|Soldiers fly the national flag at half-mast to mourn General Vo Nguyen Giap. — Photo Vnexpress
HA NOI (VNS)— Flags have been hanging half-mast in State agencies and public places ahead of the national funeral for General Vo Nguyen Giap, who passed away last Friday at the age of 103.
Entertainment activities - such as television broadcasts, cinema screenings, concerts and sporting events - stopped at midday yesterday as a mark of respect.
Nearly 100 foreign delegations, including ambassadors, politicians and representatives of international agencies have already registered to attend today's funeral, which will take place from 7.30am until 9.00pm, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Previously, many diplomatic delegations, together with nearly 1 million of Vietnamese people, had visited and paid their respects at the General's residence at 30 Hoang Dieu Street in the capital. Memorial services were also held in cities and provinces throughout the country in the last few days.
The funeral events will commence simultaneously in Ha Noi, HCM City and the General's home province of Quang Binh tomorrow morning.
|Local veterans and citizens burn incense for General Vo Nguyen Giap at the central Quang Tri Province's Veterans Association ._VAN/VNS Photo Ho Cau
The motorcade carrying General Giap's coffin will leave the national funeral house at the end of the day and travel through the city, including passing by the General's home as tradition, before going to Noi Bai International Airport.
The plane transporting the coffin will be met at Quang Binh's Dong Hoi Airport by another motorcade. The General will be taken to Yen Island in Quang Trach District's Quang Dong Commune, where he will be laid at rest.
In their messages to Vietnamese leaders yesterday, politicians and diplomats from around the world, including Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea Kim Yong Nam and President of Mozambique Armando Emilio Guebuza, expressed their deep condolences over General Giap's death.
In an interview granted to a Vietnam News Agency (VNA) correspondent in Beijing, Zhang Dewei, Vice President of the China-Vietnam Friendship Association, said that the Chinese people see the General as a great friend who made important contributions to the China-Viet Nam friendship and co-operation.
Zhang, who is a former Chinese Ambassador to Viet Nam, said he felt very sorrowful for General Giap's passing and wanted to extend his deepest sympathies to his family and friends.
Wang Delun, a former Chinese advisor in Viet Nam, said he was heartbroken when he heard the news of General Giap's passing, the same feeling he had when his relatives died.
"The death of General Giap is a great loss to China as it has lost a good friend," he said.
Previously, National Secretary of the French Communist Party (FCP) Pierre Laurent has extended his deep sympathies to Viet Nam for the passing of General Vo Nguyen Giap, who died last Friday at the age of 103.
In a message of condolence sent to the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Viet Nam (CPV), Nguyen Phu Trong, the FCP leader described General Giap as one of the most eminent figures in mankind's struggle for liberation over the last century.
General Giap played a decisive role in Viet Nam's victory against the French forces, he said in his message.
The Peruvian Communist Party - Red Fatherland also sent their commiserations to Party General Secretary Trong.
They mourned the loss of "an exemplary patriot, an outstanding communist leader, a brilliant military strategist and an example to the world in fighting colonialism."
They stated that his work with President Ho Chi Minh for national liberation had opened up a path to socialism which has benefited Viet Nam. In a message sent to the CPV Central Committee, the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain stated that although he had passed away, General Giap's legacy would never be forgotten by people all over the world.
The President of Chile also extended his deepest sympathies to President Truong Tan Sang and the Vietnamese people, saying that General Giap would remain an outstanding military symbol of Viet Nam's modern history and battle for independence.
A representative from the Communist Party of Chile said the General would always be remembered as a hero of the Vietnamese people's struggle for freedom and as the great master of revolutionary warfare.
President of the Cambodian Senate Chea Sim and Speaker of the Cambodian National Assembly, Heng Samrin, both expressed their condolences, declaring that while General Giap's death was a great loss to the Vietnamese people, his patriotism and achievements had left their mark on history.
The foreign ministers of France and Nicaragua also paid tribute to the General in messages cabled to their Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Binh Minh. — VNS