vietnam in general, especially in creative innovation, environmental protection, and youth exchanges, among others.
PM Chinh expressed his pleasure at the MoU signing, considering it a vivid testament to the good relationship between Vietnam and the U.S. in general and between localities of the two countries in particular, and hopes to see more similar relationships in the near future.
Ho Chi Minh City is once again the first locality to establish a twinned relationship with an American locality in the context of the two countries making a strong landmark in their ties.
Previously in 1995, the city twinned with San Francisco when the two countries normalized diplomatic relations.
Ho Chi Minh City currently has twinning relations with more than 50 localities all over the world, which are both a resource and a driving force for the city to develop and further reach out to the world.