Irish Times: President Higgins’s Vietnam visit marks bilateral ties hinh anh 1President Michael D. Higgins and his spouse were welcomed at Noi Bai International Airport (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Irish Times of Ireland on November 6 ran a long article covering the eight-day trip of President Michael D. Higgins to Vietnam and Laos, saying his State visit to Vietnam marks the 20-year bilateral diplomatic ties.

President Michael D Higgins has begun an eight-day visit to Vietnam and Laos that will focus on boosting bilateral ties , especially in trade, investment, development, education and training, the article said.

Higgins is due to meet President Tran Dai Quang at the Presidential Palace on November 7 and later in the day he will also meet National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

A strong focus of the trip will be Irish aid projects in Vietnam and Laos, the article said, adding President Higgins will give a keynote address to the country’s oldest university, the Vietnam National University , on November 8.

The article noted that Vietnam is Ireland’s key aid receiver as the country is facing significant development challenges. However, it stressed, Vietnam has made major progresses in recent years.

The article also cited the interview President Higgins granted to Vietnam News, the English newspaper of the Vietnam News Agency, during which he said both Ireland and Vietnam had to struggle for independence , and that Irish people were impressed by how the Vietnamese people had to defeat not one but several imperialist aggressors.

“I think one of the great challenges facing both countries, here in Ireland and in Vietnam, is to get an economic model that will benefit all the people,” he said.
“In this context, the reduction of poverty from 70 percent to less than 23 percent is a very significant achievement,” the President said.

Ireland gave 134.88 million EUR (150 million USD) in non-refundable aid to Vietnam between 2007 and 2016, focusing on poverty reduction, support for vulnerable groups, and economic management.

Ireland has provided 1.54 million EUR for research into the climate impacts on the Lower Mekong Basin work through the EU-led Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) from 2012 to 2015.

Ireland has provided support to civil society organisations working to pilot and scale up new models in community-based climate-sensitive development.

Bilateral trade reached 360.55 million EUR (402 million USD) in 2015, up 28 percent from the previous year. Ireland currently has 17 investment projects with a combined capital of 18.7 million EUR (20.7 million USD) in Vietnam, ranking 67th among 115 countries and territories investing here, the article said.-VNA