The 40th anniversary of the liberation of South Vietnam and national reunification was marked with a grand ceremony at Thong Nhat (Reunification) Square in Ho Chi Minh City on April 30.

Leaders officiating the event included Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Truong Tan Sang, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan, and former Party and State officials.

The commemoration was also attended by Lao Vice President Bounnhang Vorachith, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam An, and Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba’s Central Committee Jose Ramon Balaguer Cabrera.

Representatives of Vietnamese heroic mothers of war heroes were in attendance, joining veterans who participated in the general offensive and uprising in the South in 1975.

In his address, PM Nguyen Tan Dung hailed the 1975 Spring Victory as a glorious chapter in Vietnam’s history that liberated the South and reunified the country, heralding a new era of independence and reunification and building Vietnam into a strong nation with prosperous people and a just, democratic and civilised society.

He expressed his gratitude to late President Ho Chi Minh, outstanding Party and State leaders, war heroes, and people who devoted their lives to the fight for national independence and reunification.

He also thanked socialist countries, particularly the Soviet Union and China, and peace-loving governments, organisations, and people around the globe for their material and spiritual support to Vietnam’s struggle for independence and reunification.

Though facing a multitude of challenges after accomplishing the liberation and reunification, Vietnam has exerted all-out efforts to overcome the severe consequences of the war, prevail over trade embargos, and bravely protect its northern and southwestern borders, the leader said, adding that the country had also helped Cambodia escape from the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime.

Highlighting the country’s achievements after 30 years of its ‘doi moi’ (reform) policy, the PM noted that from an underdeveloped nation, Vietnam has become a middle income developing country with an annual average growth of 7 percent and an estimated per capita GDP in 2015 of 2,200 USD.

The poverty rate fell sharply to less than 6 percent while life expectancy increased from 64.8 in 1986, when the ‘doi moi’ started, to 73.5 this year. Vietnam has also fulfilled most of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule, he said.

The country has firmly ensured defense, security, and national sovereignty while actively promoting foreign affairs and international integration, he added, elaborating that Vietnam has established diplomatic, trade and investment relations with almost all countries and territories around the world. It currently houses more than 18,200 FDI projects with total registered capital of 256 billion USD.

Vietnam’s global standing has been growing, and the country is grateful and looking forward to the continued support and effective assistance of the international community, the PM said.

He called upon the entire country to bring patriotism into full play, accelerate the ‘doi moi’ process, reinforce national solidarity, build a strong political system, ensure political and social stability, and attain rapid and sustainable socio-economic development, thus forming a solid cornerstone for Vietnam to soon become a modern industrialised country.

In his address, he stressed that Vietnam persistently pursues the policy of being a friend, a trustworthy partner, and a responsible member of the international community; respecting independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity; not interfering in other countries’ internal affairs; and contributing to peace, national independence, democracy, and social progress in the world.

He also underlined the trust that the Party, State, and people put in the youth who will make great efforts to master modern science and technology and make self-improvement to succeed the revolutionary cause by former generations and support national development.

At the celebration, Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Thai, former Political Commissar of Division 7 under Army Corps 4, recounted the resounding triumphs in Vietnam’s history, especially the decisive victory of the Ho Chi Minh Campaign that liberated Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) four decades ago. He expressed his belief that Vietnam will succeed in the national reform, development and protection.

Representing the youth, Nguyen Dao Phuong Thuy, a student of the HCM City-based University of Law, emphasised that the nowadays young generation is well aware of their responsibility of contributing to the national development, and they commit to studying and striving for a prosperous Vietnam.

Following the speeches, the forces of the Vietnam People’s Army and Police went on parade, joined by representatives of people from all social strata, showcasing the nation’s united aspirations for peace and prosperity.-VNA