|Secretary of the HCM City Party Committee Le Thanh Hai (Right) meets with overseas Vietnamese in San Francisco, the US, on Monday. — Photo sggp.org.vn
HCM CITY (VNS) — Le Thanh Hai, secretary of the HCM City Party Committee and other visiting city leaders met with overseas Vietnamese in San Francisco, the US, on Monday.
On a visit from July 11 to 18 to mark the 20th year that the US city and HCM City became sister cities, Hai expressed happiness at seeing the Vietnamese community develop in the US but maintain its cultural identity.
The visit would also help strengthen ties between Viet Nam and the US in all areas, he said.
He mentioned Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong's visit to the US recently.
In response, several overseas Vietnamese, who said they were encouraged by Trong's successful visit, expressed concern over the Vietnamese situation, especially the East Sea issue, and promised to act as a bridge to better Viet Nam – US ties.
Some suggested that HCM City should further reform administrative procedures to attract contributions from Vietnamese abroad for its development.
According to city leaders, the Vietnamese community in the US numbers around 2.2 million accounting for half of all ethnic Vietnamese living abroad.
Answering questions and suggestions, Hai said he hoped Vietnamese in the US would contribute to their home nation's development.
Asked about the conflict with China over the East Sea, Hai was quoted by Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper as saying, "We are determined to protect each inch of the nation's land and sea."
Establishing relations between HCM City and San Francisco was a turning point in Viet Nam – US relations though the task had been most challenging at that time because of "protests from hostile forces left by history", he said referring to a number of overseas Vietnamese who had left Viet Nam after the war.
The US lifted its 20-year-long embargo on Viet Nam in 1995.
After two years of negotiations, the agreement was signed by Truong Tan Sang, the then chairman of the HCM City People's Committee and now the nation's President, and Frank Jordan, the mayor of San Francisco, Hai recalled.
Last year a San Francisco Trade and Investment Promotion Centre was opened in HCM City to promote trade between the two cities.
Also at the event in San Francisco on Monday, HCM City officials handed a licence to Digital Seeds, a technology company based in Silicon Valley, for a plant in the city.
There are four companies belonging to overseas Vietnamese at the HCM City Hi-tech Park, making up half of all American investments in the park. — VNS