Vietnam strengthens ties with Italy, Vatican

10:38 22/11/2016
President Tran Dai Quang has begun a state visit to Italy and the Vatican.

The visits which will last until November 25 are of great importance to the Vietnam-Italy strategic partnership and laying a foundation for diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the Vatican.

With its diverse, advanced industries, Italy’s economy ranks 9th in the world. In addition to traditional partners, Italy is promoting cooperation and trade exchanges with Asia’s emerging economies including China, India, and ASEAN.

President Tran Dai Quang.

Vietnam-Italy strategic partnership

Vietnam and Italy officially established diplomatic ties on March 23, 1973. Italy was the first Western European nation to back closer of cooperation between Vietnam and the EU at major international forums, as well as the normalization of relations between Vietnam and international financial, trade and monetary organisations in the 1990s. 

Italy’s senior leaders have affirmed their resolve to step up multi-faceted collaboration with Vietnam, regarding Vietnam as a priority development partner in Southeast Asia and a destination for Italian businesses until 2020.

Established in 2013 during Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit to Italy, the Vietnam-Italy strategic partnership has been strengthened across many fields. 

The two countries have increased the exchange of high-ranking visits. Two-way trade has increased steadily over the years reaching US$4.3 billion in 2015. 

Italy ranks 31 out of 112 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 77 projects valued at US$360 million, mostly in processing, manufacturing, leather and footwear, construction, lavatory equipment and steel processing.

The Italian Government has listed Vietnam as one of ten newly-emerging markets to prioritise trade and investment ties with.

Bilateral collaboration in education has also reaped successes. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives annual scholarships to Vietnamese and has opened Italian language classes in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. 

The Italian government collaborated with UNESCO to help Vietnam restore the My Son relic site at a cost of US$435,000. The two countries have organized several cultural exchanges to increase mutual understanding between their two peoples.

Dialogue as foundation for Vietnam-Vatican ties

During his visit to Italy, President Tran Dai Quang will also visit the Vatican.

The visit shows Vietnam’s respect for its ties with the Vatican and that Vietnam will continue its dialogue with the Vatican on the basis of mutual respect and non-intervention into each other’s internal affairs. 

Vietnam wants the Vatican to encourage the Catholic community in Vietnam to support national development and serve as a foundation for bilateral ties.

The two sides have maintained a dialogue to increase mutual understanding and reach consensus, particularly in nominating candidates to be Vietnam’s Archbishop, establishing new dioceses, organizing fact-finding trips for Catholic dignitaries, and inviting foreign Catholic dignitaries to Vietnam.

On the basis of already fruitful relationship, President Tran Dai Quang’s visits will the next step in enhancing Vietnam’s ties with Italy and the Vatican.