France has conferred the second-class Legion of Honour Order on former Vietnamese Ambassador to France Trinh Ngoc Thai for his significant contributions to raising mutual understanding between the two countries.

The French Ambassador to Vietnam, Jean-Noel Poirier, presented the order to the veteran diplomat at a ceremony in Hanoi on June 20.

Thai, 83, used to be a member of Vietnam’s delegation to the Paris Conference.

Between 1992 and 1996, Thai worked hard to strengthen bilateral ties with France in his capacity as Vietnamese Ambassador. The highlight of his time in the position was the official visit to Hanoi by French President Francois Mitterrand in 1993, which ushered in a new chapter in the two nations’ ties.

The French Embassy in Vietnam also praised the diplomat’s role in fostering the establishment and development of French agencies in Vietnam, including L’Espace and Ecole Francaise d’Extreme-Orient ( EFEO-French School for the Far East ), in the 1990s.

As a fluent French speaker, he valued the development of the French language and worked to help Vietnam enter the International Francophone Organisation. He later became Chairman of the Permanent Council of La Francophonie in 1992, a role which he held until 1997.

In his positions as Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation and Vice President of the Vietnam – France Friendship Association, Thai endeavored for peace, development and understanding among nations.

Initiated by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the Legion of Honour Order is France’s highest award for individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to France.-VNA