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French Armed Forces Minister to attend Dien Bien Phu victory anniversary in Vietnam

French Armed Forces Minister to attend Dien Bien Phu victory anniversary in Vietnam

Saturday, May 04, 2024, 14:00 GMT+7
French Armed Forces Minister to attend Dien Bien Phu victory anniversary in Vietnam
French Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu. Photo: AFP

French Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu will visit Vietnam next week to attend the 70th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu battle that marked the victory of the Vietnamese revolutionary army over French colonialists on May 7, 1954.

Minister Lecornu – accompanied by Patricia Miralles, Secretary of State to the Minister for the Armed Forces, with responsibility for veterans and remembrance – will represent France at the battle anniversary at the invitation of Vietnam, the French Embassy in Hanoi confirmed on Friday.

The event will take place next Tuesday, May 7, in Dien Bien Phu, the capital city of Dien Bien Province in northern Vietnam. 

On that day in 1954, the Vietnamese revolutionary army won a globe-shaking victory over French colonial troops after a 56-day military campaign in Muong Thanh Valley, Lai Chau Province, which is now Dien Bien Province.

Vietnam’s invitation to this celebration and the coming visit of French Minister Lecornu demonstrate the good bilateral relations, the friendship between the two countries, and the common desire of both sides to strengthen their partnership, the embassy stated in a press release on Friday.

Lecornu will meet with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Defense Minister Phan Van Giang and head of the Party Central Committee’s Foreign Affairs Commission Le Hoai Trung before attending the anniversary. 

During their stay in Vietnam, Lecornu and Miralles will also visit the battlefield relics in Dien Bien Phu and meet with a number of Vietnamese and French veterans.

On this occasion, the French Ministry of the Armed Forces and the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense are expected to sign a letter of intent on strengthening cooperation in defense.

Miralles is scheduled to attend a ceremony marking the completion of the Muong Thanh Bridge lighting system, a project funded by the French city of Lyon and the French Development Agency and implemented with the support of light experts from Lyon. 

The coming visit by Minister Lecornu will not be the first time that a French politician has visited Dien Bien Phu.

In 1993, French President Francois Mitterrand visited the former battlefield as part of his visit to Vietnam.

Six years ago, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also spent about three hours on the battle relics in Dien Bien Phu during his visit to the Southeast Asian country. 

However, these visits did not coincide with Vietnam's anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory.

Therefore, the attendance of Lecornu at the upcoming anniversary on May 7 is of great significance.

“For the first time in history, the Vietnamese have invited France to this commemoration, a sign of their desire to build a relationship for the future,” AFP reported, quoting the French ministry as saying on Friday.

The coming visit demonstrates the spirit of “closing the past, and looking to the future”, based on which the two sides work together for the development of the two countries and peoples, French Ambassador to Vietnam Olivier Brochet said in an interview with the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) on Tuesday.

“I believe that this will be a very important moment for bilateral relations because we show the Vietnamese, the French, as well as the whole world that together we can look back at the past, accept it, and after 70 years, we can become friends and stand together on the former battlefield to build the future,” the ambassador commented.

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Vinh Tho - Duy Linh / Tuoi Tre News

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