South Africa celebrates 22nd National Day

At the ceremony. (Photo:

The Embassy of South Africa in Vietnam held a ceremony in Hanoi on April 25 to mark the country’s 22nd National Day (April 27). The event drew representatives from ministries, sectors, embassies, international organisations and South African people in Vietnam. Speaking at the event Kgomotso Ruth Magau, South African Ambassador to Vietnam, highlighted positive developments in the relationship between both countries, with cooperation in various fields including agriculture, national defence, trade and investment, education and science. Assistant to the Foreign Minister Duong Chi Dung said the Government and the people of Vietnam attached significance to the "Partnership for cooperation and development" with South Africa. South Africa has long been Vietnam’s biggest trade partner in Africa, with bilateral trade reaching 1.2 billion USD in 2015, or 23 percent of Vietnam’s total export value to the continent, Dung said. He also expressed his belief that with efforts … [Read more...]

Vietnam province takes over Nha Trang port from debt-ridden Vinalines; mulls upgrade


The administration of the south-central Vietnamese province of Khanh Hoa is poised to turn the local Nha Trang port into an international tourist harbor, after taking over the facility from a loss-making company on Thursday. The cargo port of Nha Trang is managed by Nha Trang Port JSC, a firm 61.41 percent owned by the government through the state-run Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines). On Thursday, Vinalines signed a deal to transfer all of the state holdings, worth more than VND150 billion (US$6.7 million), to the Khanh Hoa administration, giving the province the authority to operate the port, located in the provincial capital city of Nha Trang. Following the takeover, Khanh Hoa will turn the cargo port into Vietnam’s first-ever international tourist port, Tran Son Hai, standing deputy chairman of the provincial administration, said the same day. The port will focus on receiving international tourists who arrive in the coastal province on luxury cruise ships, … [Read more...]

Vinalines gets green light for selling dock linked to massive corruption


A file photo of floating dock 83M, the crooked deal to buy which got two unscrupulous executives the death sentence. Photo: Diep Duc Minh The transport ministry has approved state shipping company Vinalines' proposal to auction an unused floating dock that was linked to one of the most high-profile corruption scandals in recent years, according to news website VnExpress. Vinalines would have to plan the sale of 83M to keep losses as low as possible, the website quoted Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Van Cong as saying Saturday. He also expected the sale to be organized and finished soon, saying the longer it takes, the more money would be lost and the more dangerous the dock would become to the environment and ships. Last month Vinalines sought the government's permission to auction the dock with a reserve price of VND34.8 billion (US$1.53 million) after failing to find investors to jointly operate it. The proposed price is much lower than its book value of VND500 billion … [Read more...]

Vinalines plans to sell floating dock at knock-down prices


VietNamNet Bridge - The Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) has asked for the Ministry of Transport’s permission to sell an 83M floating dock for VND34.8 billion, or $1.5 million. The floating dock is part of an embezzlement case. Vinalines, which was then led by Duong Chi Dung, bought the dock from a Russian company through a Singaporean brokerage firm. The corporation spent $22 million to buy a rusty and heavily damaged dock. Dung, who was president of Vinalines and Mai Van Phuc, general director, were found guilty of receiving VND10 billion each in the deal. They were both given death sentences at the court. If the floating dock is sold at $1.5 million as hoped by Vinalines, this would be a ‘dirt cheap price’ compared with the price at which Vinalines spent to buy it. However, experts doubt that the dock can be sold, even for such a knock-down price. If the floating dock is sold at $1.5 million as hoped by Vinalines, this would be a ‘dirt … [Read more...]

When buying high and selling low makes sense


Even though the Vinalines and Vinashin cases have ended and the guilty sentenced, the scandal continues to play out. Vinalines proposed to sell the dock to recoup some of the losses In 2007, former Chairman of Vinalines Duong Chi Dung spent USD9m on buying a floating dock which had been removed from active service by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping. About USD5.1m was spent on repairing the dock but it remained unfit for use. In February, Vinalines proposed to sell the dock to recoup some of the losses. However, due to it deteriorating condition and low steel prices, the dock now only worth USD1.6m. Vinalines suggested holding an auction to sell the dock as soon as possible. There are many sayings about buying high and selling low being the description of unskilled or unlucky businesspeople. While the original purchase may have looked foolish on the surface, it can be argued it was a wise calculation because the buyers were able to embezzle state money due to the … [Read more...]

Vinalines wants to sell unused floating dock

The Saigon Times Daily Floating dock 83M which was purchased in 2008 is currently anchored at Go Dau port in the southern province of Dong Nai. It has been abandoned since its purchase and costs relating to the dock had amounted to more than VND50 billion (US$2.2 million) by December 31, 2015. According to the Vietnam News Agency, since late 2012, Vinalines has told the ministry its plans of teaming up with capable investors to operate it or leasing it. However, despite Vinalines’ attempts to find investors, the fate of the dock has remained undecided. As of December 31, 2015, the book value of the dock was over VND500 billion (over US$22 million), covering the dock’s value, port service and maintenance costs. Last November, VNLSY signed a deal with a local consulting firm to evaluate the floating dock. The value was then put at only VND34.8 billion as the steel structure of the dock has deteriorated. Therefore, Vinalines has proposed selling the floating dock … [Read more...]

Vietnam spent $22 million on this rusty dock, now struggles to sell it at $1.5 million


An undated photo of the 83M floating dock at Go Dau Port, Dong Nai Province. Photo: VNA State shipping company Vinalines has sought the government's permission to auction an abandoned floating dock in an attempt to reclaim some of the huge money it has poured into the controversial investment since 2008. The proposal came after Vinalines and its shipbuilding subsidiary VNLSY failed to find investors to jointly operate the 83M dock, the Vietnam News Agency reported on Thursday. The dock had been in use for several decades in Russia before being bought by Vinalines in 2008 for US$9 million. The company then spent $10.5 million repairing it, but work was suspended in 2012. Even as the dock was left idle, extra costs including insurance and port fees kept mounting. The book value is now estimated at more than VND500 billion ($22.1 million). In its letter to the Ministry of Transport, Vinalines has proposed a starting price of VND34.8 billion ($1.53 million) only. The price was … [Read more...]

Corruption cases no longer automatically liable for death penalty

The National Assembly has approved an exemption in the death penalty for those found guilty of corruption if they are able to return three-quarters of the assets they have stolen, according to the newly amended penal code. Former Vinalines chairman Duong Chi Dung, who was convicted of buying an out-dated floating dock,leading to losses of VND700bn, was given a death sentence last year Many NA deputies opposed the amendment, arguing that criminals would be more aggressive if they knew they still had a way of avoiding the death penalty, while other deputies emphasised the importance of recovering the stolen assets. Many deputies demanded a clearer definition of the wording in the law which implied that if the criminal made amends then they would be eligible for avoiding the death penalty. Other criminals including pregnant women, women with children under 36 months or people over 75 years old would remain exempt from capital punishment. The National Assembly Standing Committee … [Read more...]

Corrupt officials can escape death if they are contrite, Vietnam lawmakers decide


Duong Chi Dung (C), former chairman of state shipping giant Vinalines, stood an appeal trial in Hanoi last April. He and one of his subordinates were sentenced to death for embezzling VND10 billion (US$474,000) each in a dock scam busted in May 2012. Photo: Manh Quan People convicted of embezzlement or bribery can escape the death penalty if they return at least three quarters of the ill-gotten wealth and blow the whistle on others involved under amendments to the Penal Code approved by the National Assembly Friday. The amendments take effect next July. Nearly 70 percent of lawmakers voted for the changes. Embezzlement of more than VND500 million and receiving bribes of more than VND300 million while also "causing serious consequences" are now punishable by death. The amendments also abolish capital punishment for robbery, drug possession, drug appropriation, the production and trade of fake food, destruction of projects of national security importance, surrendering to the enemy, … [Read more...]

Government News In B


Italian President to visit Viet Nam Italian President Sergio Mattarella will pay a State visit to Viet Nam from November 5-8. The visit is made at the invitation of President Truong Tan Sang. Belgian president of Senate visits Viet Nam A delegation of Belgian Senate, led by Senate President Christine Defraigne, has started an eight-day official visit to Viet Nam yesterday at the invitation of National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung. Condolences to Russia over plane crash President Truog Tan Sang has sent his condolences to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the deadly crash of a Russian passenger plane. The Airbus A-321, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia, crashed early on Saturday after it took off from Egypt's Red Sea resort Sharm el-Sheikh, heading for Russia's Saint Petersburg. Panama fosters friendship with Vietnam Panama has continuously attached significance to fostering its friendship and co-operative ties with Vietnam, President Juan Carlos Valera … [Read more...]

Banquet celebrates 61st National Day of Algeria

NDO/VNA – Algerian Ambassador to Vietnam Mohamed Berrah hosted a banquet in Hanoi on November 2 to mark the 61st National Day of the North African country (November 1, 1954). Outstanding guests included Assistant to the Vietnamese Foreign Minister Duong Chi Dung and representatives of local ministries and sectors, diplomatic corps, and international organisations. Addressing the event, the Algerian diplomat voiced his delight at the development of the solidarity and friendship between the two countries’ peoples. He congratulated Vietnam on its election to the United Nations Economic and Social Council for the 2016-2018 tenure, adding that he hopes Algeria will also become a member of the council so that the two countries could coordinate effectively in this important organ. He emphasised that Algeria is willing to consolidate its co-operation with Vietnam for the sake of shared interests and wished their multifaceted affiliation will further flourish. … [Read more...]

Vietnam participates in La Francophonie ministerial meeting

(VOV) -A Vietnamese delegation attended the 31st Ministerial Conference of the Francophonie in the Armenian capital city of Yerevan that drew the participation of almost 30 foreign ministers of francophone countries and leaders of French-speaking organisations. The event transpiring from October 10-11 reviewed the implementation of decisions at the 2014 Summit of La Francophonie and examined ways to promote peace and ensure stability in member nations such as the Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Burundi and Mali, highlighting efforts to preserve cultural and language diversity. Participants underlined the need to spur economic cooperation among member countries and support the realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The conference consented to adopt resolutions on promoting peace, diversity and mutual understanding; coping with climate change; the role of the youth; and migration and genocide-related issues. Assistant to the Foreign Minister Duong Chi Dung … [Read more...]

Vietnam takes part in La Francophonie ministerial meeting


A Vietnamese delegation attended the 31st Ministerial Conference of the Francophonie in the Armenian capital city of Yerevan from October 10-11, which attracted nearly 30 foreign ministers of francophone countries and leaders of French-speaking organisations. The event reviewed the implementation of decisions at the 2014 Summit of La Francophonie and discussed ways to boost peace and stability in member nations such as the Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Burundi and Mali, highlighting efforts to promote cultural and language diversity. Delegates emphasised the need to enhance economic cooperation among member countries and support the realisation of Sustainable Development Goals. The conference agreed to ratify resolutions on fostering peace, diversity and mutual understanding; coping with climate change; the role of the youth; and migration and genocide-related issues. Leading the Vietnamese delegation to the event, Assistant to the Foreign Minister Duong Chi Dung … [Read more...]

31st Ministerial Conference of the Francophonie convened


(VOVworld) – Nearly 30 Foreign Ministers have taken part in the 31st Ministerial Conference of the Francophie in Yerevan, Armenia. At the conference, Duong Chi Dung, Assistant to Vietnam’s Foreign Minister, highlighted Vietnam’s achievements in socio-economic development, diplomatic policies for peace, cooperation and development as well as its active international integration. He also called on the Francophonie community to support Vietnam’s peaceful attempts to resolve the East Sea issue based on international law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and soon reaching the Code of Conducts by Parties in the East Sea. On the sideline of the conference, Mr. Dung met with leaders from some Francophonie countries to discuss ways to promote cooperation between Vietnam and the Francophonie countries and called on their support for Vietnam’s candidacy for the UN’s Economic and … [Read more...]

E-learning course empowers women’s leadership

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched an online training course to increase women’s capacity and confidence in elections in Hanoi on September 18. As part of a project on enhancing women’s leadership capacity for international integration, the "Ready for success" course is to provide women with fundamental knowledge on the political system in Vietnam, election process and the role of relevant agencies in candidate selection. Learners will also be equipped with necessary candidacy skills such as building and presenting a plan of action, meeting constituents, and working with the press. The course also encourages the interaction between trainees and consultants via multiple choice questions, exercises, and forums. UNDP Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Pratibha Mehta mentioned barriers facing female Vietnamese candidates such as time budget, geographical distance, and financial matter. She said the course … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s diplomatic service promotes tradition

PANO – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 20th held an international scientific conference themed "Diplomatic service of Vietnam: 70 years of tradition and the future orientation". Around 100 participants from embassies and representative offices of international organizations in Hanoi joined the event. The conference has confirmed the fact that over the past 70 years, Vietnam’s diplomatic service has contributed significantly to the cause of national construction and protection, improving the position of Vietnam in the international arena. Vietnam has been playing an increasingly important role in maintaining peace and stability in the region as well as the world. Participants at the conference "Friend to all and foe to no nations" In the opening speech, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh stressed that since the establishment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on August 28th 1945, the service has significantly contributed to national … [Read more...]

Vietnam to deepen relations with foreign partners

Vietnam will make greater efforts to deepen its external relations, primarily with key partners and traditional friends, in the new stage of development, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said at a conference held in Hanoi on August 20 to mark 70 years of Vietnam’s diplomacy. In multilateral diplomacy, Vietnam continues to be a proactive and responsible ASEAN member and simultaneously participate in other multilateral mechanisms, first and foremost the United Nations, he said. Vietnam always remembers the huge support of the international community to its national liberation, development and integration and hopes to receive more global assistance to contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and beyond, he added. Chinese Ambassador Hong Xiaoyong spoke of the Vietnamese diplomacy sector’s efforts in promoting its important role in building a socialist country of independence, self-reliance and happiness. He hailed the … [Read more...]

Death penalty still needed to punish corrupt officials, lawmakers say


Duong Chi Dung (C), former chairman of state shipping giant Vinalines, stood an appeal trial in Hanoi last April. He and one of his subordinates were sentenced to death for embezzling VND10 billion (US$474,000) each in a dock scam busted in May 2012. Photo: Hoang Trang Many lawmakers have objected to the government's plan to let convicts escape death penalties by returning half of the money or property they gained from their offenses. According to the proposal, part of a series of amendments drafted for Vietnam's Penal Code, the rule should be applied to people who do not commit "extremely serious" crimes, without specifying which ones. Lawmakers interpreted the proposal as a way out for corruption convicts, arguing that they will be the main beneficiary and that the rule, if passed, will cause injustice. Nguyen Duc Chung, an assemblyman from Hanoi, said at a meeting on Tuesday it is "unfair" that corrupt officials who steal a huge amount of public money can live, while while poor … [Read more...]

Female entrepreneurs gather to enhance ASEAN equality


Viet Nam has committed to encouraging more women entrepreneurs to participate in the global value chain, Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan said yesterday at a forum in Ha Noi. The 2015 ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Forum (AWEF), titled ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs in AEC: Transforming Opportunities into Realities, focused on preparing for the coming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The AEC will start operating at the end of this year, bringing both opportunities and challenges for budding enterprises, especially. The forum was held as part of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneur Network (AWEN). It was organised by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI); the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs; and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The organisers aimed to create more opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the region. To utilise the business climate created by the new AEC, women entrepreneurs must be creative in analyzing and forecasting business climates, … [Read more...]

Foreign female diplomats gather on Int’l Women Day

Foreign female diplomats at the exchange (Photo: VNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) held a cultural exchange for foreign female diplomats in the northern province of Bac Ninh on March 6 ahead of the International Women's Day (March 8). Addressing the event, Assistant to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Duong Chi Dung thanked the diplomats for fostering their countries’ friendly cooperative ties with Vietnam, saying this laid the good foundation for the country’s sustainable development and international integration. On behalf of the guests, Iraida de Rondon, spouse of the Venezuelan Ambassador, thanked the MOFA and the locality for the warm reception. She also expressed hope of having more chances to take part in various friendship activities in Vietnam. At the event, participants enjoyed the performance of Quan Ho (love duet singing), Bac Ninh’s unique folk art which was recognized as part of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. They also … [Read more...]