Vietnamese Ambassador to Mexico Le Lihn Lan marked her country’s national day last week with a diplomatic reception at her embassy.
During the reception, which commemorated the 71st anniversary of Vietnam’s national independence from France and the 41st anniversary of the Southeast Asian nation’s diplomatic bilateral ties with Mexico, Le spoke about the leadership of Vietnam’s great leader Ho Chi Minh and her people’s ongoing struggle toward economic and social development since its two-decade-long war against the United States.
That war had costly and devastating effects for the Vietnamese people, but in her speech, Le pointed out that her country has not only moved forward since that period, but has also learned to “put the past behind and work towards a brilliant and prosperous future.”
She noted that in the last 10 years, Vietnam has registered an average GDP growth rate of more than 6 percent, making its economy one of the most dynamic in the region.
Le also spoke about Vietnam’s relations with Mexico, which she said has continued to blossom in both the commercial and academic realms.
“The bilateral ties between Vietnam and Mexico have always been characterized by a broad friendship, including cultural exchange,” she said.
“In 2015, our combined two-way trade amounted to more than $3.8 billion, according to the Mexican Economy Secretariat.”
Le said that Mexico is Vietnam’s second-largest trade partner in Latin America, just behind Brazil.
Currently, Vietnam’s main exports to Mexico include electronics, textiles and capital goods, while Mexican exports to Vietnam include mainly food products and other agricultural goods.
“Looking to the future, I want to emphasize the fact that, despite the geographic distance between our two countries, we share many common values and similar cultures,” she said.
“I am convinced that given the positive momentum of our relationship and especially the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as well as the official establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) free-trade zone in 2015, there is a tremendous potential for our two economies to grow even closer and for Vietnam and Mexico to become the commercial gateways into each other’s respective regions.”
After Le’s speech, there was a presentation of traditional Vietnamese dancing and a sampling of Vietnamese cuisine.
After a 30-year military intervention, Vietnam was conquered by France in 1884 and the country became part of French Indochina in 1887.
In September 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence from France, but Paris continued to rule until its defeat by communist forces under Ho Chi Minh in 1954.
Under the Geneva Accords of 1954, Vietnam was divided into the communist North and anti-communist South.
U.S. economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster a weak and corrupt government, but U.S. armed forces were withdrawn following a ceasefire agreement in 1973.
Two years later, North Vietnamese forces besieged the south, reuniting the country under communist rule.
But despite the peace, for more than a decade the country experienced little economic growth due to conservative leadership policies, the persecution and mass exodus of businessmen and growing international isolation.
However, since the enactment of the doi moi policy in 1986, Vietnamese authorities have spurred increased economic liberalization and enacted structural reforms needed to modernize the economy and free trade.
Vietnam became a full member of ASEAN in 1995 as latent Cold War-era tensions in the Asia-Pacific region began to thaw.