Official visit to Vietnam: State Banquet in Hanoi
Madam Vice President,
Xin Ciao! (Good evening)
First, Madam Vice President, thanks for the kind words and for hosting us.
Vietnam is a fascinating country – with a rich and ancient culture, beautiful nature and thriving businesses. Many Norwegians are aware of this. The large number of Norwegian tourists visiting Vietnam every year is one sign. Another is the substantial business delegation which is accompanying us on this official visit.
The ties of cooperation and friendship between Vietnam and Norway have grown ever stronger since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1971. Ten years ago, my parents, the King and Queen of Norway, paid a state visit to Vietnam. They still have fond memories of their visit and the friendly people here. In 2008, former President Nguyen Minh Triet reciprocated the state visit.
The areas of cooperation between our countries have diversified greatly since 1971. Tonight we celebrate a long lasting and close friendship as well as new beginnings in a rich and diverse partnership. The four main pillars of our bilateral cooperation are expanded economic cooperation, protection of human rights, technical cooperation and capacity building. In addition, we cooperate on global issues of mutual interest – like climate change and protection of the environment. Furthermore, regular political consultations give us opportunities to candidly exchange views on a wide range of topics. I would like to commend Vietnam on its great efforts to reduce the country’s poverty rate.
We have seen a substantial increase in bilateral trade and investment in recent years. A number of Norwegian businesses in the maritime, marine and energy sectors have established operations in Vietnam. I hope a successful completion of the EFTA–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement negotiations by the end of this year will pave the way for strengthened business cooperation.
The Crown Princess and I look forward to learning more about your country first-hand. After visiting the picturesque capital of Hanoi, we will experience the rich traditions and culture of Hue. Our visit will end in Vietnam’s centre of commerce – Ho Chi Minh City.
Madam Vice President,
Our two countries can inspire each other and learn from each other. We have many areas of cooperation to further develop. And new areas are yet to be explored. Later tonight we will enjoy the results of our cultural cooperation, at the Hanoi Opera.
It is my hope that this visit will further boost relations between Vietnam and Norway. I wish you all success, health and happiness.
Thank you – Xin Cam On!