Mekong River Commission to hold forum on Lao hydropower project
Pham Tuan Phan, CEO at the MRC Secretariat
The Mekong River Commission (MRC) will organise the first regional stakeholder forum on the Pak Lay hydropower project in Vientiane, Laos, on September 20-21, according to the MRC’s press release on August 30.
Pak Lay will be the fourth hydroelectric facility to be built on the Mekong River as proposed by the Lao government, following Don Sahong, Xayaburi, and Pak Beng.
The forum aims to provide information on the Pak Lay project and the MRC’s prior consultation process.
Pham Tuan Phan, CEO at the MRC Secretariat, said the forum will create a platform to enable stakeholders to raise their legitimate concerns and give suggestions on the project and its activities.
This is also a unique opportunity for involved parties to share and take note of all concerns with MRC member countries, especially those proposing the construction of hydropower plants, in order to ease any dismay, he added.
The first day of the forum will provide information on and reinforce understanding of the MRC’s process under its Procedures for Notification, Prior Consultation, and Agreement (PNPCA).
The second day will be devoted to other key MRC works of public interest, such as the joint action plan to carry out the Pak Beng hydropower project, environmental monitoring of hydropower projects along the Mekong river, and the revision of changes to the Xayaburi design.
Opinions shared by stakeholders will be noted in a report to be published and taken into account by the MRC Joint Committee during the consultation process.
The Pak Lay dam was proposed to be built in Laos’ Xayaburi province. The dam is located downstream of the Xayaburi dam, which is now nearing completion, and approximately 100km from the Thai border.
The construction of the 770MW project is expected to start in 2022 and completed by 2029.
Malaysia’s Independence Day celebrated in HCM City
At the photo exhibition on Vietnam-Malaysia people-to-people diplomacy
A get-together to mark the 61st anniversary of Malaysia’s Independence Day (August 31) and a cultural festival to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-Malaysia diplomatic ties were held in Ho Chi Minh City on August 30.
The events were co-organised by the HCM City Union of Friendship Organisations (HUFO) and the Vietnam-Malaysia Friendship Association (VMFA) of HCM City.
Addressing the events, President of the VMFA HCM City Tran Ngoc Son recalled some of the milestones in Vietnam-Malaysia ties, stressing that the bilateral relations have been expanded across the areas of economy, trade, and investment since the establishment of Strategic Partnership in 2015.
In the first six months of 2018, two-way trade hit 6.67 billion USD, a rise of 19.2 percent year-on-year. Malaysia currently ranks seventh among countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with 562 projects worth more than 12 billion USD.
About 65,000 Vietnamese people are currently living in Malaysia, serving as a bridge to foster the friendship and mutual understanding between the two nations. In addition, the bilateral cooperation in culture, education, labour, and sports have been strengthened, contributing towards the Vietnam-Malaysia friendship, Son noted.
For his part, Malaysian Consul General in HCM City Sofian Akmal Abd. Karim said the establishment of the Strategic Partnership has created optimal conditions for the two countries to bolster collaboration, notably in investment promotion, trade, and economic exchange.
The two countries have worked to bring bilateral trade to 15 billion USD by 2020 in line with huge potential for economic cooperation, he added.
Meanwhile, a wide range of activities are underway during the Vietnam-Malaysia Friendship Cultural Festival, such as a cultural event featuring Malaysian cuisine and music.
More than 150 photos, featuring Vietnam-Malaysia people-to-people diplomacy over the years, are on display at an exhibition which runs until September 6.
Mexican President-elect wishes to enhance ties with Vietnam
President-elect of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador (R) and Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Hoai Duong
President-elect of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador received Vietnamese Ambassador Nguyen Hoai Duong and ambassadors of other Asian-Pacific countries in Mexico City on August 30.
Talking to Ambassador Duong, the President-elect said he realises that Vietnam could be a strategic ally to promote the diverse targets both countries have. Mexico is ready to set up friendly talks with the Vietnamese Government to capitalise on huge potential so as to tighten bilateral links in all aspects.
Obrador also asked the diplomat to convey his letter inviting Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang to visit Mexico and attend his inauguration on December 1.
For his part, Ambassador Duong repeated President Quang’s congratulations to the Mexican President-elect, noting that the Vietnamese leader had sent a congratulatory message shortly after Obrador won the July 1 general election.
He voiced his belief that in the upcoming term of Obrador, Vietnam and Mexico, with many similarities in socio-economic development and stature in the international arena, will intensify their friendship and multifaceted cooperation, especially in economy, trade and culture.
The diplomat also conveyed President Quang’s invitation to visit Vietnam to President-elect Obrador.
National leaders pay tribute to late President Ho Chi Minh on National Day
National leaders paid homage to late President Ho Chi Minh on August 31
A delegation of the Party Central Committee, State, National Assembly, Government and Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee paid tribute to late President Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum in Hanoi on August 31 on the occasion of the 73rd National Day (September 2).
The delegation included Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Tran Dai Quang, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, and President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Tran Thanh Man, along with a number of former Party, State and Government leaders.
The delegation also laid flowers at the Monument for Heroic Martyrs at Bac Son street.
The same day, a number of delegations, including those from the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Public Security and Hanoi also paid homage to late President Ho Chi Minh and the heroic martyrs.
President Ho Chi Minh led the Vietnamese nation to success in the struggle for national independence.
On September 2, 1945, he read the Declaration of Independence, declaring to the world the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
The late President was a talented leader, a national hero who devoted all his life to the national independence and freedom and happiness of the people while tirelessly striving for peace and progress in the world.
France to introduce advanced aviation techonologies to Vietnam
Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung receives a gift model of Rafale aircraft from French General Patrick Charaix.
General Patrick Charaix, commander of the PEGASE mission, said the French government and Air Force attach high importance to cooperation with Vietnam.
France wants to introduce advanced aviation technologies to Vietnam, said a delegation of the French Air Force long-range operational Mission PEGASE with a Hanoi official on August 27.
The French Air Force has organised and coordinated Mission PEGASE in the Indo-Pacific region, with the attendance of three Dassault Rafale fighters, one Airbus A400M strategic airlifter, one Boeing C-135FR Stratotanker, and one Airbus A310 passenger transport aircraft.
Vietnam is one of the destinations in addition to Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, and the United Arab Emirates that the squadron was scheduled to visit on its return journey to France after it has completed its Pitch Black 2018 military exercise in Australia from July 27-August 17.
At the meeting with Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee on August 27, General Patrick Charaix, commander of the PEGASE mission, said the French government and Air Force attach high importance to cooperation with Vietnam. “Our visit to the country shows sound bilateral defense ties and contributes to expanding France’s presence in Asia-Pacific”, said the Charaix.
The French general hopes that the Vietnam visit would lay background for further Vietnam-France cooperation in aviation. France can support Vietnam in training cyber security engineers and ensuring information safety, he suggested, noting that the two countries can also shake hands and exchange experience regarding the UN peacekeeping mission.
For his part, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung said that Hanoi is willing to invest in technology serving human resources training in the sector.
He introduced a series of joint projects between Hanoi and French partners, including an agreement inked with Toulouse city on cooperation in culture, tourism, and restoration of French buildings in Hanoi. The city also collaborates with the French Development Agency in the construction of a skytrain.
The Hanoi official said he hopes the visit will help reinforce the experience exchange between Vietnamese and French air forces in contribution to the two nations’ strategic partnership.
HCM city Party chief identifies major tasks to boost local tourism
Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the most-visited destinations in Ho Chi Minh City
Politburo member and Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan held a working session with the city’s Tourism Department on August 29, during which he identified the major tasks to boost the city’s hospitality sector.
Accordingly, he pointed out that a lack of human resources, particularly tour guides, has created a huge barrier to the city’s tourism development, thus he asked for closer coordination between the tourism department and tourism training facilities and centres.
More efforts are needed to diversify tourist products and services for foreigners so that they are willing to stay longer and spend more during their trips in the city, he requested.
Ho Chi Minh City’s tourism sector should be linked with neighbouring cities and provinces in the Mekong River Delta region in order to fully tap its tourism potential and provide more options for visitors to the city, he stressed.
Statistics from the Ho Chi Minh City Tourism Department show that, since 2016, the number of international arrivals to the city has maintained an average growth rate of 20% annually, accounting for around 50% of the total foreigners arriving in Vietnam.
Revenue from tourism made up roughly 11% of the city’s gross regional development product (GRDP).
Hanoi mayor bids farewell to Italian ambassador
Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung meets with out-going Italian Ambassador to Vietnam, Cecila Piccioni
Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung met with out-going Italian Ambassador to Vietnam Cecila Piccioni on Monday.
At the meeting, the Italian ambassador said goodbye to Hanoi leader, noting that she would leave Vietnam in October. She also thanked Hanoi authorities for giving precious supports during her three-year tenure in the country.
The Italian Embassy has made its mark with numerous sucessful activities in Hanoi. The achievement, according to Ambassador Cecila Piccioni, was attributed largely to the support, facilitation and active cooperation of Hanoi authorities.
On behalf of the Hanoi authorities, Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung congraluated the Italian ambassador on her enthusiastic and effective working time in Vietnam. He highly spoke of the ambassador’s role in practical activities of the Italian embassy in Hanoi, especially in cultural exchange, heritage preservation, Hanoi craft villages’ recovery, etc. Those efforts have also contributed positively to the relations between Italy and Vietnam.
Hanoi’s mayor expressed hope that Cecila Piccioni would continue being a bridge fostering further cooperation between Hanoi and Italy.
Vietnam and Italy forged two-way trade of over US$4.3 billion last year, making Italy the 31st largest business partner of the country. Vietnam is an important market for Italian footwear, textile and fashion products and services, while Italian companies consider Vietnam a potential market in the region and a perfect gateway to access the ASEAN market.
Hanoi maintains positive economic picture in 8 months
Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung addressed the meeting
With FDI reaching US$6.26 billion, a 3.6-fold increase over the same period of 2017, from the start of this year, the Hanoi government commits to continuously improve the investment climate.
Hanoi’s main economic indicators in August continued to see positive performance and improved in the first eight months this year compared to a year earlier, according to statistics announced at a monthly meeting of the Hanoi People’s Committee on August 27.
The meeting was was chaired by the committee’s Chairman Nguyen Duc Chung and attended by his five deputies namely Nguyen Van Suu, Nguyen Quoc Hung, Nguyen The Hung, Ngo Van Quy, Nguyen Doan Toan, and Le Hong Son.
At the meeting, Director of the Hanoi Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Manh Quyen said industrial production in the city increased by 7.2% year-on-year in August. Total retail sales and service revenue in August increased 5.5% while the consumer price index (CPI) in the eight-month period increased by 3.76%, higher than 3.53% in same period last year.
Export turnover between January and Auguet was up 19.0% to reach US$9.16 billion while imports totaled US$20.03 billion, up 6.2%. This results in a trade deficit of US$10.87 billion in the eight-month period.
The tourism industry continued to growth, with tourist arrivals to Hanoi in August estimated at 2.27 million an increase of 8.22%, of which international visitors were 458,300, up 13% year-on-year. In the first eight months, visitors to Hanoi totaled 17.63 million, up 9.08%, bringing revenue of some VND51.28 trillion (US$2.2 billion), up 7.12%.
In terms of agricultural production, as of August 15, 106.75 thousand hectares of rice and seasonal crops were cultivated, down 6.5% from the same period last year.
The department informed that 16,467 companies were established in the eight months through August with combined registered capital of VND180 trillion (US$7.74 billion), increasing by 0.2% in number and 41% in capital.
In August, Hanoi attracted US$95 million of foreign direct investment, bringing the eight-month tally to US$6.26 billion, a 3.6-fold increase over the same period of 2017.
As of August 20, 2018, the Hanoi Department of Planning and Investment had given in-principle approval to 64 projects with capital of VND159.78 trillion (US$6.87 billion), and permitter investors of 58 projects to add VND86.33 trillion (US$3.71 billion).
State budget revenue in the city in the first eight months was estimated at VND151.6 trillion (US$6.5 billion), meeting 63.6% of the year’s plan, up 16.1% over the same period of 2017. Total local budget expenditure is estimated at VND42.6 trillion (US$1.83 billion), or 44.7% of the estimate.
In terms of urban management and development, Hanoi is preparing for the building of the urban administration model. In addition, the city continues to renovate urban areas, emhance environmental protection and carry out the 1-million tree planting program. The city continues to inspect, maintain, manage and operate effectively the system of irrigation works, to closely monitor the weather, take initiative in irrigation, drainage, flood and storm prevention.
In the last months of 2018, Hanoi will continue to direct and urge departments, branches, the People’s Committee of districts, towns to implement drastically and effectively 188 development tasks, socio-economic solutions and state budget estimates in 2018.
The city steps up collection solutions of sustainable budgets, focusing on reviewing all targets and plans to speed up the budget collection, especially the revenues from land-use auction and tax collection from non-state projects, taxation from catering services, purchase of land and houses, transferring registration for vehicles and so on.
Moreover, Hanoi implements the “Year of enhancing the effectiveness of political system 2018”, continues to speed up simplification of administrative procedures, reduce conditions and time, save costs of settling administrative procedures, create maximum favorable conditions for people, enterprises and organizations.
Furthermore, the city continues to accelerate administrative reform, improve the investment environment, implement the law on supporting small and medium enterprises, promote start-ups and creative innovation, deploy the comprehensive support policy on registration of new enterprises from August 1, 2018.
Hai Phong marks Vietnam-Singapore diplomatic ties
Vice Chairman of the Hai Phong People’s Committee Nguyen Van Thanh speaks at the ceremony on August 30
The northern port city of Hai Phong hosted a ceremony on August 30 to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-Singapore diplomatic ties (August 1, 1973).
HCM City, Chongqing set up friendship-city relations
Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Tran Vinh Tuyen (R) and Chongqing Mayor Tang Liangzhi at the meeting on August 30
Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam and Chongqing city of China agreed on August 30 to set up friendship-city relations in an effort to expand bilateral cooperation in various fields.
The agreement came after a meeting between Vice Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Tran Vinh Tuyen and Chongqing Mayor Tang Liangzhi in the Vietnamese southern largest hub.
Under the pact, they agreed to increase the exchange of visits between governmental officials and people from the two cities, and promote collaboration in economy, trade, education, transport, urban development, culture, tourism, and science-technology to bring benefits for both sides.
Speaking at the meeting, Tuyen said HCM City has established friendship and cooperative ties with seven cities and provinces in China, including Guangdong province and Guangzhou city, but the two sides have only engaged in visit exchanges but have not had many specific cooperation projects.
Against the backdrop of the growing Vietnam-China ties, the establishment of friendship-city relations between HCM City and Chongqing is in line with the common perceptions of top leaders of both nations to foster collaboration between the two countries’ localities, he noted.
The move will help develop the bilateral relationship and create favourable conditions for HCM City to expand cooperation with China’s western region, the vice chairman added.
He moved on to say that the similarities in management, economy, culture, and society between the two cities would be fundamental to reinforcing the bilateral partnership in the future, particularly in the areas of strength like technology and tourism.
Tang, for his part, said the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on establishing the friendship-city relationship will pave the way for the two sides to accelerate cooperation activities and take their relations to a new height.
Trade and tourism ties between HCM City and Chongqing have made remarkable progress over the years, he noted.
Chongqing wants to cooperate with HCM City in transportation, Tang said, adding that enterprises from Chongqing expect HCM City to provide them with all possible conditions to invest in logistics, infrastructure and sea port development, education, and tourism.
Ambassador: Vietnam to accompany Laos in national development
Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos Nguyen Ba Hung (L) and General Secretary of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and President of Laos Bounnhang Vorachith
Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos Nguyen Ba Hung has highlighted the special relationship between Vietnam and Laos through years ahead of Vietnam’s National Day (Sept. 2).
In a interview to the press on August 30, the ambassador spoke highly of the valuable assistance of international friends, especially the solidarity and support of the Party, State, and people of Laos, to Vietnam during its national construction and defence process.
Over the past few years, the traditional friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries have continued to developing, bringing practical benefits to people of both countries, he said.
Hung stressed that the special relationship, which was cultivated by Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh and Lao Presidents Kaysone Phomvihane and Souphanouvong and consolidated by generations of Vietnamese and Lao leaders, soldiers, and people, has become a valuable asset shared by the two nations.
Cooperation progress has been made in the areas of economy, education-training, security, national defence, and external affairs – all contributing towards maintaining political stability, social order, and safety in each country, as well as advancing their positions and prestige in the region and the world, he said.
The two sides have also paid a great deal of attention to communication work so as to educate younger generations about the special relationship, the diplomat said.
He recalled the support of the Lao Party and State to Vietnamese flood victims in 2017, and Vietnam’s relief aid to Laos during the collapse of the Sepien-Senamnoi hydropower dam in July 2018.
The Vietnamese people want and are willing to accompany their Lao counterpart in its cause of national development and advance their special relationship to a new height, the ambassador said.
Hung suggested that Vietnam and Laos continue promoting their traditional friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation to help them overcome various difficulties and challenges.
The Party, State, and people of Vietnam will work together with their Lao counterparts to preserve and promote the bilateral relationship, for the sake of their people, as well as for peace, friendship, cooperation, and development in the region and the world at large, he said.
Da Nang wants to step up ties with Cuba
Secretary of the Da Nang municipal Party Committee Truong Quang Nghia (L) shakes hands with Head of the Department of External Relations under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba Jose Ramon Balaguer
Secretary of Da Nang city Party Committee Truong Quang Nghia led a delegation to visit Cuba from August 28-30 to look for new cooperative opportunities, and foster the traditional relations between the two countries.
In a talk with Head of the Department of External Relations under the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (CPC) Jose Ramon Balaguer, Nghia said that Da Nang city wants to study and share with Cuba experience in such sectors as construction, tourism management, education, healthcare, and high-tech agriculture.
He also highlighted the city’s socio-economic development in the past years as well as its orientation in the coming time.
He stressed that the visit aims to concretise the results attained during the visit to Cuba made by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in March, thus expanding the bilateral relations in a more practical manner.
Jose Ramon Balaguer, for his part, briefed the Vietnamese guests of the CPC’s activities during the process of updating the socio-economic model in the context of the world’s new challenges.
He affirmed the CPC’s determination to firmly protect national independence and sovereignty, as well as carry out the socio-economic update model towards an equal and democratic society.
During their stay in Cuba, the Da Nang Party Committee delegation laid wreath of flowers at the President Ho Chi Minh Monument in Havana, and visited many cultural and economic sites in the host nation.
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