A Safe and Prosperous Viet Nam

Address by H.E. Mr. Hoang Van Loi, Ambassador of Viet Nam to South Africa on the occasion of the 76th Independence Day of Viet Nam

2 September 2021

On the 2nd day of September every year, Vietnamese people at home and abroad celebrate a day of freedom, liberty and independence, a day of history, remembrance, hope and promise. 76 years ago, on September 2nd 1945, President Ho Chi Minh delivered the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming the birth of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, now the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. On this year’s 76th Anniversary of the Independence Day of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, I would like to convey my warmest greetings to you and best wishes of health, peace and prosperity.

2021 has been an eventful year. The COVID-19 pandemic still rages on around the world, reversing years and even decades of development, affecting the global economy, international relations and people’s livelihoods. In Viet Nam, as I write these words, thousands upon thousands of health workers, medical students, military servicemen, police officers and volunteers from all over the country are marching to COVID-19 hotspots in Southern provinces, risking their own lives for their fellow countrymen’s. The image speaks to Viet Nam’s national solidarity and strength. And in these unprecedented times, we are grateful for the global community’s support and generous donations of vaccines and medical equipment.

The year 2021 also marked an important event in Viet Nam. The 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Viet Nam, which was successfully convened, underlined the overall goals and concrete targets for the years 2025, 2030, and 2045, identified major socio-economic development targets for 2021- 2025, orientations for national development for 2021-2030, and key tasks for the upcoming five years. On foreign policy, the 13th Party Congress reaffirms the principle of “upholding the consistent foreign policy line of independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation and development, multilateralization and diversification of external relations. Viet Nam is a friend, a trusted partner, and an active and responsible member of the international community”.

Having been forged and cultivated by late President Nelson Mandela and President Ho Chi Minh, the relationship between Viet Nam and South Africa today is ever strong. It could be traced back to 1955 at the Bandung Conference, where the delegations of the Labour Party of Viet Nam and the African National Congress met, both as observers at the conference. In 1978, the African National Congress President Oliver Tambo visited Viet Nam and, with the leaders of Viet Nam, committed the two countries to a relationship that would contribute to independence and reconstruction in Viet Nam as well as the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.

Official bilateral diplomatic relations were established in November 1993, just before South Africa gained democratic independence. In 2004, Viet Namese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai visited South Africa and the two sides signed the Joint Statement on the Partnership for Cooperation and Development. Later in 2007, during President Thabo Mbeki’s historic visit to Viet Nam, the two countries issued a Joint Statement detailing measures to strengthen cooperation in all areas, from politics and trade to education, people-to-people exchanges, and science and technology. Especially, since the visit to Viet Nam in 2016 by the then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the two countries have exchanged numerous delegations to continue to elevate the relations of friendship and cooperation to new heights. In multilateral frameworks, Viet Nam and South Africa share common views on many key issues and work closely together to foster peace, security and development around the world. We particularly hold in high regard South Africa’s contributions at the United Nations, Non-Aligned Movement, G20 and BRICS.

South Africa’s accession in November 2020 to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) made a dream envisaged by former President Nelson Mandela come to fruition, marking a historic milestone for the relationship of South Africa with ASEAN, making it clear that physical distance is not a barrier to working towards shared peace, security and prosperity.

Like South Africans, the Vietnamese people share the common aspiration of building a nation of independence, freedom and happiness. This common aspiration has been instilled in all Vietnamese since the Day of Independence 76 years ago. I am confident that in the coming times, with steadfast determination and the support of international friends including South Africa, Viet Nam will overcome all challenges and build a safer and more prosperous nation, for the sake of peace and prosperity in the world at large.