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Viet Nam – Netherlands relationship a model for bilateral relations

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Diplomat Magazine
Diplomat Magazine
DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands. Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. "Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions." Dr. Mayelinne De Lara, Publisher

Interview with H.E. Mr. Pham Viet Anh, Vietnamese Ambassador to the Netherlands in occasion of the 50th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the Kingdom of the Netherlands


Dioplomate Magazine: Your Excellency, how do you evaluate the relationship between Viet Nam and the Netherlands over the past 50 years?

Ambassador Phạm Viêt Anh: April 9th this year marks the 50-year anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Viet Nam and the Netherlands. A half century has passed with important milestones and achievements. We, the Vietnamese, always see the Viet Nam – Netherlands relationship as a model for bilateral relations because of its openness, effectiveness, and sincerity. The fruitful achievements in various fields of bilateral cooperation have been reflected in numbers and statistics; therefore, I would like to share some thoughts on the path that the two countries have been taking together for the last 50 years.  

First of all, the Viet Nam – Netherlands relationship has transitioned to a new important stage, from “giving and receiving” relationship to an equal and win-win one. In the past, when Viet Nam is struggling with wars and their aftermaths, the Netherlands kindly lent us a helping hand. When Viet Nam rose to a developing country and enhanced international integration, the bilateral relationship entered a new phase of equal cooperation and mutual benefits. 

Second, the Viet Nam – Netherlands relations have always been developing and making new progresses. The two sides have great opportunities to cooperate, especially stemming from the similarities of dealing with climate change and natural challenges; hence become strategic partners in such fields as climate change adaptation, water management, sustainable agriculture and food security. Since April 2019, when the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte paid an official visit to Viet Nam, the two countries upgraded their relations to a “comprehensive partnership”.

Third, the cooperation between two countries are not just enclosed in bilateral frameworks, but also expanded to meet the needs of tackling global challenges and mutual concerns of the international community. In late 2022, on the occasion of Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s official visit to the Netherlands, the two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fields of climate change adaptation, sustainable development and energy transition to contribute to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals.

I think working closely with the Netherlands enables Viet Nam to exchange and benefit from dutch knowledge, experience and expertise, especially in finding smart and innovative solutions. For example, in his recent official visit to the Netherlands, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh was impressed by the Dutch infrastructure network model, such as Airport Schiphol, Seaport Rotterdam, Brainport Eindhoven, Greenport World Horti Center. And our Prime Minister was determined to develop a brainport in Viet Nam.

From my viewpoint, it is the changes in our mindsets that make the real impact on the way we think and do, and gradually bring about positive developments of the economy and society.

Dioplomate Magazine: Can you share your thoughts about the prospect of cooperation between the two countries in the coming time?

Ambassador Phạm Viêt Anh: The Viet Nam – Netherlands relations has a strong foundation from not only 50 years of diplomatic ties, but also from the long trade relations originated 400 years ago. Years ago, the Dutch East India Company traveled to Viet Nam for the attractiveness of Vietnamese culture and products as well as those of Southeast Asia region. Today, the needs to cooperate is still a great driving force to strengthen the relations between the two countries.

While Viet Nam – Netherlands relationship was upgraded to comprehensive partnership, there is still room for strengthening and deepening the bilateral cooperation. Both Viet Nam and the Netherlands face common challenges in various fields, such as the impact of climate change, the accessibility of healthcare, the shift to a circular economy and an increasing pressure on food production systems. Besides, the implementation of SDGs, energy transformation, the planning and development of logistics systems, high technology adaptations in agriculture, high quality human resources training, etc. are among the high potential fields in which the two countries can enhance cooperation in the years to come.

Dioplomate Magazine: According to the Ambassador, what should Viet Nam and the Netherlands do to keep the momentum going?

Ambassador Phạm Viêt Anh: In my opinion, first and foremost, it is the mutual trust that lays a sustained foundation for bilateral relations to bloom. Only with trust can we be sincerely and wholeheartedly devoted to substantive and effective cooperation. The Netherlands and Viet Nam should increase exchanges and consultation at all levels to enhance mutual understanding and trust to promote fruitful and healthy growth of bilateral relations.

On the other hand, in order to enhance trust, the two countries must strengthen their relations. Cooperation between the localities, businesses, social organizations and research institutions will help create concrete results, effectively contributing to the development of each country. It will serve as the basis for boosting mutual trust, realizing mutual interests toward an equal and win-win relationship. Effective cooperation and trust have a dialectical and mutually reinforcing relationship.

Dioplomate Magazine: Thank you very much,Your Excellency.

The Hague, 9/4/2023

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