Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng (right) receives Chilean President Sebastián Piñerat in Hà Nội in 2017. VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam and Chile - the first Southern American nation to set up diplomatic ties with Việt Nam - have nurtured their sound relations and traditional friendship as well as comprehensive development partnership over the past five decades, a Chilean diplomat has said.
In a recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), Charge d’affaires ad interim Gonzalo Guaiquil at the Chilean Embassy stressed the historical relations between the two nations, which were founded and developed by Vietnamese President Hồ Chí Minh and Chilean President Salvador Allende.
A trip to Việt Nam in May 1969 - when Việt Nam was fighting a fierce war against the US imperialists - had a huge impact on Allende, who served as President of the Chilean Senate at that time, and he decided to establish diplomatic relations with this Southeast Asian country when he became President of Chile, opening a new chapter in bilateral ties.
Both nations have enjoyed stronger bonds in recent times thanks to economic co-operation, long-lasting friendship and mutual understanding between the people of Chile and Việt Nam, the diplomat added.
According to Guaiquil, Chile was the first American nation to ink a free trade deal with Việt Nam, and this was an important milestone in trade and investment ties between the two sides.
Expressing his delight at opportunities the free trade agreement (FTA) has brought to both nations, he said trade in goods between Việt Nam and Chile exceeded the US$1 billion benchmark in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, up more than 1 per cent year-on-year.
The figure is a vivid illustration of the developed trade ties between the two nations, even when the global economy is facing formidable challenges, he said.
Since Việt Nam was among few countries achieving positive economic growth in 2020, it is an attractive destination for Chilean investors, he said. The diplomat also commended the Vietnamese Government’s efforts and measures to prevent the pandemic.
Statistics show that Chile is the fourth largest trade partner of Việt Nam in Latin America, with two-way trade increased to $1.23 billion in 2019 from $170 million in 2005. Most of Việt Nam’s exports to Chile are footwear, garments and textiles, seafood, steel products, electronic products and spare parts, cement, coffee and rice. Meanwhile, the nation imports copper, pinewood, paper powder, and wine from Chile.
Chile was one of the very first nations to recognise Việt Nam's market economy. Both sides signed the FTA on the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Hawaii, the US, in November 2011. The deal came into force on January 1, 2014, marking the substantial development in trade relations between the two countries.
Guaiquil said Chile wants to boost trade ties with Việt Nam, particularly the trading in Chilean wine and cherries, and Vietnamese tropical fruits.
Additionally, Việt Nam and Chile’s co-operation has been expanded to culture, politics and tourism. The visa exemption agreement signed in 2016 has facilitated the travel of citizens of both nations to enhance exchanges and better their mutual understanding, he said.
Vietnamese Party General Secretary and State President Nguyễn Phú Trọng and Chilean President Sebastián Piñera Echenique on March 24 exchanged messages of congratulations on the occasion of the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries (March 25, 1971-2021).
The same day, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh also exchanged a congratulatory message with Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrés Allamand Zavala.
Vietnamese PM, Chilean President held phone talks
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc held phone talks with Chilean President Sebastian Piñera on Wednesday to discuss orientations and specific measures to enhance the Việt Nam-Chile comprehensive partnership as the two nations are celebrating the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties (March 25, 1971-2021).
PM Phúc said that the bilateral relations have enjoyed strong development steps after 50 years, affirming that Việt Nam hopes to continue deepening the relationship between the two countries, especially in economy, trade and investment.
President Piñera said Chile attaches importance to its traditional relationship with Việt Nam, and appreciated the Vietnamese Government’s efforts to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and maintain economic growth.
The two leaders agreed on several measures to intensify the traditional friendship and comprehensive partnership between Việt Nam and Chile in the coming time, including maintaining the regular exchange of high-level delegations, carrying out cooperative mechanisms effectively and frequently, and boosting multilateral and inter-regional trade cooperation frameworks in the context of the global economy and trade seriously affected by the pandemic.
They reached consensus on strengthening connectivity between ministries, sectors, localities and enterprises of both nations to bring into full play opportunities brought in by the Việt Nam-Chile Free Trade Agreement, which came into effect in January 2014, and work to implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) after Chile completes its approval process.
Both leaders consented to coordinate closely in carrying out activities to celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2021, as well as cooperating with and supporting each other at international organisations and multilateral forums, thus helping to intensify the relationship between ASEAN and the Pacific Alliance as well as to ensure peace, stability, cooperation and development in the two regions. VNS