Singapore, Malaysia work for united ASEAN community

Singapore stands ready to work closely with Malaysia towards the common goal of a united and strong ASEAN Community as well as exploring ways to further strengthen the bloc. Singaporean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Law K.Shanmugam made that statement while attending the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, on January 27. Shanmugam noted that Singapore’s priorities in the retreat are related to community-building orientations, integration targets, and the ASEAN Community’s Post 2015 Vision. He raised the need for the bloc to strengthen disaster relief responses collectively since no single country has all resources and capabilities. The minister also said ASEAN and China are committed to working towards the early conclusion on the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC). He reminded the bloc of not overlooking a threat from the self-claiming Islamic State (IS) in the region, referring to the force’s killing of a Japanese … [Read more...]

Government News 21/1

Military officer meets with Lockheed Martin executive Deputy Defence Minister Sen. Lt. Gen. Truong Quang Khanh had a meeting with Executive Vice President of the US-based security and aerospace corporation Lockheed Martin Patrick M. Dewar in Hanoi on January 20. The Deputy Minister welcomed Patrick M. Dewar and spoke highly of Lockheed Martin’s cooperation with Vietnamese companies, particularly in information technology. Dewar thanked the officer, saying his corporation looks forward to further opportunities to collaborate with the Vietnamese Defence Ministry. Vietnam prioritises all-round cooperation with Japan Vietnam hopes to further deepen the friendship and multi-dimensional cooperation with Japan, considering this one of the top priorities of the country’s foreign affairs policy. Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai made the statement while receiving Chairwoman of the Japanese Committee for Foreign Affairs and Defence Katayama Satsuki in Hanoi on January … [Read more...]

Government News 20/1

PM welcomes Danish trade minister Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung greeted Danish Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Mogens Jensen in Hanoi on September 19, assuring him that the government always facilitate operations of foreign enterprises, including Danish firms working in Vietnam. The PM said he is fully confident that the early ratification of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Union (EU) will open up new opportunities for Vietnam and the EU, including Denmark. He also took the occasion to ask for Denmark’s continued official development assistance to Vietnam, especially for climate change response and environmental protection. The host also expressed his wish that Denmark help the Vietnamese expatriate community assimilate into their society. Minister Jensen, for his part, affirmed that Denmark has always valued cooperation with Vietnam across sectors, and hopes that the upcoming … [Read more...]

Government News 9/1

Technological innovation vital to increasing competitiveness Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (M) attends a ceremony in Ha Noi yesterday to launch the National Technology Innovation Fund, which was established by the Ministry of Science and Technology. Technological innovation was important to helping Vietnamese businesses enhance their competitiveness and create new, high-quality products and services, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said. He was addressing a ceremony in Ha Noi yesterday to launch the National Technology Innovation Fund, which was established by the Ministry of Science and Technology. He hailed the ministry's efforts to set up the fund which would serve as an important financial institution of the State to boost technological innovation among businesses. The establishment of the fund also illustrates the Vietnamese Government's resolve to boost economic growth and renovate growth models based on science and technology. With charter capital of VND1 trillion … [Read more...]

Government News 1/1

Cooperation with ASEAN reviewed The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a meeting on December 30 to review the country's cooperation with ASEAN in 2014 and set out its tasks for 2015. In 2014, Viet Nam participated proactively in all activities of ASEAN, said the ministry, which works as the National Coordinating Agency for ASEAN Cooperation. The bloc continued efforts in realizing the roadmap of building an ASEAN Community by 2015 and achieved important results; enhanced internal solidarity and consensus; boosted relations with dialogue partners and promoted its key role in regional forums; and promoted its central role in the forming regional structure, particularly coping with arising challenges in the region. To prepare for the next ten years, ASEAN launched the construction of the ASEAN Community’s post 2015 Vision to seek ways and measures to boost the bloc’s connectivity, improve its adaptability, role and position to face complicated and unpredictable … [Read more...]

Social News 1/1

Saigon Railway to add trains for New Year holiday The Saigon Railway Passenger Transport Company is scheduling additional trains to meet the increased travel demands for the four-day New Year holiday from January 1-4, 2015. Accordingly, the Saigon Railway Passenger Transport Company will add more trains to the SN4 Sai Gon–Nha Trang and SQN4 Sai Gon–Quy Nhon on December 31, 2014; SPT4 Sai Gon–Phan Thiet on January 1,2 and 4; SN5 Nha Trang–Sai Gon, and SQN3 Quy Nhon–Sai Gon on January 3, 2015; SPT3 Phan Thiet–Sai Gon on January 1,3 and 4, 2015; SN3 Nha Trang–Sai Gon on January 3 and 4, 2015. The trains along the Saigon-Hanoi route will also have additional carriages. In additional to additional trains, the Vietnam Railways (VR) and the Saigon Railway Passenger Transport Company will offer a 10% discount on rail fares between midnight on January 1, 2015 to 12.59pm on February 1, 2015. Foreign students enjoy New Year gathering in Hanoi The … [Read more...]

Press digest – December 30

Congratulations to Tunisian newly-elected President State President Truong Tan Sang cabled a congratulatory message to Mr. Beji Caid Essebsi upon his election as President of the Republic of Tunisia. Earlier, Mr. Beji Caid Essebsi had served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1981 to 1986 and as Prime Minister from February 2011 to December 2011. NA Chairman extols close ties with Denmark National Assembly (NA) Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung hailed the traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Viet Nam and Denmark at a reception for Danish Ambassador John Nielsen in Ha Noi. Hung spoke glowingly of Ambassador John Nielsen’s contributions to fostering the friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries over the past years. John Nielsen said his nation would continue to provide ODA for Viet Nam and assist the Southeast Asian nation in climate change adaptation, culture and education. Gov’t discusses drafting, submitting laws The Government's … [Read more...]

Social News 20/12

Paid Christmas escorts trending among young Vietnamese In recent years, an increasing number of young Vietnamese who do not want to spend the holidays alone have turned to escort services, many of which charge millions of VND, to avoid a lonely Christmas. T.N, a Vietnamese living aboard, said that he wanted to bring a girlfriend out with his group of friends on his visit to Vietnam. "Everyone was bringing their wives or girlfriends, and I already said that I was bringing mine," he said. According to many who work in this area, when it was first introduced, there were not many people who thought it was a good idea. But over time, demand picked up. Now it is easy to go online and a special, if temporary, someone to provide company. T.N said, "My requirements are simple. The girl should have a fairly good appearance, speak English and must allow me to hold her hand." He said at first the company did not agree on the holding hands part, but finally gave in when he was … [Read more...]

VN reforms to create opportunities for UAE investors

UAE-Viet Nam investment forum open on Tuesday. — Photo baocongthuong ABU DHABI (Biz Hub) — Viet Nam has been implementing economic reforms to open up more investment and business opportunities for foreign investors, including those from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Middle Eastern countries, says Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Addressing a UAE-Viet Nam investment forum on Tuesday, he said the reforms had three major planks - completing market economy institutions, modernising infrastructure and developing a high- quality workforce. He noted that two-way trade between the two sides was estimated to rise by nearly 25 per cent to US$5.4 billion this year. Investment from UAE to Viet Nam has increased and many companies in the emirates were hiring Vietnamese workers for projects that contribute to its economic development, he said. Travelling between the two countries has been made easier with 14 direct flights per week linking Abu Dhabi, Dubai and HCM … [Read more...]

Weekly press digest – December 8-13

PM highlights opportunities for foreign investors PM Nguyen Tan Dung on December 11 in Bussan attended and delivered a keynote speech at the ASEAN-RoK Business Forum as part of the 25th ASEAN-RoK Commemorative Summit. Mr. Dung affirmed that the Vietnamese Government and local authorities would pave the favorable way for foreign investors, including RoK ones to do long-term and successful business in Viet Nam. Viet Nam will further improve the investment and business environment in order to welcome more investors, including those from the Republic of Korea in general and from Busan in particular. VN, RoK wrap up FTA negotiations Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang and RoK’s Minister of Trade, Industry, and Energy Yoon Sang-jick on December 10 in Busan signed a minutes on the conclusion of negotiations of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between Viet Nam and the RoK. The event was witnessed by PM Nguyen Tan Dung and President Park Geun-hye during the … [Read more...]

Social News 14/12

Vietnam warned against unsafe foods The Vietnam Food Administration (VFA) under the Ministry of Health this week received warnings of foreign food safety agencies against two types of dried food originating in Taiwan including tofu and fruits, which contain toxic substances. Particularly, Hong Kong’s Center for Food Safety informed the Vietnamese administration of a ban on dried tofu imported from Taiwan after this product had been found to be contaminated with toxic chemicals. The UK Food Standards Agency on Monday also warned against dried fruits produced by two firms named Gima and Norfolk, which contained sulfur dioxide not listed on the food label. Sulfur dioxide is a food preservative used to maintain the colorful appearance of the fruit and prevent it from rotting, but this chemical can cause serious health problems. VFA has reviewed data about food imports in the past two years and has yet to find information about such foods, but the agency stated it will keep … [Read more...]

Social News 13/12

Vietnam climbs 16 notches in transport infrastructure: WEF The availability and quality of transport infrastructure of Vietnam moved 16 steps to rank 74/138 in 2014, according to the Global Enabling Trade Report 2014 released at the recent World Economic Forum (WEF). In terms of the Enabling Trade Index (ETI), the WEF placed Vietnam at a position that is higher than other four ASEAN member countries – Laos (91st), the Philippines (96th), Cambodia (113th), and Myanmar (138th). The ETI is conducted every two years by the WEF, with a focus on the four main modes of transport: road, air, railroad and seaport infrastructures. Air connectivity and sea line connectivity are also taken into consideration by the WEF before it announces the Index. Former banker’s accomplices admit law infringement Some accomplices of Nguyen Duc Kien, former vice chairman of Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), said depositing VND718 billion at VietinBank was illegal but Kien insisted he did not … [Read more...]

Weekly press digest – November 17-23

VGP – The question-and-answer sessions held for the Government members; the Party chief's official visits to Russia, Belarus; the organization of the 14th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business (APK14) in Ho Chi Minh City; and the voting of new bills topped last week’s headlines. Party chief starts official visits to Russia, Belarus Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong on November 22 left Ha Noi for official visits to Russia and Belarus from November 23-28. The visits, made at the invitations of Russian President V. Putin and Belarusian President A. Lukashenko, aim to bolster the bilateral traditional friendship and cooperation. PM Dung: VN – promising land for cooperation, success PM Nguyen Tan Dung expressed his belief that Viet Nam would be a promising land for cooperation and success when addressing the opening ceremony of the 14th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business (APK14) in Ho Chi Minh City on November 21. PM Dung suggested German … [Read more...]

NA vice chair gets most high-confidence votes

Ngoc Lan Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan Truong Tan Sang Truong Thi Mai During its 13th eighth session in Hanoi City last Saturday the National Assembly (NA) conducted the second vote of confidence on 50 officials elected and approved by the legislature. The NA set three levels of confidence for the vote – high, average and low. Each lawmaker had 11 ballots and 30 minutes to contemplate and decide their voting. Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien got only 97 high-confidence votes, or 19.52% of the total, but the highest number of low-confidence votes, 191, or 38.63% of the total. Hoang Tuan Anh, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, followed Minister Tien with 157 low-confidence votes (31.59%), and Nguyen Thai Binh, Minister of Home Affairs, with 154 low-confidence votes (30.99%). In the previous vote of confidence, the Health Minister and the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism ranked fourth and sixth in the low-confidence rankings respectively. Though the … [Read more...]

Social News 17/11

Newspaper fined for inaccuracy The Ministry of Information and Communications' Deputy Chief Inspector, Do Thi Tinh, has decided to fine the Dan Viet online newspaper VND 15 million (US$714) for publishing inaccurate information. The story in question, "The world's most magnificent presidential palaces," was carried on November 2. The paper could appeal or contest the decision, the ministry said. The Information and Communication Ministry this year has issued fines on a large number of online and print newspapers for a variety of offences dealing with incorrect information. Thanh Hoa fills gaping road sinkhole Authorities in Thanh Hoa province's Quy Loc Commune have used 1,000 cubic metres of soil and rock to fill up a gaping sinkhole. They have also repaired the road on which the sinkhole had appeared to ensure traffic safety, and provided financial support for local households to repair their houses and other property. Local officials said they have instituted a ban on … [Read more...]

NA releases outcomes of second confidence vote

VGP - The National Assembly on Saturday conducted the second vote of confidence for 50 positions elected by the Legislature. No. Name High confidence Confidence Low confidence Votes Votes Votes 1 State President Truong Tan Sang 380 84 20 2 Vice State President Nguyen Thi Doan 302 168 15 3 National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung 340 93 52 4 National Assembly Vice Chairman Uong Chu Luu 344 124 14 5 National Assembly Vice Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan 390 86 9 6 National Assembly Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong 325 127 31 7 National Assembly Vice Chairman Huynh Ngoc Son 295 159 28 8 Chairman of the NA Science, Technology and Environment Committee Phan Xuan Dung 212 248 23 9 Chairman of the NA Economic Committee Nguyen Van Giau 317 155 12 10 Chairman of the NA External Relations Committee Tran Van Hang 284 183 13 11 Chairman of the NA People's Aspiration Committee Nguyen Duc Hien 225 228 30 12 Chairman of the NA Finance-Budget Committee Phung Quoc Hien 315 148 20 13 … [Read more...]

OP-ED: China’s island-building a bigger threat than oil rig

A Philippine surveillance photo taken in February of the Johnson South Reef in the South China Sea appears to show a large-scale reclamation effort being carried out by China. Photo via Reuters Without causing much of a stir, China has been quietly dumping sand onto reefs and rocks in waters claimed by Vietnam. In addition to altering the geography of the Spratly (Truong Sa) archipelago, China's land reclamation work on Johnson South, Cuarteron, Fiery Cross, Gaven, and Kennan reefs could be used as a clever legal leverage in an international court battle, particularly if Vietnam doesn't pay attention. And there's still time to make a difference. Based on Robert Beckman (1) and Clive Schofield (2)'s analysis of satellite imagery and studies conducted by the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office and the United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, these reefs don't yet qualify as islands. Reefs, rocks, islands and low-tide elevations An island is defined in Article 121 of … [Read more...]

Government News 11/11

Resolutions on socio-economic development, state budget estimate adopted The eighth session of the 13th National Assembly adopted resolutions on the socio-economic development plan and the state budget estimate for 2015 with a majority of votes on November 10. With 89.54 percent of votes in favour, the resolution on the socio-economic development plan for 2015 was passed, focusing on the enhancement of macro-economic stability and the removal of obstacles for businesses and production. It prioritises the acceleration of administrative reform; the fight against corruption and wastefulness; strengthening defence-security; safeguarding national sovereignty; and maintaining political and social order and safety. The resolution sets a number of socio-economic targets, including a GDP growth rate of 6.2 percent, a total export value growth rate of 10 percent, a consumer good index (CPI) increase of 5 percent, and an increased social development capital of 30-32 percent. The proportion … [Read more...]