Prime Minister’s Touching Encounter with Vietnamese Community in New Zealand

On the first day of their official visit to New Zealand, the Prime Minister of Vietnam and his spouse had a meeting with officials and staff from the Embassy as well as the Vietnamese community in New Zealand. The gathering took place in Wellington, the capital city.

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Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh met with the Vietnamese Embassy staff and the Vietnamese community in New Zealand on March 10 during his official trip to the country, as reported by VNA.

During the event, PM Chinh provided an update on the country’s situation, expressed gratitude to the Vietnamese community in New Zealand for their unwavering support for their homeland, and emphasized that the Party and State view overseas Vietnamese, including those in New Zealand, as an integral part of the Vietnamese people.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh meeting with the Vietnamese Embassy staff and the Vietnamese community in New Zealand on March 10. Photo: Doan Bac

The Prime Minister emphasized the important role of the community in strengthening the Vietnam – New Zealand relations, which have been continuously developing over the past decades.

He called on the Vietnamese people living in New Zealand to promote unity in order to build a strong and prosperous community, uphold national pride, actively integrate into the host country’s society, abide by the laws, and contribute to local development.

Furthermore, he urged them to preserve Vietnamese cultural traditions and language, and engage in practical activities to contribute to the development of their homeland.

He expressed hope that the Vietnamese community in foreign countries, especially in New Zealand, will join efforts with the Party, military, and people to achieve the goal of making Vietnam a developed and high-income country by 2045.

The meeting went beyond the scheduled time due to the Prime Minister’s encouragement for people to share their stories and experiences living and working in New Zealand.

Vietnamese people in New Zealand applauding after listening to the Prime Minister’s sincere sharing. Photo: Doan Bac

The overseas Vietnamese expressed their joy and pride in the development of their homeland as well as the strong Vietnam – New Zealand ties. They emphasized the special affection the Party and State have for the community, as evidenced by amendments to laws on land, real estate market, and housing that provide opportunities for overseas Vietnamese to own properties in Vietnam.

They expressed the hope that the governments of both countries will continue negotiations and support the implementation of agreements in order for Vietnamese products to have a greater presence in the New Zealand market.

In addition, they highlighted several challenges in administrative procedures in Vietnam, particularly those related to foreigners and overseas Vietnamese. They recommended that both governments relax visa policies to facilitate exchanges and recognize each other’s degrees.

They also suggested that Vietnam should have policies to support organizations and individuals who are engaged in the preservation and promotion of national cultural identity in foreign countries.

PM Chinh stated that the Vietnamese government is working on the aforementioned recommendations, including visa policy renewal, establishment of mechanisms to attract and facilitate conditions for overseas Vietnamese to return and work in Vietnam, and measures to preserve their cultural identity.

He added that he will request New Zealand to recognize the Vietnamese community as an ethnic minority group.

There are more than 10,000 Vietnamese people living and working in New Zealand. They have made significant contributions to both the host nation and the Vietnam – New Zealand relations. Many have achieved success in business and scientific research.

According to VGP, a Vietnamese expatriate who has been living abroad for 20 years expressed admiration for the PM’s down-to-earth and sincere demeanor and boldly asked him to share about his job and the challenges he has faced in life.

The PM responded, “I was born in a coastal region and raised in a poor, yet large family in the mountains. I have always known that I must fulfill the duties assigned to me by the seniors and government to the best of my abilities. Whatever you do, strive to do it well. Accomplish your assigned tasks to the best of your abilities. Whenever you have good ideas that benefit everyone and contribute to the common good, try to implement them.”

He then recounted his fortunate experiences in holding various positions and jobs, both in the South and the North, both in Vietnam and internationally. In addition to his own efforts, he emphasized the importance of the help and support from friends and colleagues.

He stated that without the Party, State, and people, there is no individual. For example, without Party and State policies, how could a financially disadvantaged student from a mountainous area like himself study abroad? After completing his studies, he was assigned a job.

“Wherever I have worked, my comrades have always provided enthusiastic support and assistance, and I strive not to disappoint them,” he added.

In the afternoon of March 11, PM Pham Minh Chinh also visited Victoria University of Wellington, where he met with lecturers, students, and delivered a speech, as reported by VGP.

Victoria University of Wellington is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in New Zealand and is home to the largest number of Vietnamese students among New Zealand’s universities.

PM Pham Minh Chinh and students at Victoria University of Wellington. Photo: VGP

According to Vice Principal, Professor Nick Smith, there are currently more than 200 Vietnamese students studying at the university.

The university has a total of about 700 Vietnamese alumni and recently organized a successful meeting with Vietnamese alumni in Ho Chi Minh City.

These alumni have made positive contributions to the development of both countries. The university also has active academic partnerships and research collaborations with several Vietnamese institutions such as the Open University and Ho Chi Minh City University of Economics, among others.

Victoria University was the first New Zealand university to implement dual degree programs with Vietnam. It has closely coordinated with Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training to provide education for graduate and doctoral students in economics. The university has also participated in three capacity-building programs and English courses for Vietnamese government officials.

Hannah Nguyen