|President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher (left) paid a courtesy call on Vietnamese President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc in Hà Nội on Thursday. — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất|
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam considers France a leading important partner in its diplomatic policy, President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has told visiting President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher.
During a reception for the French leader in Hà Nội on Thursday, Phúc described economic cooperation as an important pillar of the Việt Nam-France strategic partnership.
France was always a leading European trade, investment and development assistance partner of Việt Nam, he said, adding two-way trade surged by 18 per cent year on year to US$3.51 billion in the first eight months of this year which is expected to grow strongly on the back of the EU-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
The Vietnamese President suggested the French Senate soon approve the EU-Việt Nam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) and prompt the European Commission to remove its "yellow card" warning against Việt Nam’s aquatic products.
Progress has also been seen in cultural-educational and medical cooperation. On this occasion, Phúc thanked France for providing VIệt Nam with 5.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Having congratulated France on its inauguration of the new headquarters of the French Institute in Hà Nội and expressed his support for the planned establishment of the French Institute's branch in HCM City, Phúc expected that France would help Việt Nam restore the Complex of Huế Monuments and provide more scholarships for Vietnamese students.
The Vietnamese leader said France was the only country that Việt Nam had formed a periodic and rotating partnership conference mechanism between localities. He asked the Senate President and French senators to mobilise leaders of the French Government and localities to attend the 12th partnership conference between Vietnamese and French localities scheduled to take place in April 2023 in Hà Nội.
Larcher, for his part, told the host that the two countries had unveiled the logo of the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties in the morning of the same day.
Hailing Việt Nam's important contributions to peace and stability in the region and the world in which France also wants to play a part, he said France also supported freedom of overflight and navigation in the South China Sea.
The Senate President thanked Việt Nam for donating masks to France during the initial stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and wished to further develop the French language movement in Việt Nam.
Phúc suggested the French Senate support Việt Nam and ASEAN’s stance on the South China Sea, ensuring freedom, security and safety of aviation and navigation, maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea while peacefully settling disputes in line with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
With about 300,000 Vietnamese living and working in France, the Vietnamese leader hoped for more support from the French Government and Senate to uphold their role as a bridge of friendship and cooperation between the two nations.
Phúc asked Larcher to convey his invitation to French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Việt Nam soon. — VNS