|Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Phạm Thu Hằng. — Photo from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs|
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam regrets Australia's release of coins with the yellow-striped flag that represented the now-defunct Republic of Việt Nam, deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Phạm Thu Hằng said in a statement on Thursday.
"We regretted and absolutely protested Royal Australian Mint and Australia Post's releases and circulation of the items containing the yellow flag with three stripes, the flag of a regime that is no longer in existence," Hằng said, referring to the South Việt Nam administration that controlled the southern part of the country between 1955 and 1975.
"This action does not match the ongoing positive trends of the Việt Nam-Australia Strategic Partnership," the Vietnamese diplomat remarked.
"Việt Nam has discussed the matter with Australia and proposed a measure to stop the circulation of these items, while also ensuring that similar incidents do not reoccur in the future," Hằng added.
On April 6, the Royal Australian Mint issued silver AUD2 coins commemorating 50 years of the end of Australian troops' involvement in the United States' war in Việt Nam in 1973.
The coins feature the image of a yellow flag of the Saigon regime in the band surrounding the image of UH-1 helicopter. Only 5,000 such coins were minted and sold for $80 each, while 80,000 gold versions of the coin (uncirculated) were produced and sold for $15 each.
“It was Australia’s largest military commitment in the second half of the 20th century and one of the country’s most divisive episodes,” the Royal Australian Mint said.
“This commemorative coin remembers the Việt Nam War for the loss of life and the toll it took on those who served, and for the impact it had on Australia through a turbulent decade.”
Việt Nam has just concluded the five-day national holiday celebrating the defeat of the US-backed Saigon regime in 1975 which resulted in the liberation of southern Việt Nam and reunification of the country (April 30) after decades of war. — VNS