Former Prime Minister Phan Van Khai passed away on March 17 in his home in Cu Chi district, Ho Chi Minh City. Many international friends have fond memories of one of the first Vietnamese leaders who was active and determined to expand external relations and boost international integration.

Over the past few days, representatives from diplomatic agencies and international organisations have paid tribute and commemorated the late leader.

His death has left compatriots, comrades, people nationwide, Vietnamese overseas and international friends in mourning.

“Phan Van Khai is our comrade, a great brother of the Cuban Party, Government and people. His contribution to relations between Vietnam and Cuba was immense. It’s a huge loss not only for Vietnamese but also for Cuban people,” said Indira Lopez Arguelles, Consul General of Cuba in Ho Chi Minh City.

Im Hen, Consul General of Cambodia in Ho Chi Minh City, also lent his deepest condolences at PM Phan Van Khai passing, saying: “Former Prime Minister Phan Van Khai left a great imprint during his leadership tenure. Vietnam’s socio-economy developed significantly and Vietnam-Cambodia friendship and cooperation were strengthened under his leadership.”

Many international experts have acknowledged his legacy in socio-economics, politics and diplomacy. The former Prime Minister deserves credit for boosting Vietnam’s international integration.

The leader and his colleagues mapped out an international integration after Vietnam normalized relations with the US and joined ASEAN. Vietnam and the US concluded a Bilateral Free Trade Agreement, a historic landmark in normalizing relations. Under his leadership, Vietnam concluded negotiations to join the World Trade Organization in 2006, officially joining the global economy and giving new status to Vietnam’s economy.

"Mister Phan was a very close friend of Singapore and its leaders and our leaders enjoyed very good personal relations with him," said Leow Siu Lin, Consul General of Singapore in Ho Chi Minh City. 

Former Prime Minister Phan Van Khai was one of the leaders who laid the foundation for Vietnam’s international integration. Many diplomats have said that foreign relations and international cooperation should be preserved and promoted by Vietnam and other countries.

Vincent Floreani, Consul General of France in Ho Chi Minh City, said that he treasured the efforts of the late PM in heightening and tightening the Vietnam-France relations.

To many international friends, the late leader was an economist with a wide and deep knowledge, a confident and proactive leader in foreign relations matters.

History has also acknowledged his contribution to the integration and economic development strategy of Vietnam during the 1990s.-VNA