Vietnam highly values the development of its ties with the Vatican, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung stated during a meeting with Pope Francis I in the Holy See on March 22.

Chairman Hung made it clear that the Vietnamese Party and State are steadfast in their diplomatic policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, development cooperation and the diversification and multilateralisation of external relations. He said the country considers creeds and religions as a spiritual need of the people that contribute to ensuring national unity.

He updated his host of the growing relationship between Vietnam and the Catholic Church which, he said, is evidenced by annual meetings between Vietnamese leaders, the pontiff and other Church dignitaries. He also highlighted the positive outcomes of the Vietnam – Vatican Joint Working Group’s annual meetings and the appointment of a Vatican non-permanent envoy to Vietnam.

Hung expressed wish for the Pope to further direct the Vietnam Catholic Church to continue operating under the motto “Living Gospel in the Midst of the Nation” and contribute more to the country.
At a meeting with Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the same day, Hung hailed the latter’s role in developing the Vietnam - Vatican ties.

He said Vietnam will continue to be a friend, a trustworthy partner and a responsible member of the international community.

Vietnam treasures and stands ready to boost ties with the Holy See on the principle of respect for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity without interfering in each other’s internal affairs, Hung added.

At an earlier reception for General Secretary of the Party of Italian Communists Cesare Procaccini, the Vietnamese leader thanked the Italian communists for their support to Vietnam during its struggle for liberation in the past and construction at present.

Procaccini said the Party of Italian Communists expects to further solidarity, friendship and cooperation with the Communist Party of Vietnam, pledging to do his utmost to tighten ties between the two parties, countries and peoples.

The General Secretary voiced his wish to learn about Vietnam’s experience in developing a socialist-oriented market economy.

Later the same day, Chairman Hung and his entourage left Rome for Hanoi, concluding their visit to Italy./.