Viet Nam News
Today, September 18, as Chile celebrates its 208th National Day, Ambassador Jaime Chomali sends a message to Việt Nam News readers.
This is the day what in Chile we call Fiestas Patrias, during which festivities are held all over the country and among the Chilean communities abroad with folkloric music and dancing, the cueca, along with Chilean’s favourite food and beverages, empanadas with red wine.
On this day, we remember the bonds that unite Chile and Việt Nam that started in 1969 when former President Salvador Allende, President of the Senate at that time, visited Việt Nam and met leader and President Hồ Chí Minh. This marked the beginning of a long and strong friendship between our two nations; as a fact Chile was the second country in Latin America to establish official diplomatic relations with Việt Nam in 1971.
The warm relationship has been growing into a comprehensive co-operation, which has been reinforced. The bilateral political bonds have been strengthened and the friendship has become even closer. In November 2017, former President Michelle Bachelet paid a State Visit to Việt Nam before participating at the APEC Summit 2017, held in Việt Nam. This year, Deputy Prime Minister Vương Đình Huệ visited Chile in July, leading an important delegation of high-ranking officials and enterprises. Last week, Chilean Foreign Affairs Minister Roberto Ampuero visited the country to participate at the World Economic Forum ASEAN – the 4.0 Industrial Revolution. In Hà Nội, Minister Ampuero met Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh. Both dignitaries welcomed their excellent bilateral relations and set out plans for future co-operation.
Annual bilateral trade between Chile and Việt Nam has risen continuously since the Free Trade Agreement entered into force on January 1, 2014. In 2017, the commercial exchange between both countries reached US$1.17 billion, showing growth of 25 per cent in comparison with 2016.
Chile has become one of the most open nations in the world and has signed 16 Free Trade Agreements with the Asian Pacific countries; and has become a close partner in APEC. Next year, the APEC Summit 2019 will be hosted by Chile and we will be honoured to receive the President of the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam, Trần Đại Quang, at this important event. Currently both countries are working in order to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CP-TPP), that will help to promote economic co-operation and contribute to regional integration.
Since August 2017, Chilean and Vietnamese citizens have not needed to apply for tourist visas and can remain in the other country for up to 90 days. Despite the distance, the number of Chilean tourists visiting Vietnam is growing due to Việt Nam’s friendly people, beautiful cities and landscapes and excellent cuisine.
As to cultural issues, last July, the Chilean artist Maria Luisa Portuondo visited Hà Nội and presided over a dialogue on artistic matters with Vietnamese visual artists. In October, we will be participating in the sixth version of the Latin American Festival to be held in Hà Nội and the first Latin American Film Festival in HCM City.
To conclude it is possible to visualize the development and reinforcement of strong bonds and the determination to strengthen the affectionate relationship between our countries. This trend will undoubtedly unfold an even more promising future. — VNS