On May 15, 2018, the Asia - Pacific Francophone Research and Cooperation Center (Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam) held a talk on "Vietnam - France relations under a geopolitical perspective". The talk was a part of a series celebrating the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and France’s establishment and 5 years of the two countries’ strategic partnership.
The talk was attended by Director of Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam Nguyen Vu Tung; the Director of the Department of Europe, National Representative to the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie Dinh Toan Thang; French Cultural Counselor, Director of the French Institute in Vietnam Etienne Rolland-Piegue; Former Director of Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, Former Ambassador of Vietnam to UNESCO, Assoc. Duong Van Quang, with Vietnamese and international diplomats and researchers. In particular, the talk also had the participation of Ms. Catherine Horel, Secretary-General of the World Historical Committee, Director of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).
Delivering his opening speech, Diplomatic Academy Director Nguyen Vu Tung said that the talk aimed to have an academic exchange with a focus on geopolitical challenges in Vietnam - France relations and to make proposals to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries. He also expressed his wish that the talk would open new opportunities for cooperation between the Diplomatic Academy and French partners.
The Director of the Diplomatic Academy also highly appreciated the close relations between Vietnam and France, especially between the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and the French Embassy in Vietnam. Typically, on April 5, within the framework of the Ambassadors Forum of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, French Ambassador to Vietnam Bertrand Lortholary had a talk on the topic "45 years of Vietnam - France relations: achievements and prospects” to the staff, lecturers, and students of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam.
Mr. Dinh Toan Thang, Director of the Europe Department, National Representative to the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie commented that despite the conflicts in the past and the geographical distance, Vietnam and France were always close.
The two countries are able to share mutual affection as well as forging good diplomatic relations that have spanned the past 45 years mainly due to mutual respect and admiration.
Mr. Thang also affirmed that, from a geopolitical perspective, Vietnam was located in the center of the Indochinese peninsula, bringing many economic benefits with a large population and long coastline. Since its independence, Vietnam has always strengthened its relations with France, ignoring all past conflicts. Until now, the two countries continued contributing to strategic cooperation. Vietnam - France relations would be increasingly strengthened bringing many benefits to both nations, the two countries in particular and the two regions in general.
For his part, Mr. Etienne Rolland-Piegue, French Cultural Counselor, Director of the French Institute in Vietnam thanked the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam for organizing a meaningful seminar. He also highly appreciated the close cooperation between the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and the French Embassy in Vietnam.
Mr. Etienne Rolland-Piegue also said that after the talk of French Ambassador to Vietnam Bertrand Lortholary, the French Institute was also pursuing the development of programs to further strengthen cultural relations between the two peoples.
"Geopolitical challenges in Vietnam-France relations": - discourse of Ambassador, Assoc. Prof. Duong Van Quang. Assoc. Duong Van Quang observed and analyzed the Vietnam - France relations from a geopolitical perspective, stretching from the end of the First Indochina War up to now, on the basis of aggregating and analyzing the international and bilateral lawsuits between the two countries, at the same time, grasping the cross-cutting rule governing the bilateral relations as well as the international relations at that time in the Asia - Pacific region. The analysis focused on prominent events: General De Gaulle's Phnom Penh speech in 1966, French President Mitterand's visit to Vietnam in 1993, the 7th Francophone Summit in Hanoi, 1997, the signing of the 2013 Declaration of Strategic Partnership, and the visit of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to France in 2018.
“Vietnam between the two wars against France and the US” - the discourse of Prof. Asselin (San Diego University - USA) - provided some author’s perspectives on Vietnam between the two wars against France and the US, in which assured the vital role of President Ho Chi Minh and General Secretary Le Duan in the resolutions related to the Vietnamese revolution situation and the resistance against the US.
“1973: the turning point of France - Vietnam relations” - the discourse of Prof. Journoud (Paul Montpellier University - France): The France - Vietnam relations was reappeared by some historical milestones mentioned by the speakers. Started in the first meeting of the two governmental leaders - Pierre Mendes-France and Pham Van Dong - in 1954, a new harmonious and closer-knit chapter of two countries and peoples were created, represented by the joint statement laying the foundation for an economic-cultural cooperation. Until 1973, the crucial turning point for France-Vietnam relations and also for the Vietnamese resistance against the US occurred. In that year, the two countries officially established diplomatic relations and France hosted the Paris Peace Accords.
In the discussion after the speech, Prof. Le Prestre (Laval University) said that France and Vietnam both had a particularly important role in today's international relations. Therefore, what do both countries have in common to share, and what foudation does it base on? For example, is it about multilateralism or cultural and historical values which were both related to each other. Or in terms of identity, the two countries represent two distinct cultural values - one is affected by European identity, another is Asian - but how do these identity values can be promoted in the bilateral relations between the two sides, with which level of interaction and temperance?
To answer that question, Assoc. Prof Quang stated that multilateralism was pursued by both countries. It can be seen within the framework of regional organizations in which the two countries are involved. France in the European Union and Vietnam in ASEAN, or both countries in Francophone organization, those are all multilateral organizations. The two countries need to consider specific actions to support each other, for example, Vietnam can do something to persuade ASEAN to accept and allow France to become a partner of ASEAN, when France, with its strength, also plays an important role in the Pacific region. In peace - keeping issue, Vietnam has committed and wanted to play a role in these activities, so France’s support and cooperation were necessary to promote it. In his part, Prof. Journoud asserted that: the relations between the two countries was indispensable for the role of China - which always had a great influence on Vietnam with thousands of years of domination, and until now, China still occupies an important position in the Vietnamese policy. France could also play a role in Vietnam - China relations. Especially in the current context, when the role of China has been enhanced and expanded on a global scale and has a profound impact on all aspects of international relations.
The talk has attracted the attention of many media outlets such as: