|All the rage: Rodeo, a traditional sport in Chile, was declared the national sport in 1962. — Photo courtesy Chilean Embassy
Today, as Chile celebrates the 203rd anniversary of its Declaration of Independence, Viet Nam News presents a message from Chile's ambassador to Viet Nam Mr Fernando Urrutia.
Over many years, Chile and Viet Nam have built a strong friendship of solidarity. This bilateral bond hails back to Viet Nam's struggle for self-determination and has developed into a productive and meaningful friendship between the government and citizens of both countries. There has always existed empathy between our two peoples which led to the establishment of diplomatic relations more than forty-three years ago.
The links between both countries have evolved on shared visions of global issues reflected in our agreements. Frequent high-level meetings between dignitaries have provided a significant boost to the bilateral relationship; with positive impacts at the political, social, economic and trade levels. This was highlighted with the signing of a free trade agreement in November of 2011.
The relationship between Chile and Viet Nam has its roots in the visit paid by Salvador Allende to Viet Nam in May 1969, where he delivered the solidarity and support of Chile to President Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese people, in their struggle for peace. The two leaders laid the foundation for a strong relationship – a solidarity that remains intact today.
Chile was the second country in Latin America to recognise the State of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam on July 31, 1950. It was also the second Latin American country, after Cuba, to establish embassies, in March 25, 1971. In 1990, Chile and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam resumed diplomatic relations with concurrent embassies from Argentina and Malaysia.
Viet Nam reopened its Embassy in Chile in December 2003, and, likewise, Chile reopened its Embassy in Ha Noi in October, 2004. After political relations returned to normalcy in 1990, the links between the two countries continued to grow.
Meetings between the Heads of State have been frequent both in bilateral visits; the most recent of which was the State Visit of President Sebastian Pinera to Ha Noi and HCM City on March 2012; and in further exchanges in multilateral forums such as APEC, FEALAC, WTO and ASEAN. The strong relationship, friendship and trust between leaders have paved the way for dynamic growth of this bilateral relationship.
Since, there have been mutual exchanges ranging from business delegations to high-level missions of officials and technicians in the forestry, mining and agribusiness sectors. There is also strong cooperation being driven in areas such as fishing, mining, tourism, macroeconomic policy and culture.
The diversity of this cooperation being carried out is impressive. For example, Ha Noi's University of Agriculture and the INIA Institute, which is part of the Ministry of Agriculture of Chile, are co-operating to cultivate quinoa (an alimentary plant native to the Andes) following successful experiments in the mountains of Dong Van District (Ha Giang Province). There are also joint efforts between Viet Nam's Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ministry of Finance of Chile, to co-operate on economic reform, macroeconomic stabilisation, management of state enterprises and public investment; with a delegation led by Mr Cao Viet Sinh, vice minister of Planning, having visited Chile in June.
Bilateral trade between Chile and Viet Nam has steadily increased in recent years, growing from US$22 million in 2002, to over $600 million in 2012. Chile remains one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations in social and economic development. As an emerging economy, it has been committed to improving competitiveness, income per capita, economic freedom and corruption. In November 2011, Chile and Viet Nam signed a bilateral Free Trade Agreement, which we hope will come into full force soon.
The relationship between Chile and Viet Nam is long-standing and has a bright future. With strong co-operation across tourism and investment, and rich cultural and social ties, the best of this relationship is yet to come.
The current ambassadors are Mr Fernando Urrutia, posted in Ha Noi since July 2010, and Mrs Ha Thi Ngoc Ha, in Santiago since April 2011. — VNS