Students learn Vietnamese at a Moscow High School in Russia. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Quang Vinh
DA LAT — Vice State President Nguyen Thi Doan yesterday called on overseas Vietnamese to strengthen unity among their communities and also help the country develop.
Speaking at the first conference of leaders of overseas Vietnamese organisations that opened in Da Lat yesterday, the vice President said overseas Vietnamese are an inseparable part of the Vietnamese nation.
Doan said the Vietnamese Government would take up their issues with their adopted countries to better protect their interests and benefits. She also told overseas Vietnamese to promote ties between Viet Nam and their current living countries.
There are more than 4 million Vietnamese living in over 100 countries and territories, with the number of Vietnamese nationals studying abroad, working, and married to foreign citizens increasing, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Doan praised the contributions made by overseas Vietnamese (OV) to the country's socio-economic development and fight for independence.
Their contribution had become especially significant in the last 25 years since Viet Nam began its doi moi (renovation) process.
Remittances by OV were worth $8 billion last year and nearly $7 billion in the first three quarters of this year.
Around 3,500 companies with a total investment of $11 billion had been fully or partially owned by OV at the end of last year.
On average, around half a million overseas Vietnamese visited the country every year. The two-day conference is being attended by 150 leaders and representatives of OV organisations from more than 30 countries and territories.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Thanh Son who is Head of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs (COVA), said since the introduction of Decree 36 in 2004 to create favourable conditions for OV, dozens of associations had sprung up in many countries.
Son said the conference provided a good opportunity for leaders of OV organisations to compare notes to effectively promote the role of OV organisations in communities.
He also called on the OV leaders to list the difficulties they faced in working and investing in Viet Nam and to contribute ideas to make the Government's OV policies more effective.
The president of the France-based overseas Vietnamese organisation, Therese Nguyen Van Ky, said there was no policy targeting second and third generations of OV in France, who were aged 25 to 55 and made up more than half of the Vietnamese community there.
He called for encouraging greater efforts by French OV to promote Vietnamese culture abroad and setting up a council with OV members to help the National Assembly make OV-related policies.
Doan said these suggestions would be considered and called on COVA to attract more intellectual force to Viet Nam.
The Government would continue to support the development of an association of OV organisations, she said. — VNS