Thai jasmine rice crowned best in world for flavour for fifth time

Thai jasmine rice crowned best in world for flavour for fifth time (Source: NNT)

Bankok (NNT/VNA) – Thai jasmine rice has taken the mantle of the World’s Best Flavoured Rice for the fifth time and for the second year in a row with Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce stating it will leverage the recognition to boost the nation’s rice sales. 

Minister of Commerce Aphiradee Tantraporn said that the 9th World’s Best Rice 2017 event, organised by rice industry analysts ‘The Rice Trader’ in Macau, saw Thailand’s jasmine rice being recognised for its superior taste for the second year in a row after reclaiming the honor last year. Jasmine rice was followed by fragrant rice from Cambodia and ST24 rice from Vietnam. 

Aphiradee cited the win as an affirmation of Thai rice’s acceptance globally and that efforts to promote it should continue. 

The World’s Best Rice took place for the first time in 2009 in Cebu of the Philippines and has rotated through countries that grow rice as a central crop. Its panel of judges comprises food experts, culinary consultants from the United States and acclaimed chefs. They use 4 criteria when judging; fragrance, flavor, glutinous texture and appearance. The judges blind taste test the rice and award them points with no prior knowledge of their origin or type. 

Altogether, Thai jasmine rice has won the accolade five times after being named best for flavor in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2016 and 2017. The Ministry of Commerce will use the latest win to encourage both continued stringent management of Thai rice quality and to promote the product.-VNA

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India pledges to foster ties with ASEAN

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Source: AFP/VNA)

New Delhi (VNA) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that his trip to thePhilippines for the India-ASEAN Summit shows the country’s commitment todeepening ties with the ASEAN member states and the Indo-Pacific region as partof his “Act East Policy”.

The tour will create anew driving force for the bilateral relations while strengthening thepolitical-security, economic, and cultural-social pillars between the twonations, he said.

The Indian PM said he looks forward to having a bilateral meeting withPhilippines President Rodrigo Duterte and will also have meetings with otherASEAN and East Asia Summit leaders. He expects to connect with the Indiancommunity in the Philippines.

Apart from participating in the ASEAN-India andEast Asia Summits, Modi is scheduled to take part in special celebrations ofthe 50th anniversary of ASEAN, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership(RCEP) Leaders’ Meeting and ASEAN Business and Investment Summit. 

The ASEAN and India comprise a total population of 1.85 billion people,which is one-fourth of the global population. The combined GDP has beenestimated at over 3.8 trillion USD.

The India – ASEAN trade valued at 65.04 billion USD in 2015-2016, accountingfor 10.12 percent of India’s total trade value.-VNA 

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APEC 2017: Vietnam’s joining TPP to benefit export firms

He described Vietnam as a big exporter of farm produce, aquatics, garment-textile, and processed products in an interview with Vietnam News Agency’s reporters in Da Nang.

Beck advised Vietnamese firms to build proper strategies to make better access to different markets as well as study their culture and prices.

Trade ministers from 11 member countries of the TPP agreed on core elements of the pact, which is from now on called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), at their meeting within the framework of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in the central city of Da Nang on November 6-11.

They agreed not to make amendments to the original text but freeze the implementation of some clauses to ensure balance and the quality of the document in the new context.

The CPTPP is a comprehensive and high-standard agreement on the basis of balancing interests of its member countries, with regard to their development levels, they said.

The trade pact was officially inked on February 4, 2016 among 12 countries, including the US, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam. TPP is a new-generation free trade agreement with high level of commitment covering trade and non-trade issues.

However, after taking the office in January, 2017, US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw his country from the pact. The remaining TPP countries are working toward a new deal that can move forward without the US.

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​Fish farmers’ floating life on hydropower lake in central Vietnam

Over a dozen of households have settled down with their fish cages at a hydroelectricity reservoir in central Vietnam for years despite risks of drowning among their children and ravages by typhoons.

The Song Tranh (Tranh River) 2 Hydropower Reservoir, located in Bac Tra My District, Quang Nam Province, is dotted with 14 wooden houses surrounded by scores of fish cages.

The entire families initially put down roots on the lake surface to get out of poverty.

From above, the encircling huts, each with a fluttering national flag on the roof, cast shadow on the clear lake surface.

Nguyen Ngoc Canh, 50, is believed to be the earliest settler in the neighborhood.

He took his whole family from the north-central province of Thanh Hoa to Bac Tra My District 23 years ago.

Canh shared his family, who had previously eked out a meager living as a rice farmer, was one of the pioneers to raise fish and live on the reservoir after the district administration adopted a policy to encourage the practice five years ago.

“At first I came here alone, while my wife and kids lived in our old house on land. Later on, I took them along so that we could be together,” he added.

Canh’s relatively sturdy wooden hut on the lake is fully equipped with furniture, television and other items.

The middle-aged man revealed the district assisted him in obtaining a bank loan of over VND100 million (US$ 4,322) to embark on the erection of his house and cages.

Canh initially invested in four cages in which he kept dieu hong (Oreochromis), catfish and ro phi (Tilapia).

He then switched to higher-efficiency breeds such as ca chinh (eel fish) and frogs, and increased the number of his cages to 20.

His family earn more than VND100 million each year and can afford their three children a proper education.

“My children and I were scared of living afloat at first, but gradually got used to it. Now we don’t want to live on land,” Nguyen Thi Xoan, Canh’s wife, said.

The fish farm run by Canh’s fellowman and neighbor, 45-year-old Tran Van Mao, also flourishes.

Fish typically thrive in the middle of the lake where the water is pure, he explained.

Mao has his hands full tending to the enclosures every day, while his wife runs a store at the market that sells fish to clients from across the district.

Their earnings from the cages totaled more than VND200 million ($8,644) in 2016.

Mao had paid off his bank loan and splashed out more money on expanding his business.

Likewise, Huynh Viet Dung, 38, the youngest in the fish farming village, sold his house on land and took his wife and children to the lake three years ago.

Most of the residents hailed from central provinces, while the rest were members of Ca Dong ethnic minority groups, native to the district and some neighboring localities.

Adversities, risks

All the daily activities and traveling at the fish caging village take place by boat.

They take their children to school on sampans every day.

Back from school, the kids stand onshore, waiting for their parents to ride sampans to carry them home.

Better-off families use electricity from generators, while children from needy households do their homework in the dim kerosene light in the evening.

Their worst fear is that their unattended children might fall into the water and drown.

“There were several times when the minors tripped over and tumbled into the water. Luckily adults saved them just in time,” Dung disclosed.      

The villagers also dread the rainy, storm-packed seasons, when the currents rage and the water levels rise by dozens of meters, sending the huts to elevate as well.     

They stayed awake all night long on nights that saw gusts and torrential rains coupled with cyclones to keep a watch on their fish enclosures to prevent huge waves from tearing the nets and freeing the fish. 

Canh revealed several suffered hefty losses during last year’s rainy season as fish got out of the cages ripped apart by cyclones.

“Houses shake violently during the cyclones on the lakes, which can be really ferocious,” he said.

“Many got too scared to sleep at night if their raft and house give way unless they put their life vests on,” he added.

The area is also prone to earthquakes, with the strongest quake that has ever struck Bac Tra My since 1957 happening in November 2012, measuring 4.7 on the Richter scale.

The quake, which lasted for several seconds, got them to rush out of their houses in panic after they heard loud blasts and felt the ground shaking, walls cracking, and household items falling.

“But we are used to these inclement weather conditions,” he said smilingly.

The occupants from the close-knit neighborhood said the village comes alive during the days when they harvest and sell their fish to traders.

After the sale, they prepare and offer a sumptuous meal to water deities in the hope of auspicious weather and hold a cozy get-together.

Their greatest concern is now their output, with traders imposing low prices or refusing to buy the fish due to rough terrain and limited transport.

They would suffer heavy losses due to additional costs, particularly feed for the aquatic animals if no traders come to buy them.

According to Phan Thanh Phuong, deputy head of the Bac Tra My District Office of Agriculture and Rural Development, district leaders observed successful models of raising fish on the hydropower reservoir from other localities in early 2012, before piloting them on one household on the Song Tranh 2 reservoir.

The model was later expanded, with district authorities offering these needy households no-interest loans of up to VND120 million ($5,187) each, fish for breeding purposes and technical assistance.  

The lake is currently home to 14 farming households with 180 cages which produce approximately 1,200 metric tons of mature fish annually.

“Thanks to their diligence and efforts in seeking economically-effective breeds, several have paid off their loans, expanded their business and made a decent living,” Phuong said.

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Trump says trade should be a ‘two-way street’ during joint press briefing in Hanoi

U.S. President Donald Trump began his state visit to Vietnam on Sunday morning after ramming home a strong message on trade at an Asia-Pacific summit in the central city of Da Nang.

During a joint press briefing, President Quang said Trump’s state visit marks a milestone in Vietnam-U.S. relations and sets the momentum for a more substantive and stable comprehensive partnership.

Trump also hailed the progressive relationship between the two countries, praising Vietnam’s “beauty” and “hospitality”.

He repeated his APEC speech themes of free Indo-Pacific trade relations, saying the U.S. is looking forward to “fair and reciprocal” bilateral trade with Vietnam. Vietnam is the U.S.’s biggest trade partner in Southeast Asia but the U.S.deficit with Vietnam has been a concern for Trump’s protectionism policy.

“The U.S. is enthusiastic about reforms that promote economic transparency for all in Vietnam” and about looking to “remove unfair trade practices in the region,” he said at the briefing.

Trump also called for cooperation in maritime security, counter terrorism and human and drug trafficking. He said he would discuss the “growing threat” from North Korea during the next stop of his Asia tour in the Philippines.

“All responsible nations must act now to make sure North Korea stops threatening the world.”

“We want progress not provocation. We want stability not chaos, peace not war,” he said.

Before the press conference, Trump said he was prepared to mediate between claimants to the South China Sea (which Vietnam calls the East Sea), which include Vietnam and China.

“If I can help mediate or arbitrate, please let me know,” Trump said in comments at the start of a meeting in Hanoi with Vietnam’s president, Tran Dai Quang.

Trump acknowledged that China’s position on the South China Sea, nearly all of which is claimed by Beijing, was a problem. “I’m a very good mediator and arbitrator,” he said.

Trump touched down in Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport on Saturday evening and attended a state dinner hosted by Vietnamese president Tran Dai Quang.

Quang hosted on Sunday morning the formal welcoming ceremony for Trump, who is also scheduled to meet with Vietnam’s Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Welcoming ceremony

Trump’s ‘America First’ policy

Addressing the key Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit on Friday, in a striking departure from the standard stance on trade by his predecessors, Trump highlighted the “America First” policy that he said would protect American jobs and prevent other countries from cashing in on his country.

Trump was leaving Da Nang at a time when countries in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, which Trump nixed right after taking office, have agreed on the core elements to move ahead without the U.S.

Vietnam is Southeast Asia’s biggest exporter to the U.S. Many in Vietnam had hoped the TPP, a mammoth trade deal whose 12 members would have made up nearly 40 percent of global GDP, would play a crucial role as a cushion for Hanoi against China.

It is in this context that “Trump’s immediate scrapping of the TPP did much to unnerve the Vietnamese leadership, who saw the agreement as more than a trade deal, but as a strategic anchor for the United States,” said Zachary Abuza, a Southeast Asia expert at the National War College in Washington.

Trump holding fast to his “America first” policy at the APEC Summit is indicative of “his insistence on rewriting bilateral trade agreements, and eschewing multilateral agreements”, Abuza said.

But still, Vietnam just cannot afford to alienate the American president, no matter how unpredictable his diplomacy is.

Last May, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc became the first Southeast Asian leader to pay an official visit to the White House, in a bid to gauge Trump’s policies towards the flashpoint East Sea, tensions over which have pitted Beijing against Hanoi.

“Vietnam has proven to be highly pragmatic in fostering early engagements with the Trump administration,” said Le Hong Hiep, a Vietnamese research fellow at the Iseas Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. “Vietnamese diplomats have also learned how to play along with Trump’s transactional diplomacy.”

On the diplomatic front, to many analysts, Trump’s agenda seems pretty clear.

“His style of diplomacy is very simple and very transactional,” Abuza said. “From what we have seen of Trump’s international visits so far, it’s going to be a lot of ‘what are you going to do for us?’ This is red meat to his base.”

Right after Trump, Chinese President Xi Jingping will also pay a state visit to Vietnam. At the APEC Summit, Xi, who spoke directly after Trump, sought to cast himself as a champion of globalization and economic openness, throwing support behind multilateral trade deals.

“China watches any developments in US -Vietnamese relations with concern,” Abuza said. “They have gained dividends from Trump’s withdrawal from the TPP.”

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​Photo memories of Saigon over half century

Saigon of the last 45 years comes alive through the images of photographer Tam Thai in his recent exhibition.

The exhibition commenced on November 3 at the Ho Chi Minh City Photographer Association and will conclude on Sunday.

It features the many shifts in landscapes the city experienced.

Photos of the southern metropolis of old were put under 20 themes: Bridges of the City, Life of the Immigrants, Streetside Markets, Doors-Streets-Bars-Shrines, Temples and Pagodas, Century-old Relics, Street Culture, Saigon Journalism, Old vs. New, Post-2000, and others.

Photography in anticipation

Photographer Tam Thai came to Saigon from central Vietnam back in 1973 to enroll in medical school.

He brought bottles of his hometown’s specialty fish sauce as deposits to borrow a Konica-Minolta film camera.

He began taking photos of the city, starting from the Bach Dang Wharf in the downtown area.

He would go on photo trips in his spare time.

His first milestone picture was that of The Two Banks of Ong Lanh Bridge, which marked the start of his professional career.

He soon was overwhelmed with the anticipation that such images of the city would fade into oblivion, and had strived to keep the valuable snapshots.

In the exhibition, the old days of Saigon become most vivid, with its many stages of development clearly visualized.

Eyeing the exhibits, one would totally agree that the photographer’s anticipation was well-grounded.

The old silk-cotton tree at the foot of the Quoi Duoc Bridge in 1985 is no longer around, so is the Chinatown along Chu Van An Street in District 6.

Then came the suspension bridge connecting Hiep Duc-Nha Be, the swing bridge of Binh Loi, and the Da Kao Bridge in District 1.

The artist himself was stunned by his own photos.

Commenting on the photo of Tofu Town in 1989 and The Last Day of the Me Pier, he says, “These places are now gone. They have given way to the new high way of Vo Van Kiet. It was fortunate I could capture them.”

A timeline of memories

Browsing the exhibition, one would easily sense the hardships in the life of the photographer. Despite all tough times, he felt a strong bond with the city.

Tam Thai could timely capture the demolishing of houses along Tofu Canal in 2004, and the Renault bus station in District 1 in 1987.

When the Tax Shopping Center, a century-old downtown building, was about to be taken down to make way for the city’s first metro system, he was there to capture how shop owners bid farewell to their premises.

The nostalgic images filled with the artist’s most genuine emotions seem well capable of hooking all viewers.

Under the theme ‘Old Houses’ was a double floor French-style house with a ventilating roof, indicating how French architecture adapted itself to Vietnam’s climate.

It was located on the corner of Ly Chinh Thanh-Truong Dinh Streets, and was pulled down three years ago.

Undergoing a similar fate was a neoclassical mansion constructed in the 20th century in Binh Thanh District, 20 minutes from downtown, as well as the old town near Binh Tay Market, around Chinatown in District 6, built in 1927.

Gone also were the many schools, open air markets, temples and shrines in the city now much more prosperous.

The photo of Saigon Pier and Boats taken in 1985 was much appreciated by a Vietnamese writer, Son Nam, who said it was his most favorite shot of the city.

The section of Old Occupations sends a chill down the spine, for it features the various manual labor jobs like knife sharpening, wood cutting, dragon dance costume making, pottery, letter writing, or cow hoof trimming.

Will these photo memories of Saigon exert an influence on city planners who are working to give the city a new look?

In the face of dramatic changes the city is experiencing, Tam Thai feels big losses to its architecture and cultural values.

Through the exhibition, he hopes to raise environmental awareness.

In particular, in the two images of District 12 set up in a picture-in-picture effect, the inner one displays felled trees, with the background a greenless residential area.

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Storm Haikui likely to weaken as it turns south toward flood-hit central Vietnam

Storm Haikui is changing its course and is expected to weaken as it approaches popular resort towns in south central Vietnam.

The storm was raging with wind speeds of up to 75 kilomters (46.6 miles) per hour early on Sunday morning and is forecast to move southwest in the next two days and weaken to a tropical depression.

The depression, with wind speeds of 40kph, is likely to reach shore at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, directly affecting more than 300 kilometers of coastline from Quang Tri to Quang Ngai, including the popular resort towns of Hue, Da Nang and Hoi An.

Rough seas and heavy downpours are forecast.

Haikui is the 13th tropical storm to form this year in the East Sea, known internationlly as the South China Sea, after growing from a depression on Friday.

The storm was earlier forecast to move north.

Central Vietnam is struggling to recover from Typhoon Damrey, which made landfall on November 4 and has killed at least 106 people in Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam and Binh Dinh, just south of Da Nang and Hoi An.

The two popular resort towns also suffered heavy flooding in the wake of Damrey, which was widely covered by international media as it hit when Da Nang was preparing to host the APEC Summit.

APEC members China, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the U.S. have pledged around $9 million in typhoon aid to Vietnam.

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Xi Jinping’s visit provides new momentum for Vietnam-China relations

The visit, the first overseas trip by President Xi Jinping  after the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China, demonstrates the appreciation of the Chinese Party, State and Mr. Xi for Vietnam-China relations and their support for Vietnam’s hosting of the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.

Vietnam and China have maintained a regular exchange of high-level visits, which play a crucial role in shaping the direction of bilateral ties. 2015 was the first time the two countries’ Party General Secretaries exchanged reciprocal visits within one year. Earlier this year, Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong paid a state visit to China, followed by a state visit by President Tran Dai Quang. Mr. Quang also attended the “One belt, one road” forum in Beijing.

Last year, Vietnam became China’s biggest trade partner in ASEAN and 8th biggest trade partner in the world. From January to September, two-way trade reached 83 billion, up more than 20%, and is forecast to hit 100 billion USD this year. As of September, nearly 1,800 China-invested projects were operating in Vietnam with a combined capital of 12 billion USD.

Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung explained why Vietnam has become increasingly attractive to Chinese investors. “Vietnam and China are enjoying fruitful relations. China is expanding trade ties with all countries around the world including Vietnam. Vietnam’s political stability and its determination to integrate further into the global community and improve the investment and business climate have been acknowledged by China and other countries.”

President Xi delivered speeches at the APEC CEO summit, the APEC-ASEAN Informal Dialogue, and the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, focusing on globalization, multilateral trade, economic connectivity, and a free trade area for the Asia-Pacific region.

Representatives of 300 Chinese business leaders attended the 2017 APEC CEO summit. Doctor Shang Feng of the China Foreign Trade University  said: “Party leader and President Xi’s visit to Vietnam is of paramount importance. More agreements on trade, investment and tourism cooperation will be signed on this occasion”. 

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PM calls for joined hands for the poor

The ceremony was jointly held by the Standing Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee and the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs on the evening of 15 October.

Over the past 17 years, the movement to assist the poor in escaping poverty has been widely expanded in society.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (C) at the event. Photo: VNA

So far, more than VND 13 trillion has been donated to the “For the poor” fund at all levels while social welfare programs in localities nationwide have received VND 36 trillion. The money has contributed to building and repairing more than 1.4 million “Great unity” houses for the poor.

Furthermore, millions of poor households have received financial assistance and production means and dozens of welfare facilities have been upgraded, making contributions to effectively meeting the national goals of sustainable poverty reduction and new-style rural area building.

Addressing the event, PM Phuc affirmed that hunger elimination and poverty reduction has always been a major policy that the Party and the State has paid due attention to and given priority to in the national socio-economic development cause.

The PM noted that in the 2011-2015 period, over VND 5 trillion was contributed to the “For the poor” fund by domestic and international businesses, organizations and individuals. As a result, thousands of “Great unity” houses were built, millions of poor people were assisted with health-care, education, production and business development and the integrated strength of the society was duplicated, making contributions to the improved spiritual and material lives of the poor and to the heightened noble human values of the nation.

Emphasizing positive outcomes of the poverty reduction work, PM Phuc hoped that together with the State’s prioritized resources and the efforts of the poor, more support from domestic and international organizations and individuals is needed for sustainable poverty reduction and the building of new-style rural areas.

PM Phuc added that thousands of compatriots are facing devastating floods and a large number of people are homeless and have had their properties washed away by the floods. Among them, lots of households which had escaped from poverty could return to poverty. “We should continue encouraging and supporting them in a responsible and affectionate manner”, said PM Phuc.

At the ceremony, domestic and international organizations and individuals contributed and pledged to donate a total of VND 264 billion to the poor in the coming time.

Translated by Mai Huong

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Military unit builds school for students in border area

On February 16th, in the northwestern mountainous province of Lai Cai, representatives from Vietnam and China signed an agreement and protocol on the construction of a bridge spanning the Red River in the Lao Cai-Hekou border area. Construction of the new bridge is expected to help further develop trade on the Kunming-Hekou-Lao Cai-Ha Noi-Hai Phong economic corridor, which became much busier. It also facilitates economic, trade and tourism exchange between the Western Region of Vietnam and Yunnan province of China There are two bridges in Lao Cai province now linking to China's Yunnan province. Over the recent years, economic cooperation…... [read more]

VNGOP - Japan's Canon will provide more than US$ 400,000 for the construction of 16 schools in remote areas of the country from now until 2010. A memorandum of understanding underscoring the aid was signed in Hà Nội on July 18 by President and CEO of the Canon group Tsuneji Uchida and Deputy Minister of Education and Training Phạm Vũ Luận. Canon will kick off the project by building 15 classrooms in the northern mountainous provinces of Tuyên Quang and Hòa Bình and central Thanh Hóa province. Work on the classrooms is expected to be completed by the end of…... [read more]

PANO - The High Command of Military Zone 7 and the Southern Province of Long An have opened a school in Hung Dien A Commune, Vinh Hung District for local pupils. The school, with more than 10 classrooms, was built on an area of 5,000 square meters at the total cost of VND 3.5 billion provided by Military Zone 7. It was also equipped teaching equipment for both teachers and pupils. On this occasion, the army unit also presented 20 computers to the school. Every year, units under the Military Zone usually launch various activities to help local people. Translated…... [read more]

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PANO - The family of Senior Lieutenant Ho Tuan Thang, commander of DKZ (recoilless gun) Platoon of Battalion 6 of Regiment 335 under Military Region 4’s Division 324, received a house on November 14 by the regiment and the party organization and authorities of Xuan Giang commune, Nghi Xuan district, Ha Tinh province. The officer’s father sacrificed his life while doing the international service in Cambodia. The officer’s wife is unemployed. Therefore, he is the breadwinner of the family. The 120sq.m house was built at a cost of VND 550 million, of which VND 70 million was from the Ministry…... [read more]

NDO - Deputy Foreign Minister and Head of the National Border Committee Le Hoai Trung granted an interview to the press concerning the Vietnam - Laos border marker work following the conference reviewing the completion of the project on upgrading and increasing the number of border markers along the Vietnam-Laos border. Q: Would you please tell us the main outcomes of the process of resolving the Vietnam-Laos border issue as a Chairman of the National Border Committee under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs? A: The Vietnam - Laos border line is approximately 2,337 km long and is contiguous to 10…... [read more]

Illustrative image (Source:VNA)    Hanoi (VNA) – The stability and development of Vietnam-Laos border areas will contribute to strengthening solidarity between the two countries’ people and boosting social, economic and cultural development in border localities, said Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung. Trung, who is Chairman of the National Boundary Commission, made the remark during an interview recently granted to Vietnam News Agency. The interview came as a conference reviewing the implementation of the master plan on increasing and upgrading Vietnam-Laos border markers took place in Hanoi on September 19. Asked about major points in …... [read more]

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National Assembly Chairwoman active at IPU-137

In her speech, the NA Chairwoman emphasized that scientific successes have benefited all nations, however, the world is facing an array of complicated issues, such as climate change, poverty, terrorism, extremism, non-traditional security threats, discrimination and racial and religious conflicts.

National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan meeting with overseas Vietnamese in Saint Peterburg

Ms. Ngan believed that weapons, wars and violence alone could not address conflicts but tolerance, sincere dialogue, respect, trust, and mutual understanding among peoples and religions can bring about peace and stability,. Therefore, she spoke highly of the IPU-137’s theme “Promoting cultural pluralism and peace through inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogue.”

Chairwoman Ngan elaborated that Vietnam is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic country. In the history of the national construction and development, people of different ethnic groups and religions have lived in peace and together built up the special Vietnamese culture, language, and faith. The constitution, institutions and laws of Vietnam stipulate that all ethnic groups and religions are equal. The Vietnamese NA regularly observes the implementation of policies to ensure the rights of participation, in all legal activities, of all people, regardless of ethnicities or religions.

In order to strengthen cultural pluralism and peace through inter-faith and inter-ethnic dialogue, the Vietnamese leader proposed five recommendations, particularly focusing on encouraging IPU’s member parliaments to build better legal mechanisms to guarantee equality for all ethnic groups and religions, and to observe the implementation of those policies. Additionally, countries should be encouraged to create criteria for evaluating the efficiency of their guidelines and laws towards ethnic minorities and religions, promote information dissemination on tolerance, cooperative willingness, solidarity and mutual respect among ethnicities and religions and foster bilateral and multilateral cooperation on culture, religions and ethnic groups among countries and parliaments. Moreover, the IPU members should associate with the United Nations and international organizations to boost initiatives and actions of law makers for peace, cooperation and solidarity among ethnic groups and religions.

* During her stay in Russia, NA Chairwoman Ngan met with the Speaker of the Parliament of Iran, Ali Ardeshir Larijani.

The two leaders expressed their pleasure at the development of the Vietnam-Iran traditional ties over the previous times, including the parliamentary relationship.

They also agreed to further boost their relations, including enhancing delegation exchanges to share their legislative experiences, promoting mutual bilateral parliamentary cooperation and observance to boost the implementation of their signed agreements, as well as supporting each other at the regional and global fora.

* At the meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea (RoK), Chung Sye-Kyun, Ms. Ngan underlined that the two countries should continually heighten the strategic partnership for the sake of their peoples.

The Vietnamese and RoK NAs should cooperate closely to observe the implementation of agreements signed by the two countries, support the two Governments to boost the bilateral cooperation, promote exchanges between the two NAs’ agencies, uphold the role of the two Friendly Parliamentarian Groups under an agreement of the two NAs and actively back each other at international fora like the IPU, ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), and AsiaPacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF).

For his part, Mr. Chung Sye-Kyun laid stress on the traditional relations of Vietnam and the RoK, and added that the two countries need to boost cooperation in key fields, including high-ranking delegation exchanges, to further deepen the bilateral ties.

Meeting with Deputy-Chairman of the Chinese National People’s Congress Zhang Ping, the Vietnamese NA Chairwoman congratulated China’s Party, State and people on their achievements over the past time and held that Vietnam always attached great importance to the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations.

In turn, the Chinese official highlighted the socio-political successes of Vietnam under the sound leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Vietnam and China have been seeing increasing parliamentary cooperation, contributing to the development of bilateral ties.

In order to further enhance the relations, Ms. Ngan suggested that the two sides continue to prepare well for their high-ranking visits and meetings and affirmed that Vietnam appreciates the planned official visit to Vietnam of Chinese President Xi Jinping in November.

She suggested that the two countries’ relevant ministries, agencies and localities effectively implement agreements reached by their top leaders, especially in addressing current issues and extending cooperation, for the sake of both sides.

Chairwoman Ngan concluded that the cooperation between the Vietnamese NA and the Chinese National People’s Congress will contribute considerably to the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership.

Translated by Van Hieu

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