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French President to Visit Vietnam for the First Time in Early September

French President Francois Hollande will pay a visit to Vietnam from September 5-7, the French Embassy in Hanoi announced late last week.

Thanh Nien reports that Hollande will visit both Hanoi and Saigon during his time in the country. The French leader will first meet with his Vietnamese counterparts, including President Tran Dai Quang, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, in Hanoi on the 6th. He will also give a speech on the state of the relationship between Vietnam and France.

Hollande will then travel to Saigon that evening, where he will meet with city party chief Dinh La Thang and People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong. The following morning, he will meet with members of the local French business community, according to Thanh Nien.

Meanwhile, VietnamNet shares that the Vietnamese leadership will sign major agreements related to the judiciary, healthcare, scientific and educational cooperation and technical assistance for climate change adaptation with Hollande.

The Vietnamese side also hopes to receive assurances that France will work to ensure peace in the East Sea, where tensions with China are simmering. Thanh Nien quoted an AFP interview with President Quang, who said “we highly welcome the cooperation from France and other nations in the process of maintaining peace and stability in the region and the world and on the East Sea.” Quang also hopes to increase military ties between the two nations in the wake of the strategic partnership which the two sides signed in 2013.

Hollande will be the third French president to visit Vietnam, its former colony, since reunification. Francois Mitterand visited in 1993 and Jacque Chirac in 1997 and 2004.

[Photo via Flickr user Parti socialiste]

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