National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan stands among international participants at the banquet (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam always respects and supports the UN’s decision to make the Day of Vesak commemorating the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha a world cultural and religious festival, said National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

Ngan made the statement while hosting a banquet in Hanoi on the evening of May 11 in hounour of delegates attending the 16th UN Day of Vesak 2019, which opened at Tam Chuc Pagoda in the northern province of Ha Nam a day later.

Prominent among those at the event were Myanmar President Win Myint; Indian Vice President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) Venkaiah Naidu; Nepalese Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli; and Chairman of the National Council (Upper House) of Bhutan Tashi Dorji.

Also present at the banquet were Most Venerable Prof. Dr. Phra Brahmapundit, President of the International Council for the Day of Vesak; Most Venerable Thich Tri Quang, Deputy Supreme Patriarch of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS); foreign ambassadors to Vietnam; and representatives of over 570 international delegations from 112 countries and territories worldwide.

In her speech, Ngan said the annual UN Day of Vesak is a chance to honour the Buddha and the presence of the participating delegations reflects a Buddhist-based collaboration to tackle global development challenge. She called for joint actions for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

The NA Chairwoman noted the 16th UN Day of Vesak 2019 in Vietnam offers an opportunity to promote Buddhist values and contributions to global issues as peace, environment, healthcare, education, and morality. 

Ngan affirmed that Vietnam always respects human rights, ensures religious freedom and belief, and pays due attention to and highly treasures good moral values of religions, including Buddhism.

She hoped the UN Day of Vesak 2019 would produce positive outcomes and help the international participants understand more about Vietnam and its people.-VNA