Vietnamese Ambassador to Sweden Doan Thi Phuong Dung (second, left) and Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström (second, right) at the ceremony (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Vietnamese Embassy in Sweden has organised a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Sweden in Stockholm capital city.

Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström, First Deputy Speaker of the Riksdag (Parliament) Åsa Lindestam and Second Deputy Speaker of the Riksdag Lotta Johnsson Fornarve were among the guests at the January 15 event.

Addressing the ceremony, Vietnamese Ambassador Doan Thi Phuong Dung spoke highly of the traditional solidarity and friendship between the two countries over the past five decades.

She used the occasion to thank the Swish Government and people for their valuable sentiments and support towards Vietnam during the past struggle for national independence as well as the present cause of national development.

Sweden was the first Western European nation to recognise and establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam, she said.

The diplomat highlighted Sweden’s non-refundable aid of 3.4 billion USD to Vietnam over the past 50 years through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, which, she said, has significantly contributed to the country’s socio-economic development as well as its reform and international integration efforts.

In 2018, two-way trade exceeded 1.4 billion USD, she said, adding that Sweden ranked 34th out of 130 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

The number of about 50,000 Swedish tourists to Vietnam last year has signaled great potential for stronger collaboration between the two countries, Dung noted.

The ambassador expressed her hope that the bilateral relationship will continue to be consolidated and strengthened, for the sake of their people, and for peace, cooperation and development in the world at large, especially in the context of the bilateral relationship changing from development cooperation into the period of equal and mutually beneficial partnership, focusing on affiliation in trade-investment, education-training, health care, science-technology and tourism.

The embassy will carry out various activities to mark the 50th anniversary in 2019, including a film week and a photo exhibition, aiming to promote the land and culture of Vietnam as well as trade and investment links between the two countries, according to the diplomat.

In her remarks, Margot Wallström noted with pleasure socio-economic achievements Vietnam has recorded and affirmed that the Swedish Government always attaches importance to the fruitful relationship with Vietnam.

Sweden is Vietnam’s trust-worthy partner and will continue to accompany the country in the time ahead, she said, voicing her hope for stronger friendship and mutual understanding between people of the two countries and expanded multi-faceted collaboration.

Echoing Dung’s views, the minister said Vietnam and Sweden hold substantial potential for cooperation.

About 50 Swedish companies are operating in Vietnam, including multi-national groups like Ericsson, Tetra Pak, Ikea and Electrolux, she said, stressing that urban transport, health care, technology and education are the areas that Sweden has strength and Vietnam has demand for cooperation.

The minister said she hopes that the Vietnamese Government will create more favourable conditions for Swedish firms in the country, thus enhancing the bilateral economic ties.-VNA