President’s trip to Cuba, US - Great success of vaccine diplomacy hinh anh 1At the welcoming ceremony for President Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Havana. (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Cuba and trip to the US to attend the high-level debate of the UN General Assembly’s 76th session concluded with comprehensive success, leaving an important hallmark in the country’s external relations in 2021 in both bilateral and multilateral aspects, and especially in vaccine diplomacy.

The Vietnam-Cuba relationship is a rare one in the world history, which is manifested by Cuban leader Fidel Castrol’s saying “For Vietnam, Cuba is willing to shed its blood”.

Despite the far geographic distance as well as ups and downs of the history over the past six decades, Vietnam and Cuba have accompanied each other and given each other warm sentiments, loyal solidarity as well as generous, whole-hearted and pure spiritual and material support, especially at the most difficult times in the revolutionary cause of each country.

The Cuba visit by President Phuc aimed to continue and deepen this special traditional friendship. According to Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, this was the first visit by a foreign head of state to Cuba following the eighth National Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba. This also affirmed the commitment to together marching forward after the Party Congress in each country, creating new motivation and new vitality for the bilateral comprehensive partnership.

The greatest success and highlight of the visit is the cooperation in COVID-19 vaccine. Deputy Minister of Health Tran Van Thuan said that during the visit, the health care sectors of the two sides signed a contract on Cuba’s supply of 5 million doses of Abdala COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam, and Vietnam’s purchase of 5 million additional doses for children.

President Phuc also announced Vietnam’s provision of 5,000 tonnes of rice to Cuba. A number of ministries and sectors also offered practical gifts to their Cuban counterparts. Such support is evidence of the special friendship and rare loyal relationship between the two Parties, States and peoples.

President’s trip to Cuba, US - Great success of vaccine diplomacy hinh anh 2President Nguyen Xuan Phuc attends (second, left) witnesses the symbolic reception of 1.05 million Abdala vaccine at Noi Bai airport in Hanoi on September 25 evening. (Photo: VNA)
On behalf of the Party and State of Cuba, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez presented President Phuc with the José Martí Order in recognition of the Vietnamese leader’s contributions to the strengthening of the historical friendship, solidarity and cooperation between Cuba and Vietnam.

Besides high-level meetings, President Phuc also held meetings with Cuban friendship organisations, during which he affirmed that the Party and people of Vietnam always stand shoulder to shoulder with the Cuban Party and people. “We understand and strive to be worthy of the trust of the fraternal Cuban people.”

Concluding the Cuba visit, the Vietnamese leader arrived in the UN headquarters in New York on September 20, the date when 44 years ago, Vietnam officially became a UN member.

Speaking before leaders of many countries at the world biggest forum, President Phuc underlined Vietnam’s viewpoint that the world cannot be safe if any single person or country still suffers from this pandemic.

“For the pandemic to be repelled, it is essential that we stand in solidarity, uphold a high sense of responsibility, and step up cooperation. Particularly, priority allocation of vaccines should be given to nations with a low vaccination rate. And developing countries should be enabled to engage in vaccine production and supply chains,” he stated.

Stressing the central role of the UN, President Phuc underscored the need for countries to work together to build trust among countries on the basis of equality and cooperation. “We must also respect the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of States, and resolve disputes by peaceful means,” he said.

He once again reaffirmed Vietnam’s solidarity with the people of Cuba, and reiterate our strong call for a complete end to the unilateral embargoes against Cuba. 

President’s trip to Cuba, US - Great success of vaccine diplomacy hinh anh 31.05 million doses of Abdala COVID-19 vaccine was transported to Vietnam on the President's flight. (Photo: VNA)
During his trip to the Americas this time, Vietnam has been able to garner the support of the world for its COVID-19 prevention and control as well as socio-economic development at home.

Along with 1.05 million doses of Abdala COVID-19 vaccine that was transported to Vietnam aboard the President's flight, other countries and partners also committed to providing 1.5 million doses of vaccines to Vietnam. The US committed to donating a large volume of vaccines to Vietnam through the COVAX mechanism in the upcoming allocation period. Particularly, during the President's meeting with leaders of Pfizer, the US vaccine manufacturer committed to deliver 31 million doses of vaccine to Vietnam following a contracts signed with Vietnam right in 2021 and 20 million doses of vaccine for children when there is sufficient data on its effectiveness and safety. Together with vaccines, many partners and expatriates in the US also donated medical supplies worth 8.8 million USD to Vietnam.

It can be said that President Phuc's official friendship visit to Cuba and participation in the high-level debate of the UN General Assembly’s 76th session was a comprehensive success. The success was thanked to the close coordination between the Party, State and people diplomacy, in implementing the foreign orientation defined at the 13th National Party Congress, showing that Vietnam is a friend and reliable partner of the international community./.