“Exhibition of Photographs Showcases Strong Vietnam-France Collaboration”

On April 14, the 12th conference on cooperation between Vietnamese and French localities began in Hanoi.

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Officials visit the photo exhibition at Melia Hotel in Hanoi on April 14. Photo: VNA
Officials visit the photo exhibition at Melia Hotel in Hanoi on April 14. Photo: VNA

The 12th Conference on Cooperation between Vietnamese and French Localities officially began in Hanoi on April 14th. The occasion was marked by a photo exhibition at Melia Hotel, as reported by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA). The exhibition highlighted the rich cooperation between Vietnam and France, as well as between their respective localities.

On display is a collection of 120 photographs, each of which chronicles the evolution of the diplomatic relations and cooperative ties between Vietnam and France. Several of the photos depict various joint activities between the two countries’ localities.

Notably, in 1993, at the invitation of French Prime Minister Édouard Balladur, Vietnamese Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet led a government delegation to pay an official visit to France. Subsequently, in 2002, President Tran Duc Luong and his spouse, invited by French President Jacques Chirac, made a state visit to France from October 28 to October 31. This marked the first time a Vietnamese head of state had visited the European nation since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1973. During the visit, President Tran Duc Luong also witnessed the signing of several cooperative agreements between France and Vietnam in various areas.

On December 8, 2019, National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue held talks with President of the French Senate Gérard Larcher, who was paying an official visit to Vietnam. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and France, the two leaders attended a special ceremony to mark the occasion.

Officials visit the photo exhibition at Melia Hotel in Hanoi on April 14. Photo: VNA
Officials visit the photo exhibition at Melia Hotel in Hanoi on April 14. Photo: VNA

Vietnam and France officially established diplomatic relations on April 12th, 1973. Following the monumental event, the two nations’ relations were further strengthened in a variety of areas – with a notable highlight being Prime Minister Pham Van Dong’s visit to France in April of 1977.

In the 1980s, when the Southeast Asian country was subject to an embargo, France was the only Western nation to maintain relations with Vietnam through scientific and technical cooperation as well as cultural exchanges. From 1989 onwards, France took the initiative to strengthen ties with Vietnam, writing off debts and assisting Vietnam in settling its debts with the nations that were a part of the Paris Club. In February 1993, French President François Mitterrand became the first Western leader to visit Vietnam after 1975. In the 1980s, when the Southeast Asian country was imposed embargo, France was the only Western country to maintain relations with Vietnam through scientific and technical cooperation as well as cultural exchanges. Since 1989, France has taken the lead in stepping up relations with Vietnam, writing off debts and helping Vietnam settle debts with Paris Club member countries. In February 1993, French President François Mitterrand became the first Western leader to visit Vietnam since 1975.

France is the only nation that has established a mechanism of periodic and rotating conferences for localities’ cooperation with Vietnam. Through these conferences, both countries are able to strengthen their ties and collaborate on various initiatives. The conferences also provide a platform for both countries to exchange ideas and share best practices. With this mechanism in place, both countries can work together to foster better local development and better relations in the long-term.

So far, a total of 18 Vietnamese and 38 French localities have come together to partake in 240 joint projects spanning a range of different fields.

at the opening of the 12th Vietnam-France decentralised cooperation conference in the capital city on April 14. Photo: VNA
At the opening of the 12th Vietnam-France decentralised cooperation conference in the capital city on April 14. Photo: VNA

The 12th Vietnam-France Decentralised Cooperation Conference is expected to provide a fresh impetus to the relationship between the two countries, bolstering their longstanding ties. With this event, the two nations aim to explore new avenues for collaboration and strengthen their partnership.

The conference has been taking place every two or three years since 1996, with both Vietnamese and French localities taking turns to host the event.

On the sidelines of the event, a French festival, a Vietnam-France economic forum, an art program, and a variety of exhibitions were held, showcasing the strong relationship between the two countries.

At the two-day event, four stimulating panel discussions will be held, focusing on the topics of sustainable urban areas; environment, water and water treatment; culture, heritage and tourism; and smart city and digitisation.

Hanoi offers city tours for foreign visitors to explore some of the most popular sites in the city, such as the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, Temple of Literature, Old Quarter, and French villas with centuries of history between the two nations.

Cooperation between the Vietnamese and French communities dates back as far as the 1990s. Since 1996, bilateral conferences have been held every two to three years, with the Vietnamese and French localities alternating as hosts of the event. These conferences provide an opportunity for both sides to address issues, evaluate the progress of their bilateral relations, and come up with practical solutions to further strengthen the diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Hannah Nguyen