Vietnam has been making great strides in projecting itself as an effective ASEAN leader, particularly with its proactive governance in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change policy, and for its political stability, the ASEAN Post reported.

In its article published last weekend, the ASEAN Post highlighted the leading role of Vietnam as the current Chair of ASEAN, saying the country has been actively involved with the association since 1995 when it joined the bloc with the aim of bringing all Southeast Asian countries together to promote regional peace, freedom, and prosperity.

It highlighted that Vietnam is the only Southeast Asian country that has achieved climate action, according to the Sustainable Development Report 2020. Vietnam is powering ahead of the rest of Southeast Asia as it pushes for greater reliance on renewable energy.

Regarding economic growth, even during these unusually rough times, the Vietnamese economy has been remarkably resilient, thanks to the government’s drastic actions such as tax breaks, the delaying of tax payments, and land-use fees for businesses.

FDI worth over 12 billion USD was registered in Vietnam between January and April this year.

In addition, Vietnam recorded a trade surplus of more than 9.9 billion USD, the highest compared to the previous four years.

Vietnam’s economy in the third quarter of this year has been positive, registering a 2.6 percent growth driven by the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries sectors, which grew 2.93 percent. The industry and construction sector grew 2.95 percent and services grew 2.75 percent. Overall Vietnam's growth in 2020 is expected to be in the range of 2.9 percent.

The ASEAN Post also highly spoke of Vietnam as one of the more politically stable countries in the region.

As Southeast Asia’s rising star, Vietnam could assume an effective dual leadership strategy with traditional ASEAN de facto leader, Indonesia, it said.

The success of Vietnam's COVID-19 strategy – which is centred on its experience with similar virus outbreaks in the past – has rightly attracted the attention of the international community. The ASEAN member state should be commended for its effective pandemic policies, which has resulted in low levels of transmission and fatalities.

Together with Indonesia, Vietnam can alter the security environment of ASEAN and lead the association in the right direction in terms of all its member states’ individual and collective goals, it said.

Flood death toll rises to 111 in central Viet Nam

Floods caused by heavy rains have claimed 111 lives in 12 localities of central and central highlands regions, according to the Central Steering Committee for National Disaster Prevention and Control.

The deaths include two in Nghe An, three in Ha Tinh, nine in Quang Binh, 49 in Quang Tri, 28 in Thua Thien-Hue, three in Da Nang, 11 in Quang Nam, one in Quang Ngai, two in Kon Tim, one in Gia Lai, one in Dak Lak, and one in Lam Dong.

The Committee also said 22 others are still missing (one in Ha Tinh, four in Quang Tri, 15 in Thua Thien-Hue, one in Da Nang, and one in Gia Lai).

Nearly 124,570 houses are still submerged in floodwaters in Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces.

The central region has experienced a total rainfall of nearly 3,000 mm since early October, causing widespread flooding in 200 communes and wards of Thua Thien Hue-Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Quang Nam and Da Nang./.

Prime Minister receives WB Country Director

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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and Country Director of the World Bank in Vietnam Carolyn Turk (Photo: VNA) 

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc hosted a reception in Hanoi on October 21 for Country Director of the World Bank in Vietnam Carolyn Turk. 

The PM expressed his belief that Turk will continue the success of her predecessors to increasingly foster ties between the lender and the country.

He stressed that the Vietnamese Government, ministries and agencies wish to receive policy advices from the WB, especially in stabilising macro-economy.

Vietnam has set the twin goal of fighting the pandemic and ensuring economic development. Thanks to public support, the Vietnamese economy still posted the highest positive growth in ASEAN amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

The leader thanked the WB for supporting the central region in overcoming disaster consequences, and affirmed that the Government is actively directing ministries, agencies and localities to uphold their sense of responsibility and step up the disbursement of official development assistance.

He hailed the lender for approving a 12 billion USD support package for countries worldwide, including Vietnam, to buy COVID-19 vaccine, and expressed his hope that Turk will partner with the Government to fulfill the twin goal.

The host also hoped that the WB will work closely with the Vietnamese ministries, agencies and localities to improve ODA disbursement and efficiency of projects funded by the lender.

As Vietnam is building 2021-2026 socio-economic development and public investment plans, the PM suggested that the WB continue partnering with the Vietnamese ministries, agencies and localities to prepare effective projects to meet the development demand.

Turk, for her part, expressed her appreciation for close coordination between the Vietnamese Government and WB over the past 25 years. She hoped to step up bilateral ties more effectively in the near future. 

Sympathising with those in the central region for losses caused by flooding, she said the WB will do its best to support them.

The official also congratulated the Vietnamese Government on successfully curbing the COVID-19 pandemic and making Vietnam one of a few economies with positive growth this year which brings about a great competitive edge to the country in the global supply chain, especially at a time when many countries worldwide still shut down to cope with the pandemic.

According to her, a number of big corporations worldwide plan to move their manufacturing facilities to Vietnam. Therefore, the country needs to grasp this opportunity before countries reopen their economies.

In her opinion, it is a good time for Vietnam to reshape itself in the global economy, adding the country will have chances to step up reform in digital Government, transformation and remote health check-up and treatment.

The WB is ready to provide support in capital, experts and policy consultation to Vietnam, she said, adding that it has support resources for Vietnam, even capital and procedures, to buy COVID-19 vaccine on a large scale.

The official also vowed to work with Vietnamese ministries and agencies to hasten disbursement of public investment capital, and proposed that Vietnam should further simplify disbursement procedures for projects.

She also hoped that the WB’s four programmes and projects will be soon submitted to the Government for approval./.

Three missing after another landslide in Quang Tri

Three people have been reported missing after a landslide in the isolated Quang Tri commune of Huong Viet.

On October 21, Dang Trong Van, chairman of Huong Hoa District People's Committee, said due to heavy rain and flooding, four communes in the area are isolated. Huong Viet and Huong Lap communes are the most severe cases as there is no communication or transportation.

Three people have been missing after going to farm on October 17. It is suspected that they were buried in a landslide. However, due to lack of personnel, the missing people have not yet been searched for. Both the chairman of Huong Viet People's Committee and the party secretary of Huong Viet Commune were injured while searching for the missing people and need to be transferred to a district-level hospital.

"I asked the authorities of Quang Tri People's Committee to send help to clear the roads to access the isolated communes so that we could send food and other necessities," Van said.

Helicopters have been mentioned in the plan to support isolated communes, however, because of bad weather, this plan is still infeasible.

As of October 21, 34 people have died, 29 of them died in the landslides caused by heavy rains and flooding in Huong Hoa District.

Czech President lauds friendship with Vietnam

President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman on October 21 praised the sound development of the traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation with Vietnam.

At a reception for Vietnamese Ambassador Thai Xuan Dung who came to present his credentials, the President recalled his visit to Vietnam in the past and spoke highly of achievements the Southeast nation has recorded in socio-economic development, particularly in the economic sphere.

The leader also expressed his good impressions on the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic, saying they have united and integrated into the host country well.

For his part, Ambassador Dung extended the greetings of Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong to the Czech President.

He thanked the Czech State and people for their valuable and effective support, and the President for his good sentiments towards Vietnam, affirming that Vietnam wishes to develop the time-honoured friendship and comprehensive cooperation with the Czech Republic.

The ambassador expressed his wish that the Czech State, Government and President continue to facilitate the integration of the Vietnamese community in the host society.

Dung told the Vietnam News Agency that he will make every effort to contribute to advancing the bilateral ties to a new high, for common interests, and for peace, friendship, cooperation between peoples of the two countries.

He suggested the two countries step up high-level delegation exchanges and effectively materialise agreements signed within the framework of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) in order to raise the two-way trade.
The ambassador also pledged to intensify coordination with relevant agencies at home and Czech authorities to create optimal conditions for the Vietnamese community to stabilise their lives in the Czech Republic./.

Ambassadors of Pacific Alliance support Vietnamese flood victims

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Chilean Ambassador Jaime Chomali, on behalf of ambassadors of member countries of the Pacific Alliance (PA), has expressed his deep sympathies over human and property losses caused by floods in Vietnam’s central region.

Ambassadors of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru to Vietnam on October 20 sent necessities, including dried food and drinking water, to the Vietnam Red Cross Society, to support the Vietnamese flood victims.

The Chilean Ambassador expressed his hope that the aid will help to ease the plight of the residents.

The Chilean Ambassador expresses his hope that the aid will help to ease the plight of the residents.

Dao Ngoc Trieu, Chairman of the Hanoi Red Cross Society, thanked the good deeds, and affirmed that through the Red Cross Society, the donations will be handed over to the affected people.

Trieu said he hopes there will be more foreign representative offices and international organisations joining hands with the Vietnam Red Cross Society in natural disaster response efforts.

The ambassadors expressed their belief that the Vietnamese Government and people will promptly deal with flood consequences and help local residents soon resume their daily lives.

According to a report from the Office of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, as of 7am on October 21, flooding that began on October 6 had killed 111 people and left 22 missing. Some 371 ha of rice paddies have been submerged, 7,126 ha of crops damaged, and over 700,000 heads of cattle and poultry killed or swept away./.

Funeral held for 22 landslide victims in central Vietnam

Thousands of people on October 22 paid tribute to 22 military officers and soldiers who died in a landslide in Quang Tri province, central Vietnam, several days ago.

The funeral was solemnly held at the Quang Tri provincial sport complex according to military rituals. After the memorial service held the same day, the bodies of the soldiers were transferred to their localities to be buried according to family wishes.

Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh, alongside a number of ministers and top military leaders, offered incense and extended condolences to the bereaved.

Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan sent wreaths to pay homage to the dead victims.

The 22 officers and soldiers were sleeping in a military camp in Cop village, Huong Hoa district when a landslide occurred at more than 01.00am October 18. They had completed a mission to help evacuate local people from flood-hit areas to a higher ground.  

State President Nguyen Phu Trong on October 20 signed a decision to posthumously honour the 22 officers and soldiers with the National Defence Order in recognition of their sacrifice while joining in the natural disaster prevention work.

The central region of Vietnam has been devastated by two subsequent storms that caused prolonged heavy rain, flashfloods and landslides. The natural disasters have left more than 100 dead and dozens missing.

Photo exhibition honours Vietnamese mothers

A photo exhibition featuring Vietnamese mothers is on display at the Vietnam Women’s Museum on the occasion of Vietnamese Women’s Day and the 90th anniversary of the women union’s establishment.

The exhibition introduces 90 photos of Vietnamese mothers taken by colonel, journalist and photographer Tran Hong with simplicity, honesty and vibrancy.

Moments in the life of an ordinary mother, a professor, a heroine, or a Vietnamese heroic mother - all are treasured and captured with love from the heart of the former soldier.

The Vietnam Women’s Museum will also work with the soldier’s heart club to collect meaningful and valuable materials and stories from times of both war and peace./

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi offers sympathy over floods in Vietnam

State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi has offered her sympathy to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc over the heavy losses of life and property from floods and landslides in the country's central region.

In her message, she expressed her deep sympathy towards those affected by the floods and landslides, voicing her belief that with steadfastness and solidarity, the Vietnamese Government and people will soon overcome the challenges.

As of 7am on October 21, flooding that began on October 6 had killed 111 people and left 22 missing in the central region. Some 371ha of rice paddies and 7,126ha of crops have been submerged, and a large number of cattle and poultry have been killed or swept away, according to the Standing Office of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control.

ASEAN-China Young Leaders Scholarship 2020 launched

The ASEAN-China Young Leaders Scholarship (ACYLS) 2020 was launched at a virtual ceremony on October 20.  

The ceremony was attended by ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi, ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General Kung Phoak, Philippine Secretary of Education Leonor Magtolis Briones and Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui.

Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Luo said the ACYLS has become "one of the innovative flagship projects" of the China-ASEAN cooperation in less than two years.

It has played an important role in consolidating the people-to-people pillar of the cooperation, he said.

ASEAN's Deputy Secretary-General for the Socio-Cultural Community Kung Phoak commended the programme for providing opportunities for ASEAN nationals to undertake training and graduate study in China.

According to Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN Deng Xijun, nearly 100 young people from ASEAN countries have undertaken graduate courses as well as short-term exchange and training courses in China since the scholarship was first launched.

The ACYLS was initiated by Chinese premier Li Keqiang and adopted by ASEAN leaders at the 21st ASEAN-China summit in 2018 in Singapore./.

People-to-people diplomacy important to Vietnam-Russia ties: conference

People-to-people diplomacy has played a prominent role in strengthening the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership in the past years, heard a conference held in Moscow on October 20.

The event was jointly organised by the Russia – Vietnam Friendship Association, Vietnam – Russia Friendship Association, Russia’s Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States Affairs, Compatriota Residing Abroad, and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo), the Vietnamese business community in Russia, and several partners.

It drew the participation of more than 100 representatives from governmental agencies, social organisations, friendship organisations, scholars, business people and students.

In his speech, Vietnamese Ambassador to Russia Ngo Duc Manh stressed the workshop is a vivid illustration of the sound collaboration between friendship organisations of both sides.

He expressed his belief that the two friendship associations will enhance activities, contributing to developing the Vietnam-Russia ties in a more intensive and sustainable manner.

Meanwhile, Professor Vladimir Buyanov, Chairman of the Russia – Vietnam Friendship Association and Director of the Moscow Academy of Economics and Law, spoke highly of the people-to-people diplomacy in promoting the Russia – Vietnam relations, and the young generations should have thorough understanding of the long-standing friendship.

He hoped the conference will find new approaches and measures to develop the people-to-people diplomacy between the two countries.

President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations Nguyen Phuong Nga, for her part, said achievements in the Vietnam-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership have create premise for both sides to step up people-to-people exchange and cooperation.

Nearly 15 reports highlightinging experience in promoting people-to-people diplomacy were delivered at the event./.

Tây Ninh releases fish fry into reservoir to regenerate fishery resources

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Fish fry are released into the Dầu Tiếng Reservoir in Tây Ninh Province.

The southern province of Tây Ninh last week began releasing more than 515,000 fry of various fish species into the Dầu Tiếng Reservoir to regenerate fishery resources during the ongoing rainy season.

The fish include bighead carp, grass carp, common carp, tra fish, bronze featherback and Asian red-tailed catfish, and other fish species.

The release by the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development was done over three days until Saturday.

The 27-sq.km reservoir, located in parts of the three provinces of Bình Dương, Bình Phước and Tây Ninh, provides water for agricultural and industrial production and household use in the provinces and HCM City.

Before the release, the Tây Ninh People’s Committee decided to ban all fish catching in the reservoir between October 15 and November 15 to protect newly-released fish fry.

The department has asked localities, in co-operation with the Dầu Tiếng-Phước Hòa Irrigation Exploitation Company, to inform local fishermen about the decision.

The department also asked agencies to tighten inspections and penalise anyone illegally catching fish in the reservoir during the period.

Nguyễn Văn Mấy, deputy director of the department, said the release of fish fry into the reservoir has been regularly implemented since 2005 and has helped regenerate fish resources for locals to catch.  

The release of fish fry has contributed to enhancing the awareness of locals about protecting fishery resources in the reservoir.

The department releases about 800,000-1 million fry of various fish species into the reservoir each year.

The reservoir has about 54 fish species, with many high-value fish species like bronze featherback, Asian red-tailed catfish, marble goby and helicopter catfish, according to the Research Institute for Aquaculture No 2 under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

Vietjet supports passengers travel from/to central region

Vietjet has introduced an unlimited free flight change policy to support passengers travel from and to central provinces which are devastated by storms and floods.

Specifically, all passengers arriving and departing from Hue, Dong Hoi and Vinh airports with scheduled departure times from October 20 to November 15 can change their flight dates free of charge for unlimited times and pay only the fare difference (if any) with new departure times from October 21 to January 31, 2021.

Cchanges need to be completed before the original scheduled departure times and before November 15.

Besides, from October 19, 2020, the airline has been providing free transportation and priority for relief goods on the earliest flights which departure from Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to airports in Chu Lai (Quang Nam), Da Nang (Da Nang), Phu Bai (Thua Thien Hue), Dong Hoi (Quang Binh) and Vinh (Nghe An). Charity organisations that need to register to transport relief goods please contact via email huongvemientrung@vietjetair.com and hotline 0888671133 for specific instructions.

The airline also gives free air tickets to officials of the Vietnamese Fatherland Front and People's Committees of provinces and cities who travel on duty to the central region during this period.

Japan offers Indonesia 473 million USD loan to fight COVID-19

Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said on October 20 that his country will provide 50 billion JPY (473 million USD) in low-interest loans to Indonesia to support its fight against COVID-19.

The offer was made to Indonesian President Joko Widodo during talks held near Jakarta, Kyodo News reported.

Suga, who is on the second leg of his first overseas trip since taking office, said he also agreed with Widodo to start discussions on resuming business travel between their countries and to hold security talks between their defense and foreign ministers at an early date.

Suga arrived in Jakarta in the afternoon from Hanoi, where he met with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc on October 19. The visit to Indonesia will complete his four-day trip through October 21.

His four-day trip to the two Southeast Asian countries takes place as the Japanese PM is working to promote Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific vision./.

ASEAN, associated entities to promote cooperation

The ASEAN Secretariat hosted the 4th Forum of Entities Associated with ASEAN.

This annual forum provides a platform for the ASEAN accredited entities to bolster further cooperation with ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN sectoral bodies and ASEAN related centres, and among themselves.

About 150 participants representing ASEAN parliamentarians, judiciaries, youth, civil societies, women, and business and professional associations attended this year’s forum which took place online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his welcome remarks, Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi encouraged the entities to explore collaboration with one another, contributing to realising the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and strengthening the ASEAN image and brand.

Vietnam’s Permanent Representative to ASEAN Ambassador Tran Duc Binh, in his role as Chair of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (ASEAN CPR), appreciated the entities’ contributions to raising ASEAN awareness and fostering community building.

The Forum kicked off with an overview of the impact of the COVID19 pandemic in ASEAN and the bloc’s responses to date, in particular, how ASEAN member states are working closely together for a post-pandemic recovery framework.

The participants shared their on-the-ground views on the progress of ASEAN Vision 2025 and possible areas for improvement. As COVID-19 continues to hit the region and worldwide, the ASEAN entities acknowledged that the journey to recovery requires closer cooperation between various partners and stakeholders.

Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for Community and Corporate Affairs Michael Tene called on ASEAN and its entities to work closer together in achieving ASEAN Vision 2025 and contribute to joint efforts in ensuring a peaceful, resilient and prosperous region.

There are currently 75 entities associated with ASEAN which are listed in Annex 2 of the ASEAN Charter. They are categorised into parliamentarians and judiciary, business organisations, think tank and academic institutions, civil society organisations, and other stakeholders./.

Peace Trees Vietnam marks 25th anniversary

Peace Trees Vietnam held an online ceremony in Seattle, Washington, on October 20 to celebrate its 25th founding anniversary.

Founded in 1995, PeaceTrees Vietnam’s mission is to heal the legacy of war by removing explosives, returning land to safe use, promoting peace and cultivating a brighter future for the children and families of Vietnam.

The organisation has handled more than 123,000 explosives, and planted over 44,000 trees so far, according to Peace Trees Vietnam founder Jerilyn Brusseau.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO), said Vietnam treasures Americans’ efforts in ending the war, helping Vietnamese people heal war wounds, and pushing ahead with the normalisation of relations between the two countries.

Nga also highlighted results of the bilateral collaboration in economy, trade and education.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) play an active role in Vietnam’s activities, she said, adding that the country has maintained relations with more than 1,200 international NGOs.

NGOs of the US has provided financial support for Vietnam, helping the country deal with war consequences, reduce poverty, improve living standards, health care and educational quality, and cope with non-traditional challenges like climate change, Nga stressed.

US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J.Kritenbrink attributed the fine bilateral ties to efforts of peoples and leaders of both countries for a long time.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Ha Kim Ngoc said Vietnam and the US share many common interests such as peace, rules-based security and safety, and strategic balance.

Delegates at the ceremony also discussed issues regarding the fight against COVID-19 and orientations for the Vietnam-US relations in the future, among others./.

Arts grants programme boosts cultural exchanges between UK, Southeast Asia

The British Council has launched its arts grants programme Connections Through Culture (CTC) UK - Southeast Asia for the 2020 – 2021 period, aiming to support exchanges and collaboration between the two sides.

Established in Southeast Asia in August 2019, it provides grants to artists, cultural and arts professionals, and representatives of art collectives, networks or organisations from the UK, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Grantees will benefit from the inspiration gained from exchanging ideas and sharing their cultural history.

A grant is worth 2,500 – 7,500 GBP (3,237 – 9,711 USD).

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme will be supporting online collaboration projects between Southeast Asia and the UK. Projects will be needed to be completed between January to June next year.

Prior to the pandemic, this would have most likely involved international travel. However, with travel restricted and uncertain, the grant will be used to develop and strengthen new and existing bilateral relationships between the two sides, by providing funding to allow conversations to happen, and for the possibilities of online collaboration to be explored.

Applications will close on November 8./.

ASEAN launches guidelines on social protection in response to COVID-19

The ASEAN Secretariat has convened a high-level roundtable to discuss accelerated actions in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event was held during the official launch of the ASEAN Guidelines on Disaster Responsive Social Protection to Increase Resilience, a collaborative effort among the three sectors of disaster management, health and social welfare development with the support from the UN, the European Union (EU), the Asian Development Bank, and the Canadian government.

Developed in 2017-2019, the document provides a framework, guiding principles and key considerations that are critical for social protection programmes to deliver on resilience outcomes.

In his opening speech, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Kung Phoak stressed that the development and implementation of the Guidelines will accelerate coherent actions across sectors.

Hernando Caraig, Assistant Secretary of Civil Defense Office of the Philippines – the country undertakes the Chair of the ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management (ACDM), said the Guidelines will allow more adaptive and inclusive social protection systems to anticipate and meet the needs of vulnerable groups, and mitigate the impact of potential crises.

For his part, Deputy Head of the EU Mission to ASEAN Lukas Gajdo praised ASEAN member nations for their significant progress in building crucial social protection mechanisms to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He stated that the document is a vivid example of how ASEAN sectors have been coordinating effectively and efficiently to reinforce each other’s comparative advantage to reach those who are most vulnerable.

Protecting the most vulnerable groups requires social protection to go beyond poverty reduction objectives, and the Guidelines will help reach this goal, he stressed./.

ASEAN Post hails Vietnam’s leading role in regional bloc

The ASEAN Post has recently run an article appreciating the role of Vietnam in its capacity as ASEAN Chair 2020 and the nation’s positive contributions to the regional bloc.

Vietnam, as the current Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for 2020, has been actively involved with the association since 1995 when it joined the bloc with the aim of bringing all Southeast Asian countries together to promote regional peace, freedom, and prosperity. 

The country has been making great strides in projecting itself as an effective leader, particularly with its proactive governance in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change policy, and for its political stability. There has been recent speculation regarding Vietnam taking-up the role as new de facto leader of ASEAN, the article said.

Vietnam has achieved the United Nations’ (UN) climate action goal, while Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore have fallen behind, as most European nations have. The UN's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 is climate action. Countries have to reach five targets, including measures for reducing carbon emissions and investment in climate resilience. 

According to the Sustainable Development Report 2020, Vietnam is the only Southeast Asian country that has achieved climate action. The nation is powering ahead of the rest of Southeast Asia as it pushes for greater reliance on renewable energy. 

The McKinsey Insights 2019 report titled, “Exploring an alternative pathway for Vietnam’s energy future”, states that Vietnam has tremendous natural endowments with four to five kilowatt-hours (kWh) per square metre for solar and 3,000 kilometres of coastline with consistent winds in the range of 5.5 to 7.3 metres per second (m/s) for advantaged solar and wind generation.

According to the article, even during these unusually rough times, the Vietnamese economy has been remarkably resilient. Vietnam is nonetheless in a good position to escape the COVID-19 economic trap for three reasons. 

Notably, the government has introduced tax breaks, the delaying of tax payments, and land-use fees for businesses while the investment law in the country has been revised several times, mainly adopting a more profitable approach for investors by reducing administrative bureaucracy and facilitating foreign direct investment (FDI) to Vietnam. 

As a result, FDI worth over US$12 billion was registered between January and April, 2020. Due to investment inflow, which is still on an unprecedented rise, Vietnam is potentially becoming the fastest-growing digital economy in Southeast Asia. Over the last four years, approximately US$1 billion in funding has poured into the nation's e-commerce sector. 

In addition, Vietnam has also adopted a landmark trade deal with the European Union (EU) on 29 June, 2020. Beginning July 2020; the EU has lifted 85% of its tariffs on Vietnamese goods, gradually cutting the rest over the next seven years. 

In return, Vietnam will lift 49%of its import duties on EU exports and phase out the rest over 10 years. In addition, Vietnam recorded a trade surplus of more than US$9.9 billion, the highest compared to the previous four years. As a result, Vietnam economy is expected to grow positively in 2020. 

Vietnam’s economy during the third quarter has showed positive signs, registering a 2.6% growth driven by the agriculture, forestry, and fisheries sectors, which grew 2.93%. The industry and construction sector grew 2.95 % and services grew 2.75%. Overall the country’s growth in 2020 is projected to be in the range of 2.9%.

The article went to say that Vietnam is one of the more politically stable countries in Southeast Asia. The one-party state is ruled by the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), which provides strategic direction and decides on all major policy issues while internal conflicts are strictly controlled. 

The success of Vietnam's COVID-19 strategy – which is centred on its experience with similar virus outbreaks in the past – has rightly attracted the attention of the international community. The ASEAN member state should be commended for its effective pandemic policies, which has resulted in low levels of transmission and fatalities, it said.

In its conclusion, the article said that as Southeast Asia’s rising star, Vietnam could assume an effective dual leadership strategy with traditional ASEAN de facto leader, Indonesia. 

Together, both states can alter the security environment of ASEAN and lead the association in the right direction in terms of all its member states’ individual and collective goals. This dual-leadership could perhaps help ASEAN weather the approaching storms of a post-pandemic world, it noted.

Newly-established Thu Duc City to address flooding issues

The newly-established Thu Duc City in Ho Chi Minh City will assign 10% of its area to build parks with some 630 hectares for reservoirs, which is expected to reduce the flooding problems in the city.

Director of the Ho Chi Minh City's Department of Urban Planning and Architecture, Nguyen Thanh Nha, speaks at the 11th Congress of the HCM City Party Organisation for the 2020-2025 tenure on October 16.

A plan for the new city was shared by director of the Ho Chi Minh City's Department of Urban Planning and Architecture, Nguyen Thanh Nha, at the 11th Congress of the HCM City Party Organisation for the 2020-2025 tenure on October 16.

 


According to Nha, Thu Duc City is expected to become a driving force for the economy of Ho Chi Minh City during the Industry Revolution 4.0 with financial and technological centres including the Hi-tech Park in District 9, the National University-Ho Chi Minh City in Thu Duc District, the Thu Thiem New Urban Area in District 2.

"However, the city is also facing lots of shortcomings in its infrastructure development," the official said. "Traffic jams and flooding are big problems now while some major transport projects including the Metro Line 1 and the BRT Line 1 are seeing slow progress due to difficulties in finance and site clearance." 

Talking about solutions, Nha said that the city will develop a public transport system which can meet 50-60% of demand by 2040.

"Thu Duc will spare 10% of its area to build green parks with some 630 hectares for reservoirs, which is expected to reduce the flooding problems in the city," he said.

Some flooding prevention projects will be carried out in the next five years include Tam Phu - Thu Duc Park, Thu Thiem Reservoir, and Lam Vien Ecological Park. The city is calling for investors to these projects.

Thu Duc City has just been established by merging three districts in the eastern part of Ho Chi Minh City including Districts 2, 9 and Thu Duc. The new city is expected to contribute 30% of Ho Chi Minh City's GDP and 7% of the country's GDP.

First train for Hanoi’s metro line transported to depot

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The first train for the Nhon-Hanoi Station metro line project in Hanoi was transported to a depot at Nhon Station on October 20 - PHOTO: HANOI CITY'S URBAN RAILWAY MANAGEMENT BOARD


The first train for the Nhon-Hanoi Station metro line project in Hanoi was transported to a depot at Nhon Station at 3 a.m. on October 20, said Le Trung Hieu, deputy head of Hanoi City's Urban Railway Management Board.

The train arrived at Nam Hai Dinh Vu Port in Haiphong City two days ago, Hieu was cited by the local media as saying.

The remaining trains for the metro line are being manufactured in France and are expected to be shipped to Hanoi from early next year.

Hanoi City's Urban Railway Management Board will bring the first train to the S1 elevated station for management and allow the local residents to visit it in November.

As planned, the 8.5-kilometer elevated section of the Nhon-Hanoi Station metro line will be put into commercial operation in the second half of next year. The four-kilometer underground section will be put to use at the end of 2022.

The trains for the metro line are among the most modern products of French multinational rolling stock manufacturer Alstom and are equipped with an air conditioner, ventilation, radio broadcast network, a camera, a fire alarm and LED light systems.

Each train, including four cars, can accommodate 944 to over 1,100 passengers and can travel at a maximum speed of 80 kilometers per hour.

HCMC proposes Defense Ministry hand over land for traffic project at airport

The HCMC government has proposed the Ministry of National Defense hand over military land to develop a road connecting Tran Quoc Hoan Street with Cong Hoa Street in Tan Binh District to ease traffic congestion at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

The projected road is set to serve the operation of the third passenger terminal of the airport, or Terminal T3, in line with the plan adjustment for the Tan Son Nhat International Airport until 2020, with a vision toward 2030, helping reduce traffic gridlock in the airport area.

Meanwhile, the Terminal T3 project has been approved for investment by the prime minister. The Airports Corporation of Vietnam is working on the completion of all the construction procedures so the terminal project can be completed in June 2023.

To speed up the construction of the road in sync with the third terminal project, HCMC proposed the Ministry of National Defense work out a conclusion on the boundary of the road project.

Accordingly, the city proposed the ministry hand over some 1,120 square meters of land outside the boundary to the city so that it can ensure the convenient and safe movement of traffic and relocate residents affected by the project, Phap Luat Online reported, citing the HCMC government’s document sent to the ministry on May 26.

The 4.4-kilometer-long road project with six lanes requires a total investment of over VND4.8 trillion.

International University presents 138 scholarships 

The International University under Việt Nam National University-HCM City on Wednesday awarded 138 scholarships worth VNĐ17 billion (US$731,087) to new enrollees with the highest achievements.

The scholarships were presented to the students at the university’s opening ceremony for the new academic year.

The university has enrolled nearly 1,900 new students this academic year, including 220 who have won prizes at national and foreign competitions and high schools for gifted students.

After 17 years of development, the university has become one of the most prestigious public universities in the country with 12 training programmes meeting standards of the ASEAN University Network - Quality Assurance (AUN-QA).

The AUN-QA network is a group of chief quality officers appointed by AUN member universities to co-ordinate activities to achieve the mission of harmonising educational standards and improving the academic quality of universities in the region.

The university has two training programmes accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

The university, which offers instruction in English, has more than 8,800 students and nearly 600 postgraduates.

Deputy PM directs emergency efforts for deluge-hit central region ahead of new typhoon

Rescue forces have been instructed to focus on providing emergency aid to people in the flood-hit central region, especially in the provinces of Quảng Bình and Hà Tĩnh.

Other localities have been ordered to prepare for Typhoon Saudel, which is forecast to make landfall in central provinces on Sunday.

Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng, head of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, outlined the plans at a meeting held yesterday in Hà Nội.

Dũng said local administrations in flood-hit provinces should determine the specific needs for emergency aid in each commune.

Aid must be distributed by local administrations to ensure they reached the right people on time, he said.

In another move, the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting warned yesterday that Typhoon Saudel had entered the East Sea on Wednesday morning. It is the eight typhoon to hit the East Sea this year.

The centre said that at 1pm, the typhoon was about 560km east of the Hoàng Sa (Paracel) Archipelago with wind speeds of up to 75-90km per hour. 

The typhoon was moving west-northwest at 10km per hour and was forecast to gain in strength.

Mai Văn Khiêm, director of the centre, said the typhoon was becoming stronger as it neared Hoàng Sa.

Dũng instructed the Border Guard Command to work with the Directorate of Fisheries and relevant localities to monitor the typhoon and inform offshore vessels of any updates so they could find safe anchorage.

Emergency rescue forces were on standby, he added.

Additionally, relevant agencies needed to plan to evacuate areas at high risk of flash floods and landslides, he said. 

Khiêm said the provinces of Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên-Huế had been put on high alert, while warning of the risks at small hydropower and irrigation reservoirs in the provinces.

Dũng said the localities had been told to check reservoirs to ensure safety for local residents.

Data from the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control showed that 52,598 offshore vessels had been informed about the developments of the typhoon as of 6am yesterday.

The committee’s report said that torrential rains and floods between October 6 and 20 had killed 111 people and left 22 others missing by 7am yesterday in the central region.

The flooding is becoming particularly complicated in the central province of Quảng Bình.

Reports from the province showed that more than 100,000 houses were still under water.

The districts of Quảng Ninh and Lệ Thủy have suffered the most from the floods, with more than 50,000 houses inundated.

Floodwaters have fallen slowly by less than 30 cm between Tuesday night and yesterday morning, and it is likely the situation will last for several days.

Lê Vĩnh Thế, Lệ Thủy District’s Party Committee Secretary, said rescue teams could only reach some areas by boat, causing many difficulties.

The district had mobilised all available rescue forces, he said.

The General Department of State Reserve on Wednesday afternoon announced it would distribute emergency equipment to flood-hit localities in central Việt Nam. Twenty high speed boats, nearly 300 canvas tents, thousands of life vests and eight power generators will be sent to Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị, Thừa Thiên-Thuế, Quảng Nam and Hà Tĩnh provinces before the end of October, the department said. 

One new COVID-19 case from Angola confirmed on Thursday morning

A 29-year-old man returning from Angola is the latest COVID-19 patient in Việt Nam, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 1,145.

The man from central Hà Tĩnh Province returned to Việt Nam on flight VN8 that landed at Vân Đồn Airport in the northern province of Quảng Ninh on October 20.

He was taken to a quarantine centre in Bắc Ninh City, Bắc Ninh Province and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on October 21.

He is being treated at the general hospital of Bắc Ninh Province.

Among 1,145 cases of COVID-19 in Việt Nam, 1,046 patients have been given the all-clear after testing negative for the virus.

Đồng Nai hands over land for Long Thành airport

Đồng Nai Province authorities on Tuesday handed over 2,589 hectares to make way for the first phase of the proposed Long Thành International Airport so that construction of the airport can begin next year. 

Of the amount, 1,810ha is the priority area that Đồng Nai had earlier committed to hand over in October. 

The province is expected to hand over the entire land for the project by the second quarter of next year, according to Cao Tiến Dũng, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.

As of today, Long Thành District People’s Committee had paid VNĐ1.3 trillion (US$56 million) in compensation to 611 affected families who had to move to make way for the airport, he said.

The compensation for more than 200 other households will be paid by the end of October, he added.

Compensation for the remaining 3,200ha will be completed by the end of November.

Dũng said the province would complete the assessment of cleared land for affected households within this year.

“The province is speeding up the construction of infrastructure for resettlement areas so that the residents will receive land and build houses on the resettled areas by the end of this month,” he said.

Deputy Minister of Transport Lê Anh Tuấn spoke highly of the effort made by the province to hand over the land on time as it had committed to the Government. 

“As requested by the Prime Minister, most of the land for the construction of the first phase of the airport has been handed over by Đồng Nai Province within less than two years.”

Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình urged the province to speed up the site clearance process to ensure early commencement of the project.

He also ordered the investor to build a fence surrounding the cleared land to prevent it from being encroached upon.

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has also asked the province to speed up site clearance and compensation as well as disbursement of all VNĐ23 trillion ($992.84 million) for the airport project in accordance with the law.

The PM also set a deadline for assessment of cleared land for compensation purposes by the end of November.

He ordered that the Ministry of Transport closely work with Đồng Nai Province to promptly solve any obstacles to ensure the project remains on schedule.

To build Long Thành airport, the site clearance project must acquire more than 5,000ha of land and more than 364 extra hectares to build two resettlement sites.

Around 4,800 local households and 26 organisations are expected to be relocated to make way for the proposed airport. 

The airport is expected to serve 100 million passengers and five million tonnes of freight each year.

Covering a total area of more than 5,580 hectares, the airport will be located in six communes in Long Thành District in Đồng Nai Province. The airport’s total investment is VNĐ336.63 trillion ($14.47 billion), with construction divided into three phases.

In the first phase, a runway and one passenger terminal along with other supporting works will be built at a cost of VNĐ109.112 trillion ($4.66 billion) to serve 25 million passengers and 1.2 million tonnes of cargo each year. 

More efforts needed to help Mường Nhé people achieve sustainability

Thousands of people in Mường Nhé District in the northern mountainous province of Điện Biên are enjoying better lives after being given homes, farmland and jobs thanks to Government support policies over the past ten years.

However, more still needs to be done to help them eradicate poverty.

Mường Nhé Commune in Mường Nhé District is among the poorest areas in the country. At the resettlement area in Nậm Là 2 Village, there are 41 households H’Mông ethnic households.

In an old wooden house, 44-year-old Vàng A Mai makes wooden tables and chairs to earn a living. His family is among the poor households that migrated from Sơn La Province in 2017.

Now he has been given land to build a house and farmland to cultivate acacia trees, and he works as a carpenter to supplement his income. Life is much better for Mai now, but he still struggles every day.

“My village is more than 200 metres from Expressway 4H, and it becomes isolated in the rainy seasons. There are no bridges, and the soil is low-quality so productivity remains low. I make about VNĐ1 million ($43) per month,” he said.

“Life is still difficult, so I have to try more,” he added.

Lò Thị Quyết, a 34-year-old Thai ethnic woman living in Mường Nhé Commune, said she was always thinking about how to escape poverty. 

A shortage of money, the isolated area, disrupted traffic and outdated farming methods are all holding her back.

“My family has a small field of rice and corn, and a flock of chickens and some pigs in the barn. We earn an average of VNĐ1 million ($43) per month,” she said.

“Sometimes we are hit by disease. My family lost four pigs when African swine flu broke out. We’re still trying our best to make life better,” she said.

Vàng A Mai and Lò Thị Quyết come from two of the poorest households in the district, where up to 62 per cent of people live in poverty. They still face many difficulties, but life is gradually getting better.

The district’s People’s Committee said since the district was established in 2002, many Government’s support projects for ethnic minority areas had been implemented.

The district has focused on building infrastructure. Irrigation plants, clean water supplies, schools, roads and a power grid have been built and put into use.

People's Committee Chairman Vùi Văn Nguyện said the district had focused on providing jobs to create stable incomes for local people. It had created jobs for more than 7,000 people in the past ten years. 

The district has also experimented with crops and animals of higher economic value to adapt to the climate and soil in the district, while forming co-operatives for agricultural production and consumption.

Paying people to protect the forests had also created additional incomes, he said.

Reports from the Central Steering Committee of the National Target Programme for Sustainable Poverty Reduction for 2016-2020 showed that although the socio-economic situation had improved, poverty reduction remained unsustainable in some localities.

The rate of households falling back into poverty from 2016-2019 was 4.09 per cent of the total that had previously managed to escape.

The rate of new poor households and the rich-poor divide was also relatively large.

To improve the situation, a national programme for sustainable poverty reduction and social security from 2021-2025 has been chalked out.

This programme aims to eradicate poverty in all localities, improve the quality of human resources, and create adequate jobs for everyone in an attempt to ensure social security and reduce inequality.

Eight-month-old baby among three new imported COVID-19 cases

Việt Nam on Wednesday detected three new cases of coronavirus infection, including an eight-month-old boy, all foreign entries who were quarantined upon arrival.

The latest cases brought the national case tally to 1,144, while the country has gone seven weeks without local transmission.

Patient No 1,142 is a 46-year-old Vietnamese female worker from Đông Sơn District, the central province of Hà Tĩnh, who returned from Russia on a repatriation flight on October 16.

After arriving in Vân Đồn International Airport in the northern province of Quảng Ninh, she was transported to a military facility in Ninh Bình Province to be quarantined.

Her first test on October 16 returned negative, but the second and third test on October 19-20 were positive.

She is being treated at Cầu Yên clinic, Hoa Lư District in Ninh Bình.

Patients No 1,143 and No 1,144 are a 33-year-old female from Hà Tĩnh Province in central Việt Nam along with her eight-month-old son.

The two arrived in Vân Đồn International Airport from Angola on October 20.

They were sent to central quarantine facility run by the military in Tân Yên District, Bắc Giang Province.

The tests conducted on October 20 showed they had the virus and they are being treated at the Đông Anh Campus of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hà Nội.

Nearly 14,000 people are currently being quarantined across the country.

A total of 1,046 COVID-19 patients have recovered, and the country no longer has any seriously ill patients, according to the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

Among the active patients, 10 have tested negative for the virus once, three have tested negative for two consecutive tests, while another three have tested negative three times.

The COVID-19 death toll remains at 35, all elderly people or patients with acute chronic health issues.

Eight-month-old baby among three new imported COVID-19 cases

Việt Nam on Wednesday detected three new cases of coronavirus infection, including an eight-month-old boy, all foreign entries who were quarantined upon arrival.

The latest cases brought the national case tally to 1,144, while the country has gone seven weeks without local transmission.

Patient No 1,142 is a 46-year-old Vietnamese female worker from Đông Sơn District, the central province of Hà Tĩnh, who returned from Russia on a repatriation flight on October 16.

After arriving in Vân Đồn International Airport in the northern province of Quảng Ninh, she was transported to a military facility in Ninh Bình Province to be quarantined.

Her first test on October 16 returned negative, but the second and third test on October 19-20 were positive.

She is being treated at Cầu Yên clinic, Hoa Lư District in Ninh Bình.

Patients No 1,143 and No 1,144 are a 33-year-old female from Hà Tĩnh Province in central Việt Nam along with her eight-month-old son.

The two arrived in Vân Đồn International Airport from Angola on October 20.

They were sent to central quarantine facility run by the military in Tân Yên District, Bắc Giang Province.

The tests conducted on October 20 showed they had the virus and they are being treated at the Đông Anh Campus of the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hà Nội.

Nearly 14,000 people are currently being quarantined across the country.

A total of 1,046 COVID-19 patients have recovered, and the country no longer has any seriously ill patients, according to the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

Among the active patients, 10 have tested negative for the virus once, three have tested negative for two consecutive tests, while another three have tested negative three times.

The COVID-19 death toll remains at 35, all elderly people or patients with acute chronic health issues.

Aid rushed to flood victims in central region

Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly Tong Thi Phong on October 21 visited and presented relief aid to residents affected by torrential rains and floods in Huong So ward, Hue city, the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.

She lauded the province’s natural disaster response efforts, especially rescue operations at the deadly landslide at the Rao Trang 3 hydropower plant.

The legislator asked Thua Thien-Hue to continue supporting families of the deceased and missing, and those who have been rendered homeless by the natural disasters.

On this occasion, Phong presented 20 relief packages valued at 25 million VND (1,070 USD) to poor households in a local resettlement area. The NA Office also provided 50 million VND for the affected residents.

Aid rushed to flood victims in central region hinh anh 2
Quang Binh province is one of the worst affected localities. (Photo: VNA)

The same day, a delegation of the Vietnam Red Cross Society (VRCS) Central Committee led by Vice Chairman and General Secretary Nguyen Hai Anh visited flood victims in Le Thuy and Quang Ninh districts that have been hardest hit by the natural disasters in central Quang Binh province.

The flooding has claimed nine lives and injured 29 others, and submerged 109,000 houses in Quang Binh, statistics show.

The relief it handed to the victims includes dried food and drinking water, and cash worth a total of nearly 1.5 billion VND (nearly 65,000 USD).

Anh said the VRCS has mobilised the support of donors, domestic and international organisations, and partners for residents in flood-hit areas, especially Quang Binh province – one of the worst affected localities.

According to a report from the Office of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, as of 7am on October 21, flooding that began on October 6 had killed 111 people and left 22 missing nationwide. Some 371 ha of rice paddies have been submerged, 7,126 ha of crops damaged, and over 700,000 heads of cattle and poultry killed or swept away./.

More citizens flown home from Europe, America, Africa

Close to 340 Vietnamese citizens were flown home from more than 30 countries across Europe, America and Africa on October 20-21 as part of joint efforts by relevant Vietnamese agencies and local authorities.

Passengers on the repatriation flight, operated by national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, included children under 18, the elderly, the ill, workers whose visas and contracts had expired, students without accommodations, and others in difficult circumstances.

Vietnamese missions in the foreign countries had coordinated with local authorities to facilitate these expats’ travel to a Paris airport before they undertook all pre-departure procedures and boarded the flight home from there with the help of staff from the Embassy of Vietnam in France.

In-flight safety and preventive measures against the COVID-19 were rigorously enforced to protect passengers’ health and prevent the spread of diseases.

All passengers and crew members received medical checkups and sent to quarantine in line with regulations upon arrival at Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

The repatriation of Vietnamese citizens in disadvantaged circumstances abroad will continue to be conducted in line with citizens’ wishes, the development of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine capacity in the country./.

Deputy PM attends 22nd Congress of Da Nang Party Organisation

Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh, who is also a Politburo member, attended the opening of the 22nd Congress of the Da Nang municipal Party Organisation for the 2020-2025 tenure on October 21, with 349 delegates taking part.

Addressing the ceremony, the official asked Da Nang to be more drastic in its Party building efforts during the next tenure, considering this a crucial issue during the development process.

The city is required to streamline personnel work, step up administrative reform, perfect the smart city and digital administration models, and strengthen the close bonds between the Party and the people.

It was also assigned to improve personnel quality, take concerted measures to overcome the COVID-19 impact, and step up investment, especially in strategic and high-tech areas, towards building a city worth living in that will serve as a nucleus for the development of the central region.

He added that the Congress must elect moral and talented officials to the municipal Party Committee, contributing to fulfilling the Resolution adopted at the Congress.

During the 2015-2020 tenure, the city focused on three socio-economic strategic breakthroughs and took drastic actions to protect the environment, respond to climate change, and prevent natural disasters.

It remained among the five leading localities in the provincial competitiveness index, topped the country in the information and communications technology (ICT) index for 11 consecutive years, and is one of the best-performing localities in terms of administrative reform.

This year, the city fulfilled the twin goals of fighting the pandemic and restoring socio-economic development.

Its gross regional domestic product (GRDP) grew by around 7.5 percent annually during the 2016-2019 period, or a 1.5-fold increase against 2015.

A number of international-scale events were held in the city, most notably the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, the International Fireworks Festival, and the Smart City Summit, among others.

The rate of local poor households is expected to fall to 2.04 percent later this year and has declined 1.13 percent each year on average.

During the 2020-2025 tenure, the city will continue with building a strong and transparent Party, improving the leadership of the Party Organisation, building a transparent and service-oriented administration, and upholding democracy and the role of the provincial Fatherland Front chapter and socio-political organisations.

It will also effectively conduct economic restructuring and renew the growth model, enhance growth quality and economic competitiveness on the back of science and technology as well as innovation amid Industry 4.0, and build harmonious infrastructure in line with the city’s master plan to 2030 and vision to 2045.

The Congress is scheduled to last until October 22, with the election of officials to the municipal Party Committee, its Secretary and Vice Secretary, and the Inspection Commission and its head./.

Vietnam, Japan reach short-term travel agreement

The Foreign Ministry has issued a press communiqué on the agreement on short-term travel between Vietnam and Japan.

Also known as the priority travelling mechanism for Japanese entrants to Vietnam for less than 14 days and for Vietnamese businesspeople travelling to Japan, the agreement will be applicable from November 1.

Priority cases will be exempted from quarantine to make it easier for them to conduct investment, trade, and diplomatic and consular activities.

They will be tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, prior to departure and upon arrival, provide their itinerary in advance, and only travel to work-related locations.

Vietnamese and Japanese authorities will issue specific guidelines on the subjects, conditions, principles, and steps covered by the mechanism.

Localities asked to brace for upcoming storms, support flood-hit people

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung on October 21 asked localities to focus on supporting flood-hit people in the central and north-central regions, especially Quang Binh and Ha Tinh provinces, and on designing plans to prepare for and respond to upcoming storms so as to ensure life and property.

At a conference in Hanoi on responding to storms and flooding in the central region, the Deputy PM noted that imminent Typhoon Saudel, the eighth to have formed in the East Sea this year, is forecast to have a devastating impact on the region.

The official, who is also head of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, has asked the Border Guard High Command to coordinate with the Directorate of Fisheries and localities to keep a close eye on the development of the storm to keep vessels at sea informed.

Localities forecast to be hit should prepare suitable response plans, focusing on evacuating people from risky areas, he requested.

He asked that special attention be given to the safety of dams and reservoirs as well as traffic safety and order, along with measures to protect agricultural production and tourism activities and prevent environmental pollution and the spread of COVID-19.

The Deputy PM assigned the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to provide each flood-hit locality with five tonnes of sausage. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment should direct the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting to provide updated information on the storm’s developments as well as timely alerts. At the same time, the Ministry of Information and Communications should update the public on the storm’s movement via text message, while media agencies should regularly provide the public with guidelines on disaster prevention and mitigation. Working groups will be formed and sent to hard-hit areas.

The Director of the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, Mai Van Khiem, said Storm Saudel formed in the East Sea on the night of October 20. It is heading towards central localities and is likely to be at its worst from the night of October 24 to October 25.

According to a report from the Office of the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, as of 7 am on October 21, flooding that began on October 6 had killed 111 people and left 22 missing. Some 371 ha of rice paddies have been submerged, 7,126 ha of crops damaged, and over 700,000 heads of cattle and poultry killed or swept away./.

Source: VNS/VNA/VOV/SGT/ND/Dtinews/VGP