Vietnam - A Country of Peace
Remarks by Ambassador Le Huy Hoang of Vietnam at the National Independence Day Celebration
Pretoria, 01 September 2016
First of all, I would like to express my warmest welcome and sincere thanks to you all for coming to my Residence, the House of Vietnam, today to celebrate the 71st Anniversary of Vietnam’s Independence. I would like to particularly thank you, Honourable Zou Kota Fredericks, Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Representative of the Government of South Africa, and all other distinguished Guests and Friends, including those from our Vietnamese community from Swaziland, Botswana and the neighboring countries for your valuable presence at our Reception.
I would also like to thank our Embassy staff and all those who have devoted their efforts and contribution for the excellent arrangement of this event.
On September 2nd, 71 years ago, in 1945, in the historic Ba Dinh Square at the heart of Hanoi City, our President Ho Chi Minh read aloud Vietnam’s Declaration of Independence to the entire Vietnamese nation. This Declaration of Independence marked the birth of the new Democratic Republic of Vietnam (now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam), opening up a new era for our independence, freedom and happiness. This revolutionary victory proved the courage and solidarity of the Vietnamese nation, and it also added strength to the independence struggles of many nations around the world, including those in the African continent.
During the past 71 years, our country Vietnam has successfully fought many years of wars for national independence and sovereignty. And we also have attained many successful achievements in our national development.
From a country (known many years as wars), Vietnam today has become a country of peace. With a population of over 94 million, we have become a middle-income country, offering a big, attractive market that is brimming with diverse potentials.
For the past 15 years, our annual economic growth rate achieved an average of 7.5%. Even with the recent global economic downturn, Vietnam maintained a GDP growth rate of 6.7% in 2015. Our country is now also an attractive destination for foreign investment, with total FDI of over 250 billion USD so far.
With our current political and social stability, Vietnam is in a prime position to continue growing a vibrant market economy and pursuing dynamic development in all sectors.
Vietnam’s open economic policies are well-aligned with the open-door foreign policies of our Party and Government. We are committed to strengthening and diversifying friendly relations with all other countries. Today, Vietnam has opened up diplomatic relations with 185 countries and economic and investment relations with more than 230 countries and territories around the world. As a responsible and reliable partner in regional and global affairs, we are now a member of the ECOSOC, the UN Human Rights Council, and participating in the UN PKO. In the region, Vietnam has worked closely with other ASEAN members to establish the ASEAN Community from December 2015. We are also committed to work together with countries within and outside the region for peace and development, for the settlement of all issues, including those relating to the East Sea, by peaceful means, through dialogues and negotiations, in conformity with international laws and the UN Charter.
In this time of celebration, we are especially proud to see the strong growth in the relations of friendship between Vietnam and South Africa during the past 23 years. But, it is important to note that our traditional friendship started long long before that, with important historical landmarks such as the Bandung Conference in 1955, or the historical visit to Vietnam by the ANC former-President Oliver Tambo in 1978, where our leaders met and shared with each other the valuable support and experience for national freedom and independence. The excellent political relationship is very favourable and conducive to the promotion of cooperation in economic, trading and investment.
The increased number of delegation exchanges between Vietnam and South Africa, from top-ranking officials to businessmen and trade representatives, as well as tourists from both sides, indicates the positive signs of the ongoing and future potentials for the prosperous cooperation between our two countries. We believe that the upcoming visit to Vietnam by Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa next month, returning the invitation by our Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai during his official visit to South Africa in 2015, will create new momentum for our two countries to cooperate further in different areas, from trade, security, agriculture, education to tourism, environment, defense, and so on.
Trading is now among the top significant substantive cooperation between our two countries. With the current USD 1.2 billion in bilateral trade, South Africa is now the largest trading partner of Vietnam in the African continent. Our people hope to import more good wine and beef among other products of quality from South Africa. Likewise, we hope to have more Vietnamese products enter the South African markets, including seafood, text-tile, agricultural products, and coffee, among others. In this regard, the Trade Office and our Embassy of Vietnam today would like to offer everyone a gift bag of instant coffee (please do not forget to take one when you leave our premises at the end of the party).
The incredible progress that Vietnam has made in the past 71 years gives us strong impetus to pursue further growth and development in all areas. We look forward to building on and strengthening our friendship and cooperation with South Africa, and other countries and institutions that Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners, and you all represent.
Again, we thank you all for coming to our Reception, and we very much hope to count on your continued support and friendship, for the mutual interests of Vietnam, South Africa and all of us.
With that, may I invite you, Honourable Zou Kota-Fredericks, and all of us to raise your glasses:
- To the National Day of Vietnam;
- To the good health and successes of President Tran Dai Quang of Vietnam and President Jacob Zuma of South Africa; and
- To the ever-growing friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and South Africa.
Thank you very much.
Embassy of Vietnam in Pretoria, South Africa