Belarus PM’s visit to Vietnam: To restore active dynamics and high-level contacts after pandemic

WVR - Belarusian Ambassador to Vietnam Uladzimir Baravikou granted an interview to The World and Vietnam Report on the eve of the official visit of Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko to Vietnam (November 6-9).
Thủ tướng Phạm Minh Chính tiếp Đại sứ Cộng hòa Belarus tại Việt Nam Uladzimir Baravikou ngày 14/11. (Nguồn: VGP)
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh received Belarusian Ambassador to Vietnam Uladzimir Baravikou on November 14, 2023. (Photo: VGP)

Could you please, in brief, introduce about the country and the people of Belarus?

The Republic of Belarus is a unitary democratic social legal state with a thousand-year tradition of statehood, high culture and developed economy. Belarus is located in the very center of Europe and attracts businessmen and investors with its internal security, political stability, developed infrastructure and high level of education. With a population of over 9.2 million people, Belarus has highly developed industry, energy, transport, agriculture, and science. A nuclear power plant operates in Belarus.

Belarusians are a friendly and well-wishing people, known for their peacefulness and patience largely determined by the history marred by numerous wars.

Belarus is a country with picturesque nature that pays great attention to environmental protection in order to preserve it for future generations. The Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park in Belarus is the largest and oldest forest in Europe, where the biggest European animal bison lives. Belarus is famous for its forests and lakes. Not by chance it is called the “lungs of Europe”.

Belarus is a country of startups. Did you know that the famous World of Tanks games, the Viber mobile messenger, the Msqrd application, and many others were created by Belarusians? The Belarusian High Technology Park is sometimes called the “Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe”.

The modern cultural life of Belarus is dynamic and diverse. There are about 5.6 thousand government organizations: clubs, public libraries, museums, theaters, concert organizations. National and international festivals are regularly held throughout the country. The most famous of them is the Slavic Bazaar in Vitebsk.

Historical and cultural attractions and a wide range of quality services appeal to many tourists.

Belarus always welcomes guests, and is interested in deepening their knowledge of Belarusian culture and traditions.

What’s your assessment on the bilateral relations between Belarus and Vietnam during the past years and the prospects for the cooperation between the two countries in the coming time? What in your opinion are potentials for the economic cooperation between the two countries?

The relations between Belarus and Vietnam are characterized by positive dynamics. We see our primary task in transferring them to the level of strategic partnership, which involves converting the high level of interaction in the political sphere into deepening and building up the trade and economic relations.

BelAZ heavy-duty mining dump trucks, MAZ trucks, and Belarus tractors have been known in Vietnam for many decades. By the way, there is a MAZ representative office and the MAZ-Asia joint venture operating in Vietnam. A joint venture for production of dairy products is being created.

We see a great potential in expanding the supply of agricultural products to Vietnam. The work on certification of Belarusian meat is underway. Vietnam is interested in purchasing Belarusian confectionery and alcoholic beverages.

In turn, Belarusian consumers are well acquainted with such traditional Vietnamese goods as seafood, tea, coffee. Recently, Vietnamese microchips and electronic equipment under the brand “Made in Vietnam” have become widely known.

However, as the main achievement, I would note the preservation of sincere friendship and a serious degree of mutual trust between the people of Belarus and Vietnam.

Prime Minister of Belarus will pay an official visit to Vietnam from November 6-9. Could you please tell our readers the significance of the visit?

The current official visit of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus to Vietnam is of particular significance. This is the first visit of a Belarusian official of this level to your country after the pandemic. It is vital to restore active dynamics and a high level of political contacts between our countries, and to do this quite quickly, since the whole world is rapidly trying to make up for the lost time. It is important for us not to fall behind and not to miss our opportunities.

I am confident that the visit of the Prime Minister of Belarus to Vietnam will open a new page in the bilateral relations. As practice shows, visits of this level are an incentive to intensify cooperation on a wide range of issues, primarily in the field of trade and investment.

Among the practical results of the visit, we expect the achievement of agreements on the most important issues of the bilateral agenda, the removal of problematic issues, and the identification of specific promising directions for further movement forward. The bilateral documents signed during the visit will become the basis for expanding contacts and interaction at the interstate, governmental and interdepartmental level.

Đại sứ Belarus tại Việt Nam. (Nguồn: Đại sứ quán Belarus tại Hà Nội)
Belarusian Ambassador to Vietnam Uladzimir Baravikou. (Photo: Belarusian Embassy in Vietnam)

Undoubtedly, the visit will further strengthen trust and mutual understanding between our countries. This point is especially important in the current global turbulence and reformatting of the world, when each state needs to clearly define its role and place in the global system of coordinate, strengthen ties with time-tested and find new partners and allies, provide opportunities for national development to maintain security and sovereignty and independence.

2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Belarusian Embassy in Vietnam. Could you please tell оur readers about the development and activities of the Embassy since its establishment? How has it contributed to promoting the bilateral ties between Belarus and Vietnam?

This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. In December 1997, the Trade Mission of the Republic of Belarus in Vietnam was transformed into an Embassy.

The decision to open an Embassy in Hanoi was made following the first official visit of the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko to Vietnam in April 1997.

The opening of the Embassy was a landmark event, which undoubtedly contributed to intensification and advancement of the bilateral relations to a new qualitative level, including political contacts, trade and economic cooperation, interaction in other areas, and interregional ties.

Since the opening of the Embassy, there have been two more official visits by the Head of the Belarusian State to Vietnam in 2008 and 2015, visits of the Prime Ministers of Belarus in 2004 and 2011, and a visit of the Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus in 2018.

In turn, Belarus was visited by the Presidents of Vietnam in 1998, 2010 and 2017, the Prime Ministers of Vietnam in 2000 and 2013, and the Chairmen of the National Assembly of Vietnam in 2009 and 2019. The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Comrade Nguyen Phu Trong visited Belarus in April 2009 as the Chairman of the National Assembly and in November 2014 as the General Secretary.

Cooperation between the ministries and departments of the two countries in security, science, culture, and education has been actively developing, which is clearly demonstrated by dozens of visits and joint events that took place during this period. Many good and promising contacts have developed between the regions of the two countries. Interparliamentary ties were strengthened, and parliamentary friendship groups were formed in the parliaments of the two countries. Hundreds of Vietnamese students have studied at Belarusian universities.

Since the end of the coronavirus pandemic, the interdepartmental cooperation has intensified significantly. In addition to two dozen visits by the law enforcement agencies of the two countries, which took place in 2022-2023, this year the Days of Culture and Days of Education of Belarus were held in Vietnam, new cooperation agreements were signed.

In general, the legal framework for relations between our countries includes more than 90 interstate, intergovernmental and interdepartmental agreements. Several more documents are in the process of preparation that can be signed during the official visit of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus Roman Golovchenko to Vietnam.

We see the mutual interest of Belarusian and Vietnamese partners at various levels in maintaining and strengthening the mutually beneficial bilateral relations.

Could you please share with our readers your personal experience while living and working in Vietnam?

Vietnam is a wonderful country. The beauty of nature and architectural monuments are impressive and remain in the memory for a long time. The Ha Long Bay and the Trang An landscape complex are generally recognized as natural phenomena. Resorts in Vietnam attract people with their warm sea and beautiful beaches, high level of service and affordable prices. Vietnamese massage masters can give a head start to specialists from many countries of the world.

Of course, there are also objective difficulties of living in Vietnam related to the unusual climate for us, the rhythm of traffic in Hanoi, and the lack of knowledge of the Vietnamese language.

However, despite these difficulties, like other Belarusian diplomats, I feel very comfortable working in Vietnam. We are treated here with respect and kindness. We understand each other, even speaking different languages.

And it is no coincidence. After all, since the times of the Soviet Union, friendly and trusting relations have developed between our countries and peoples.

We are united by the fact that more than once in our history the territories of our countries have become the scene of wars, which have brought a lot of grief and suffering to our peoples. The hard trials have tempered us, made stronger and closer to each other.

Belarus made a significant contribution to the victory of the Vietnamese people in the struggle for the right to life without external orders, and to the formation and development of a sovereign, independent, strong and prosperous Vietnamese state.

As I have already seen, the Vietnamese are a wise, hardworking and sincere people. This is what we have in common. We are open, hardworking and hospitable. We are very impressed by your friendliness, cordiality and optimism. This may be due to a lot of sunny days a year. Or, maybe, there was grief, tragedy and suffering in the history of Vietnam that the current generation, especially young people, compensate for all this with positive emotions, readiness and openness to new contacts and promising projects, also with Belarusians.

Finding and establishing such contacts and projects is one of the most important tasks of the Belarusian Embassy in Hanoi. We will continue to make every effort to preserve, develop and strengthen friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding between Belarus and Vietnam.

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