Dutch Prime Minister's visit to Vietnam: A piece for a complete circle
“The Netherlands is an European friend of Vietnam”, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Ruttee always affirmed that viewpoint many times. He certainly brought that spirit to Vietnam on his third visit as Prime Minister to jointly write a beautiful “conclusion” for the 50-year journey of two “friends” far apart from two continents.
Vietnamese Ambassador to the Netherlands Ngo Huong Nam said that this visit is like the "remaining piece" that completes the “circle” – a “happy ending” for the milestone of half a century of diplomatic relations, a continuation of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s successful visit to the Netherlands at the end of December last year.
|Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh hosted an official welcome ceremony for Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on November 2, 2023. (Photo: WVR/Nguyen Hong)
Looking back, although bilateral diplomatic relations were established in 1973, long before that, around the early 17th century, Dutch merchants came to Vietnam to buy spices, rice, silk, and porcelain. During Vietnam’s resistance war against the U.S imperialists, many Dutch people took to the streets to protest the war and established the Netherlands-Vietnam Health Committee to provide Vietnam with humanitarian aid.
Since the 90s of the 20th century, the two countries’ relationship has been strengthened. The Netherlands considers Vietnam as a prioritised partner and its policy of promoting cooperation with Vietnam has received high support and consensus from the Dutch political and business community.
During half a century of cultivation and development, the two countries’ relationship is considered a typical model of “the dynamic and effective relationship”.
That is demonstrated through bustling high-level delegation exchanges over the years. Each visit cherishes “golden eggs”, which are bilateral cooperation mechanisms adopted by the two countries. The two countries have signed important agreements and collaboration deals, creating a legal basis to promote bilateral relations in many fields.
The two countries have always expressed their strong determination to promote comprehensive cooperation and expand cooperation in potential fields, not only in economics, trade, development cooperation but also in promising areas, including climate change response, agriculture, renewable energy and circular economy to aim for sustainable development and jointly address global challenges.
With those important foundations, Ambassador Ngo Huong Nam said that the two countries are facing a “fortuitous epoch" to develop relations to a higher level. The cooperation is moving to a new, stronger, and more developed stage. In 2024, the two countries will celebrate 5 years of Comprehensive Partnership and 10 years of Strategic Partnership on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security. Next, in 2025, the two countries will celebrate the 15th anniversary of Strategic Partnership on Climate Change Adaptation and Water Management. These celebrations show the depth of the two countries’ relationship and the fulcrum of confidence that the two countries can go further with new milestones.
|Vietnam and the Netherlands will celebrate 5 years of Comprehensive Partnership and 10 years of Strategic Partnership on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in 2024. (Photo: WVR/Nguyen Hong)
Explore “new lands” confidently
Accompanying the Dutch on his visit to Vietnam is a delegation of high-tech businesses. According to Ambassador Ngo Huong Nam, this is the difference compared to previous high-level visits from the Netherlands, which brought business delegations in traditional cooperation areas, including agriculture, climate change, and water management. For the first time, the Dutch business delegation only included high-tech fields, specifically electronic chips, to explore the Vietnamese market.
Currently, Vietnam is waiting for a new wave of investment in the field of electronic semiconductor from the U.S, the Netherlands, and other countries in the world. The Netherlands’ efforts show a new turning point in cooperation between the two countries, demonstrating the interest of Dutch electronic semiconductor businesses in the Vietnamese market. Ambassador Ngo Huong Nam said that when moving towards cooperation in the field of microchips, the two countries have trusted in each other at a higher level, proving that the mutual trust reached a new level.
During his visit to the Netherlands last year, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh arrived to the Brainport Industries Campus (BIC), Eindhoven city, where leading Dutch technology enterprises gather together, along with a request for Dutch support to build a Brainport in Hanoi following the Brainport model in Eindhoven and other technology cooperation proposals.
Why were the two countries able to catch up quickly with such a firm belief in exploring “new lands” in cooperation? Perhaps, the two countries have done well, creating mutual trust in any cooperation area over the past time, especially within the framework of the Strategic Partnership on Climate Change Adaptation and Water Management along with projects that bring “miracle” to the Mekong Delta or within the framework of the Strategic Partnership on Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture with many medium and long-term oriented cooperation projects.
The connecting bridge
In addition to bilateral messages, the Dutch Prime Minister’s visit to Vietnam also carries important multilateral expectations.
According to Ambassador Ngo Huong Nam, the Netherlands is a pioneer in Europe in planning the Indo-Pacific strategy with France and Germany. Recently, within the framework of the 42nd ASEAN Summit (Indonesia), the Netherlands was officially recognized as a development partner of ASEAN, reflecting the Netherlands’ deep participation in cooperation with ASEAN members, including Vietnam. On this occasion, the Netherlands simultaneously conducted high-level visits to ASEAN countries.
|Dutch PM Mark Rutte attends conference on international law, order at sea in Hanoi: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks at the event. (Photo: VNA)
Consequently, the Netherlands always wishes that Vietnam can serve as a bridge so that this European country can cooperate more strongly with ASEAN countries, closely connecting with the region.
Recently, on multilateral and regional international forums, especially within the framework of the United Nations, ASEM, ASEAN – EU, the two countries have given each other positive support and cooperation. The two countries have supported each other’s candidacies for United Nations agencies, such as: the Security Council, Human Rights Council, and Economic and Social Council.
The Netherlands also supports Vietnam in promoting relations with the EU, sharing its stance on using international law to resolve disputes in the East Sea. In contrast, Vietnam helps the Netherlands strengthen relations and access the ASEAN market more easily.
With so many attractions, during this visit to Vietnam, the distinguished guest from the Land of Tulips definitely brought special “gifts”, highlighting the final strokes for a complete “circle” of half a decade and opening a turning point for the brilliant journey ahead!