On the occasion of Ukraine's National Day tomorrow, Viet Nam News presents a piece by Ukrainian Ambassador Oleksiy ShovkopliasTwenty one years ago Ukraine's long and difficult quest for free-dom was crowned with success. The Ukrainian independent state became a reality. From the first days of its independence the Ukrainian people had to meet very serious challenges to become worthy members of the European and world community.
|Ukrainian Ambassador to Viet Nam Oleksiy Shovkoplias.
In spite of the fact that Ukraine had its own parliament and government, belonged to the most important and influential international organisations and was even a co-founder of the United Nations, it had to create its own armed forces, introduce a national currency, delimit and demarcate the state border with its neighbours and write and adopt a new constitution. All these tasks were not simple, but our people fulfilled them successfully.
Even before Ukraine really became independent we had our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but its agenda had been enormously changed in the new reality. We had to determine our place in the world. Today Ukraine is a neutral state which aims for full integration with the European Union. Our relations with the other countries in the world are regulated by the new solid bilateral treaty base.
Regardless of the totally European geographic location of our country, historically Ukraine had very close ties with the Asian continent.
|Dusk falls: A view of St Sophia Square in Kyiv, Ukraine. — Photos courtesy Ukrainian Embassy
Ukrainian relations with Viet Nam started long before our independence and they number at least six decades. The Ukrainian and Vietnamese peoples remember both good and difficult historical times that formed the background of our friendship. Ukrainians love Viet Nam. Representatives of senior generations regularly visit this country and meet their Vietnamese friends.
On the other hand, Ukraine is close and dear to many thousands of Vietnamese who studied and graduated from Ukrainian universities during many decades of the past and this century.
As Ambassador I'd like to place special emphasis on the development of our bilateral relations during the last two years. This period was really significant for us. After a long period of stagnation which lasted practically 15 years, we witnessed a genuine boom in Ukrainian-Vietnamese ties starting from the end of 2010.
Leaders of the two countries made their official visits to Ha Noi and Kyiv respectively. We significantly enlarged our bilateral treaty base, agreed on steps for establishing a strategic partnership between our states and began to implement them. Of course it was a period of intensive work.
What importance does this have for our economies? I will mention two figures which may be interesting for Vietnamese people:
Vietnamese exports to Ukraine in 2011 rose by 76,6 per cent in comparison to the previous year and during June-July this year it has risen by 111,8 per cent in comparison to the same period of the previous year.
Of course we cannot measure our relationship in economic terms exclusively. No less important are relations between people, their mutual interest in the cultures of each other. In this context I may mention the days of Vietnamese culture held in the three biggest Ukrainian cities, which enjoyed enormous success and popularity among Ukrainians. This year we are planning days of Ukrainian culture in three Vietnamese cities: Ha Noi, HCM City and Ha Long. — VNS