La Moneda Palace is the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile. — Photo courtesy of the embassy
On September 18, Chile commemorates its Independence Day. Ambassador Jaime Chomali sends a message to mark the country's 210th anniversary of independence.
On this day, we remember the longstanding and warm bonds that unite Chile and Việt Nam that started with the 1969 visit to Hà Nội by former President Salvador Allende, then President of the Chilean Senate.
In March 1971 the countries established official diplomatic relations. Since then, our friendly relationship has grown into comprehensive co-operation on multiple matters.
With the aim to boost our ties and expand co-operation within the framework of the Bilateral Trade Agreement and as Development Partner of ASEAN, Rodrigo Yañez, Vice Minister of International Economic Relations visited Việt Nam early this year.
On this occasion, Vice Minister Yañez had meetings with Đỗ Thắng Hải, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, and Nguyễn Quốc Dũng, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Last August, Vice Minister Yañez and Deputy Minister Hải held a video conference to boost our bilateral collaboration amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Both agreed to organise, during this year, the Four Free Trade Commission Meeting and move forwards in the areas of trade promotion, digital economy, e-commerce and customs, among other issues.
Also this year, Chile and ASEAN held their first development partnership committee at the secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia. This meeting marked the start of a formal partnership to bolster ties between Chile and ASEAN. Chile is looking forward to working with Viet Nam and ASEAN to deepen our ties.
Since the bilateral free trade agreement between Chile and Việt Nam entered into force in 2014, trade has risen. In 2019, bilateral trade reached US$1.23 billion, making Chile the fourth-largest Latin American partner of Việt Nam. Despite the serious impact of the coronavirus pandemic, in the first half of 2020, bilateral trade reached close to $568 million, down just 1 per cent year-on-year.
As for cultural issues, 2666, the wonderful last novel by acclaimed Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003), was published this year in Vietnamese. By the end of the year, three children's books by Chilean writer Roberto Fuentes will also be published as well. We are delighted to know that our Vietnamese friends, children and adults alike will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Chilean literature.
Next year we will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of the signing of the free trade agreement between the two countries. This occasion will mark an important milestone for the relationship between our two countries and an opportunity to reflect on our bonds and how we will continue expanding and deepening our friendship.
I can’t conclude without expressing my deep gratitude to the National Assembly of Việt Nam and the People's Committee of the city of Hải Phòng for their solidarity with the Chilean people and the Chilean Congress during the coronavirus pandemic, as demonstrated by their generous mask donation. VNS