Italian ambassador Antonio Alessandro writes to Việt Nam News on Italy's National Day (June 2)
On June 2, Italy commemorates the birth of the Italian Republic, which was proclaimed on this day in 1946 as a result of a referendum.
This year’s anniversary is particularly meaningful for the Italian community living in Việt Nam, as the two countries celebrate the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations.
As stated by the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, in his message of congratulations, the relationship between the two countries is “strongly rooted in history” and at the same time “directed with confidence towards the future”. These words express very well the idea that the 50th anniversary is not only a significant achievement, but also a platform to let our friendship and common agenda grow further.
Our journey started on 23 March 1973, when Italy and Việt Nam established diplomatic ties. At that time, Việt Nam was still struggling for national reunification. The focus of our bilateral relations was on solidarity, humanitarian support and people-to-people friendship.
|President of Việt Nam Võ Văn Thưởng meets President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella in London, England on May 6. VNA/VNS Photo|
In the Nineties, following đổi mới, Italian companies and investors began to arrive in Việt Nam, laying the foundation for the solid economic bonds that have nurtured our relations in the years that followed.
A watershed in our relations was the visit to Italy by the General Secretary of the Việt Nam Communist Party, H.E. Mr. Nguyễn Phú Trọng, on January 20-22, 2013. On that occasion, the two countries signed the Joint Statement on the establishment of the Strategic Partnership, which expanded the scope of our cooperation to virtually all sectors. The Strategic Partnership between Italy and Việt Nam, of which we proudly celebrate the 10th anniversary this year, has provided a higher political support and a more action-driven approach to our bilateral agenda.
One area in which the two countries have revealed strong common interests is multilateralism. Italy and Việt Nam firmly believe in a cooperative and rule-based international system in which all members abide by the UN Charter and contribute to tackle global issues. Furthermore, we are both aware that the wellbeing of our people cannot be detached from that of the region we belong to, namely the European Union and ASEAN, for the strengthening of which we act consistently.
As large export-oriented countries, we both have the same interest in preserving the principles of an open market, level playing field, and unrestricted navigation. To demonstrate its commitment, Italy is promoting a campaign in the Asia-Pacific region of its cutting-edge Italian Ship Morosini, which made a successful port call in Hồ Chí Minh City last month.
Over the years, trade has been a bright spot in Italy-Việt Nam relations. Bilateral exchanges in 2022 reached a record figure of US$6.2 billion, with an increase of 11 per cent on a year-to-year basis, confirming Việt Nam as Italy’s largest trade partner in ASEAN. Our value chains are well integrated, and the full implementation of the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement will surely bring more opportunities for both Italian and Vietnamese companies.
Ten years after the establishment of the Strategic Partnership we look forward to new high-level visits to further step up our cooperation, especially in innovative areas such as science and technology, energy transition and creative industries. Italy is ready to support Việt Nam’s efforts towards climate neutrality through the “Just Energy Transition Partnership” launched by the G7 Group of most industrialised countries, whose Presidency will be assumed by Italy in 2024.
|“Cavalleria Rusticana” at the Hà Nội Opera House, one of the most beautiful Italian operas to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and Việt Nam. Photo courtesy of the embassy|
Other areas include the preservation and valorisation of cultural heritage, as Italy is the country with the highest number of UNESCO-recognised sites, along with academic and student exchanges, sports and tourism. Italy is willing to cooperate more with Việt Nam in all areas that aim to promote better relations between people and territories: this is indeed the theme of the Rome candidature to host the World Expo 2030.
Before concluding I wish to invite the Việt Nam News’ readers to follow the Italian cultural programme of this year. The Embassy has recently supported the HCM City Philharmonic Orchestra and the Việt Nam National Opera and Ballet in producing the Cavalleria Rusticana, the first opera in costume performed in Việt Nam after several decades. In these days, the Museum of Hà Nội is hosting “Created in Italy”, an exhibition on Italian industrial design. More initiatives will follow.
I wish Italian and Vietnamese friends a happy Festa della Repubblica Italiana and long live the Italy-Việt Nam friendship! VNS