Remarks by Ambassador Nguyen Tam Chien on the 60th Independence Day


7:00 p.m., August 31, 2005, 2251 R Street, NW, Washington, DC

Mr. Christopher Hill,
Mr. Peter Rodman,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to begin by offering our sympathy to the American people and friends on their losses and sufferings caused by Katrina hurricane and wishing them quick recovery.

I am delighted to extend to you our warm welcome, thanks, and appreciation for joining us this evening to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Vietnam’s Independence Day in Washington, DC.

Ladies and gentlemen,

60 year ago, on September 02, 1945, President Ho Chi Minh solemnly delivered the Declaration of Independence, giving birth to the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. After almost a century of fighting against colonialism, the people of Vietnam, on that date, achieved their national liberation and the establishment of an independent nation-state. Ever since, independence, liberty, and happiness have become part of the letter head of the New Vietnam and have been the lofty goals pursued by the State and people of Vietnam.

The history of the past 60 years is the annals of immeasurable efforts made by the people of Vietnam in overcoming numerous challenges for the preservation of national independence and liberty and the attainment of a normal and conducive international environment for nation-building endeavors and the achievement of well-being for the people. In reality, of the 60 years of existence and development of the young State of Vietnam, we only enjoyed true peace in the last two decades. It is in that short span of time, in carrying out the Doi Moi policy, that the people of Vietnam have revealed a new ability – one of innovation for peace-time economic development, one of initiative to gradually transition out of poverty and backwardness into prosperity.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, the answer to the question “why Vietnam?” is no longer so difficult. It is because going to Vietnam means going to a fast-growing economy and a safe destination. It means being with a people of warm hospitality. A visitor in Vietnam is often uplifted contagiously by the Vietnamese people’s forward-looking optimism and ever-present smiles.

While living standards remain low, they have experienced speedy improvement. The important point here is that the country knows what it wants in the years to come. Our Government’s plan is to graduate Vietnam out of the list of the lowest-income countries in 5 years’ time, which is in 2010, and to turn Vietnam into an industrialized country by 2020.

The question now is “how” to achieve those goals. Our policy has also been clearly articulated. It is to continue comprehensive reforms with a view to better tapping the potential of the Vietnamese both at home and overseas endowed with fine traditions and making the best use of every possibility for mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries. Human resources and time are the most precious assets that Vietnam possesses in this era of information technology and globalization.

A most valuable lesson learnt from the Vietnamese August Revolution of 1945 is how to capture and make the best use the opportunity. Today, how to make full use of the strengths of the Vietnamese people and to capture every opportunity in the spirit of “all for development,” remains the relevant key to success. The opportunity for a new phase of development is presenting itself as a result of the efforts made by the people of Vietnam and the changes in Vietnam’s international relations. Domestic reforms in Vietnam continue to reap successes and receive broad-based popular support. Externally, Vietnam’s foreign policy of openness, reconciliation, and economic integration is met with wide spread encouragement and cooperation from friends around the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In celebrating our National Day, we are also pleased with the new chapter of Vietnam-US relations begun by the first Prime Ministerial visit of a reunified Vietnam last June. After 10 years of diplomatic ties and 30 years since the end of the war, our two nations, from a difficult past, are now entering a new phase of making joint efforts to build a long term and stable partnership and friendship, serving the immediate interests of the our two countries and of peace, cooperation, and development in Asia. Many of you present here this evening did play a critical role in making the Prime Minister’s visit such a success. And I want to take this opportunity to once again offer our thanks and appreciation to you all for your hard work.

Life and what needs to be done do not wait for us. Today’s priority is how to enlist the United States’ strongest support for Vietnam’s accession to the World Trade Organization. As we follow the daily events, we can see how dynamic the new phase of our relationship can be. In that context, I hope our American friends present here this evening (many of who, I hope, have had a re-invigorating summer vacation) will continue to work with us for greater effectiveness, and, more importantly, with a new approach – one that belongs to a long-term and friendly partnership as we work to elevate the bilateral relationship to a new height as set forth in the June 2005 Vietnam-US Summit Joint Statement. Let us work to add more momentum to the building of the partnership and not to miss opportunities ahead of us.

In closing, may I ask all of you to join me in a toast for a 60-year-old Vietnam filled with renewed youthful vigor, confidence, and willingness to be a friend and reliable partner of every country across the world.

May Vietnam’s next 60-year cycle be filled with peace and prosperity.

May Vietnam-US friendship and cooperation come to greater fruition for the sake of the two countries’ development and prosperity.

May you enjoy good health and happiness.

Thank you for being part of the celebrations of Vietnam’s Independence Day.