Vietnam’s Latest News (Dec. 26): Vietnamese-made Apps to Tackle Urgent National Issues

Overall, Vietnam's active participation in multilateral forums, stable economic performance, thriving tourism industry, and focus on local technological innovation position the country as a rising star in the global arena.

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Vietnam News Today (Dec. 26) notable headlines

Vietnam causes impact at multilateral forums: Ambassador

Continuous trade surplus helps stabilize exchange rates and macroeconomic indicators

Hanoi greets 24 million visitors in 2023

Make in Vietnam apps can help solve pressing national problems

Hanoi-HCM City becomes world’s fourth busiest domestic air routes in 2023

Vietnam active in UN peacekeeping mission

Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam Buddhist Summit opens in HCM City

OVs in Russia celebrate New Year 2024

Bringing Vietnamese heritages to the world

At a meeting of the UNGA’s 77th session (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam causes impact at multilateral forums: Ambassador

Vietnam this year continues to leave meaningful impressions at multilateral forums, including the United Nations (UN), contributing to enhancing its position and reputation among the global community, said Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations.

As 2023 is a volatile year with a series of conflicts, new and existing challenges intertwined, and complicated global security, Giang said against this backdrop, Vietnam continues to prove itself as a responsible member that effectively contributes to the UN’s common efforts. Its meaningful contributions have stood out as Vietnam has upheld its stance on supporting peace, development, respect for international law, multilateralism, and most importantly, highlighting the importance of following the UN Charter across all pillars, from peace, security to development and protection of human rights.

According to him, a highlight of Vietnam’s diplomacy in 2023 is its successful assumption of the position of Vice President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA)’s 77th session from September 2022 – September 2023. Vietnam has actively proposed and planned crucial decisions on various global issues, especially in the context that the UNGA has to handle an exceptionally busy agenda, possibly the busiest in many years.

Notably, Vietnam has chaired several UNGA’s sessions, discussed and passed a resolution requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the obligations of states with respect to climate change, the High Seas Treaty, and resolutions on holding high-level meetings on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. It has worked with other countries to propose initiatives and solutions on various major issues, coordinated and directly negotiated the drafting of documents. In particular, Vietnam has contributed ideas and initiatives to various ongoing processes at the UN to guide future directions, and continued playing an active role as a member of ASEAN, G-77, leading the Group of Friends on the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). All these partnership relations have solidified Vietnam’s diplomatic position at the UN forum, he said.

He added that this year, Vietnam continues making significant contributions in its capacity as a member of the UN Human Rights Council for the 2023-2025 tenure, the International Law Commission (2023-2027), the UNESCO Executive Board (2021-2025), and the Inter-Governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (2022-2026).

On peace-security, Vietnam has always actively stepped up joint efforts to enhance the role of the UN, and build a global governance system based on the rule of law and respect to the UN Charter and widely-recognised international standards. In the context of increasing strategic competition and confrontations, and numerous challenges to multilateral cooperation, it has incessantly called for strengthening trust, increasing solidarity and international responsibility, promoting dialogue and mutual understanding to peacefully settle all disputes, for the common goal of peace, national independence, democracy and progress in the world. Vietnam has proactively contributed to and expanded its participation in UN peacekeeping activities, playing a part in preventing conflicts and building peace, particularly in hotspots in Africa, he said.

In terms of development, Giang stressed that Vietnam continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It has been joining various core groups while proposing, coordinating, and negotiating numerous initiatives and cooperation documents on education, health care, water resource protection, energy transition, and climate change adaptation. Vietnam remains actively engaged in implementing the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), striving to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Vietnam continues to actively cooperate with UN mechanisms on human rights, defending national reports under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism, and reports on the implementation of international human rights conventions of which it is a member, cited VNA.

Vietnam also continues to affirm a strong commitment to promoting multilateralism, with the UN at the center, respecting the fundamental principles of the UN Charter and international law. This includes upholding the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, prioritizing dialogue over confrontation, and peacefully settling disputes.

The Vietnamese diplomat cited UNICEF Representative in Vietnam Rana Flowers as saying that Vietnam is an active, proactive and responsible member in multilateral processes.

Forecasting a highly complex scenario with numerous uncertainties next year, Giang said Vietnam will continue to step up its foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralization and diversification of external ties; comprehensive, extensive and effective global integration.

Vietnam will actively prepare for and contribute to major UN processes, including the Summit of the Future, the high-level General Debate of the UNGA’s 79th session, the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in January 2024; seriously fulfill its international commitments; and continue to uphold its role as a member of crucial UN mechanisms.

The achievements and hallmarks that have been attained serve as a foundation to take pride in and believe that Vietnam today is not only ready to be a reliable, constructive and responsible partner of the global community but also possesses the expertise and resources necessary to shoulder responsibilities commensurate with the country’s new stature, Giang concluded.

Continuous trade surplus helps stabilize exchange rates and macroeconomic indicators

Trade balance continues to record a trade surplus for the eighth consecutive year with an estimated surplus of US$26 billion, a nearly three-fold increase over 2022, positively contributing to the balance of payments, helping to increase foreign exchange reserves, and stabilizing exchange rates and other macroeconomic indicators.

The total import-export turnover this year is estimated to have reached US$683 billion, of which exports are projected to hit US$354.5 billion and imports are estimated to be at US$328.5 billion, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

This year the export of many products such as electronics, spare parts, garments and textiles, footwear, and wooden furniture all failed to meet expectations.

Amid drastic changes in the global market, import and export activities reached approximately the level recorded in 2022, with this being achieved through the efforts of ministries, departments, sectors, and state management agencies in boosting market access, brand promotion, and promoting relevant factors in import and export activities.

In line with this, local businesses have made every effort to actively take advantage of opportunities from the recovery of major and traditional markets to bolster exports.

Most notably, amid the global economy continuing to grow slowly and world aggregate demand declining, Vietnamese export activities continue to overcome difficulties and although they have not yet achieved a return compared to the previous year, the decline continued to narrow.

As a result, the decline in exports increasingly narrowed from a fall of 12% in the first half of the year to a drop of roughly 4.6% for the whole of 2023, according to VOV.

Photo: VOV

In terms of export activities, businesses have done well in terms of diversifying markets amid a decline in exports to major markets.

As a result, export turnover to countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, and West Asia all increased, while falling exports in several key markets continued to narrow.

Specifically, exports to the United States market dropped from 22.6% in the first half of the year to about 11.2% for the whole of 2023; the EU saw a contraction of 10.1% in the first half of the year to about 4.8% for all of 2023; whilst the Republic of Korea (RoK) narrowed from 10.2% to about 2.5%.

Most notably, Vietnamese exports to the Chinese market reversed from a decrease of 2.2% in the first half of the year to an increase of about 8.1% for the whole of 2023, while exports to other major markets all decreased.

Elsewhere, the domestic economic sector continues to make efforts to maintain and boost market exports amid numerous difficulties occurring in the global economy.

According to economic expert Associate Professor Dr. Dinh Trong Thinh, with policies on reducing VAT, fees, and charges, it is hoped that domestic consumption will record higher growth ahead in 2024.

It is hoped that next year both imports and exports, alongside domestic consumption, will record higher growth and achieve the growth target of 6% to 6.5% set by the National Assembly and the Government, thereby creating greater growth momentum in the near future.

The US represents the largest exporting country among its trading partners. Upgrading the mutual relationship to that of a comprehensive strategic partnership has created favorable conditions for local businesses to access the US market and promote import and export activities.

China is a country where Vietnam exports a relatively large amount, but in terms of imports, this is the partner Vietnam imports the most from.

It is therefore worth noting that the joint comprehensive strategic partnership has now been raised to a new level and based on mutual understanding between the two sides, there will be long-term cooperation in both investment and trade between the two countries in the time ahead, Dr. Thinh added.

Hanoi greets 24 million visitors in 2023

Hanoi recorded an estimated 24 million tourist arrivals this year, reflecting a remarkable annual increase of 27%, according to the municipal Tourism Department.

Among the total, foreign visitors reached 4 million, marking an impressive 266.7% year-on-year growth, while the remainder were domestic tourists, exhibiting a yearly rise of 16.3%.

The total tourism revenue was estimated at VND 87.65 trillion (US$3.65 billion), indicating a substantial 45.5% surge compared to the previous year, VNA reported.

Foreign visitors to Hoa Lo Prison, a relic site in Hanoi. (Photo: VNA)

Director of the department Dang Huong Giang highlighted the sector’s focus on building tours and tourism products grounded in traditional cultural values, adding that the introduction of 15 enticing night tourism products also garnered positive feedback from tourists.

The department held various programs to enhance its strengths in tourism products such as culinary, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions), and health care tourism. In collaboration with districts, suburban areas, and travel agencies, the sector offered new experiential tours that are linked with heritage and relic sites, as well as craft villages. River tourism products were also developed to connect tourist destinations along the Red and Duong Rivers, she said.

Also this year, Hanoi has been honored by the World Travel Awards with several accolades, including “Leading City Destination in Asia”, “Leading City Break Destination in Asia”, and “Leading Tourist Board in Asia”.

The city also received its first-ever award as the “World’s Best Golf Destination” from the World Golf Awards. It boasted 48 out of 103 Michelin Guide-selected restaurants, with three of them achieving Michelin one-star status. According to TripAdvisor, Hanoi ranked 17th out of 25 renowned travel destinations and held the third position among the top 20 culinary destinations for food enthusiasts.

Giang revealed that next year, the city will strive to serve some 26.5 million tourists, up 10.4% annually. This includes 5 million foreign and 21.5 million domestic tourists, showing respective year-on-year rises of 25% and 7.5%. The total revenue is projected to hike by 13.8% annually to roughly VND99.77 trillion.

Make in Vietnam apps can help solve pressing national problems

A video analysis platform satisfies supervision demand. Digital technology helps settle the problem of transport vehicles with excess weight.

These are two of many solutions created by Vietnamese technology firms that are helping solve specific problems in Vietnam.

On December 11, a session with the theme ‘Creating digital apps to bring digital technology into life’, an event within the framework of the fifth National Forum on Digital Technology Businesses Development in Vietnam, was held in Quang Ninh.

In modern times, businesses and institutions are shifting from the traditional business model to a flexible model, under which the process is automated and optimized, with cloud infrastructure used, and conducted based on data and IoT applications.

However, Vu Hong Chien, Director of FPT Quy Nhon Center for Artificial Intelligence Research and Application, pointed out that during the transformation process, businesses face challenges such as requiring large investments and changes in organizational culture, data quality, knowledge and awareness, safety, and security.

To overcome difficulties, institutions’ leaders and workers have to have deep knowledge and awareness in exploiting digital technology for operations and business. Leaders can only be determined to go digitized if they can truly be aware of the valuable role of digital technology businesses, such as cutting costs, increasing revenue, and creating new products, cited VNN.

The speakers at the session with the theme ‘Creating digital apps to bring digital technology into life’.

FPT has launched akaCam solution, a platform that analyzes videos to help convert video data from Camera IP into structured information which is processed and analyzed in order to support businesses to switch into flexible business models.

akaCam can satisfy the diverse monitoring needs of warehouses, factories, and retail stores, transaction offices, and shopping centers. akaCam is also being used within the framework of Project 06 to deploy AI security cameras at public facilities. Therefore, the number of workers in charge of controlling entries/exits and security guards can be reduced, and the time for analysis and reporting can be shortened.

Discovering and handling overloaded vehicles is also a serious problem in Vietnam. Reports show that the total cost for the highway system maintenance is very high, VND30 trillion in 2023, and the figure increases by 10 percent per annum. This is partially attributed to overloaded vehicles.

In 2013-2023, the control of overloaded vehicles was implemented with mobile weighing stations. With portable scales, 3.1 million vehicles have been examined, and 268,000 violation cases have been discovered.

However, the solution poses many disadvantages. It requires many staff, consumes a lot of time, and operates manually with high operation costs. More importantly, the solution cannot solve the basic problems of overloading.

To solve the problem, Elcom has developed the Elcom smart ecosystem, of which the automatic weighing system called eWIM is an important part. eWIM operates automatically and processes data in a digital environment.

The solution helps detect 100 percent of violation cases, protect transport infrastructure, and save 75 percent of resources, thus reducing operation costs by 80 percent and improving awareness of people in traffic. Particularly, it provides the data that serve management, planning, forecasting of state agencies, and optimizing road surface and construction work design.

In other countries, speed cameras are used to control vehicle speed. However, the solution is useless in Vietnam, where motorbikes are a dominant means of transport. Therefore, in this case, a Make in Vietnam solution is needed to solve the Vietnamese problem.

Challenges to bring digital technology into life

Talking about the system that helps check legal documents, Dang Minh Tuan, head of CMC ATI, an arm of CMC Group, said it is not a simple process.

Checking legal documents is a difficult task that requires the participation of legal experts, while technology engineers only have basic knowledge.

CMC had to contact experts and lawyers to ask them to help analyze and understand legal documents. It also had to invite natural language processing experts. In other words, the project on developing a legal document checking system requires cooperation from many parties, especially justice officers.

Technology firms all said that they hope they can get support from the government to design solutions to solve specific Vietnamese problems like foreign firms receive from their governments.

Technology firms want support in communications and policies to encourage businesses to use Make-in-Vietnam products.

Hanoi-HCM City becomes world’s fourth busiest domestic air routes in 2023

According to British aviation analysis company OAG, around 10.8 million passengers flew on the air route during October 2022-September 2023.

In 2023, the Hanoi-HCMC route is estimated to transport more than 9 million passengers, accounting for 22 percent of the total number.

There are a total 43,000 flights on the route, accounting for 17.5 percent of total domestic flights, reported the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).

The busiest was Jeju-Seoul with 13.7 million passengers, followed by Sapporo New Chitose Apt-Tokyo with 11.9 million and Fukuoka – Tokyo with 11.2 million.

Vietnam’s aviation industry witness signs of strong recovery

The CAAV announced that Vietnam’s aviation industry has been witnessing signs of strong recovery.

Vietnamese airlines have carried 74 million passengers this year, up 34.5 percent from the previous year, equivalent to nearly 94 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

Of the figure, 32 million were foreign arrivals, an increase of 1.7 times against the previous year and equal to 77 percent of the figure recorded in 2019.

Meanwhile, during the year, the number of domestic passengers hit 42 million, down 3 percent compared to 2022 but up 12 percent compared to 2019, VGP reported.

Photo: VGP

In 2023, the total amount of freight carried in Vietnam amounted to 1.1 million tons, a year-on-year decrease of 9.3 percent.

Currently, there are 66 domestic routes connecting Hanoi, HCMC, Da Nang with 19 other provinces and cities with more than 600 flights per day.

This year, airlines launched a number of new domestic air routes, connecting Can Tho with Van Don, Hanoi with Ca Mau, and HCMC with Dien Bien.

Airlines restores int’l routes on high travel demand

The international air routes continue to maintain their recovery momentum with a higher level of recovery in the last months of the year, noted the CAAV.

Vietnamese and foreign airlines have completely restored routes to traditional markets and opened new routes to new markets in Central Asia such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Mongolia.

Currently, 63 foreign airlines and five Vietnamese airlines are operating 169 regular international routes and charter flights to 28 countries and territories in North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Africa from/to Vietnamese destinations such as Hanoi, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City, Cam Ranh, Phu Quoc, Hue, and Da Lat.

The number of passengers from the Northeast Asia market, including China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan (China), was estimated at 17.1 million in 2023, making up 54 percent of the total number.

Rosie Nguyen