Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Cao Chinh Thien (L) and Deputy Director General for Global Issues of the Italian Foreign Ministry Ugo Astuto at the celebration of the countries' diplomatic ties on March 30 (Photo: VNA)

Rome (VNA) – The 45th founding anniversary of the Vietnam-Italy diplomatic ties (March 23, 1973) was marked with a ceremony held by the Vietnamese Embassy in Italy on March 30.

Addressing Italian officials and representatives of the Vietnamese community, Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Cao Chinh Thien emphasised that bilateral diplomatic ties were set up when Vietnam had not been completely reunified. 

In the trying times, Italy stood side by side with Vietnam. The image of the ship Australe carrying goods that the Italian people presented to the Vietnamese people during wartime became a symbol of the solidarity and friendship between the two countries.

Vietnam-Italy ties are now in their prime. Notably, since a strategic partnership was founded in 2013, they have attained a number of important achievements in politics, economy, culture, society and people-to-people exchange, he added.

The ambassador noted that over the past years, the two countries have actively organised mutual high-level visits to intensify bilateral links and mutual understanding. In 2014 and 2015, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and President Sergio Mattarella of Italy visited Vietnam. They affirmed the determination to enhance multifaceted cooperation and that their country considers Vietnam as a priority to develop its relations with and also as a destination for Italian businesses in Southeast Asia.

[Ambassador: Vietnam – Italy ties at the best]

Vietnam has shown its respect for the relationship with Italy through the official visits by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong in 2013, then National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung in 2014, then President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan in 2015, and President Tran Dai Quang in 2016.

Thien said bilateral trade has grown strongly, approximating 5 billion USD annually over the last five years. The figure is targeted at 6 billion USD in 2017 and 2018. 

While cultural, tourism, scientific and educational relations have been expanded, locality-to-locality cooperation has also been promoted. With the wholehearted support of Italian people, the Vietnamese community in the country has also actively maintained and popularised Vietnam’s culture.

He added that Italy is an important European partner of Vietnam, and the Southeast Asian nation always wants to bolster the strategic partnership in all fields in a result-oriented manner. It is important to renew bilateral relations to elevate their ties and fully tap each country’s potential.

For his part, Deputy Director General for Global Issues of the Italian Foreign Ministry Ugo Astuto highlighted the countries’ traditional amity, valuing the accomplishments that they have obtained over the last 45 years.

There remains huge potential for both sides to develop cooperation in all spheres, he said, expressing his belief that bilateral relations will continue to flourish in the time ahead.-VNA