Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet recently granted an interview to the Vietnam News Agency during her trip to Vietnam on the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of Vietnam-Chile diplomatic ties (March 25).
Throughout her political career, Bachelet has always had special affection for President Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese people. She served as the President of Chile twice in 2006-2010 and 2014-2018 terms and has made significant contributions to the friendly and cooperative relationship between Chile and Vietnam.
Sharing the memories of her youth when she joined thousands of Chilean students in demonstrations in protest against the Vietnam war, Bachelet said in Chile in the 1960s, young people, especially members of several political organisations, closely followed the war situation in Vietnam. They repeatedly took to the streets to protest the war and express their feeling for President Ho Chi Minh and solidarity with the Vietnamese people.
She noted that she was accompanied during the current trip to Vietnam by a delegation from Cerro Navia district, where a park was named after President Ho Chi Minh in 1969, to show the Chilean people’s love for Uncle Ho and the Vietnamese people.
According to her, the young people then showed their solidarity with the Vietnamese people in many different ways. There was a very famous march where Chilean youth walked 200km from the port city of Valparaíso to the capital Santiago, to protest the war in Vietnam and express admiration for the brave spirit of the Vietnamese people who dared to face the US army.
Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet in an interview with Vietnam News Agency (Photo: VNA)
In 1970, when Salvador Allende was elected President of Chile, and even in the following years, Chilean people continued to take to the streets to express their solidarity with the Vietnamese. Bachelet recalled that at an international forum called “Supporting Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia”, delegates strongly denounced the war and young people from all over the world at that time issued a joint statement expressing their solidarity and support for the just struggle of the Vietnamese nation.
Asked about her feelings about the upcoming 48th anniversary of southern liberation and national reunification of Vietnam (April 30), the former Chilean leader recalled that in 1975, her father died from torture under the dictatorship rule in Chile, and she, together with her mother and elder brother, had to flee to Australia. They were captured, but eventually made it to Australia, where they, along with Australian friends who were involved in the movement against the Vietnam war and those who supported democracy in Chile, celebrated the victory day of April 30 together. She said it was a truly wonderful moment, and they sang together and celebrated the victory of the Vietnamese people.
In her view, it is the experiences that Vietnam gained during the war and the persistent negotiation efforts that led to the signing of the Paris Peace Accords 50 years ago, have helped Vietnam maintain a flexible and dialogic foreign policy which is crucial in today’s world. She affirmed that threats to peace still exist, so it is necessary to engage in more dialogues. And it is important that Vietnam, based on its own experience, continues to contribute to the global peace.
As regards to what the two countries should do to further strengthen their traditional friendship and cooperation, Bachelet said it is an important mission that Chilean Ambassador Sergio Narea will continue to undertake. According to her, Narea has worked in Vietnam for five years, and he has a deep understanding of Vietnam, a country that he loves dearly.
She noted that during a political consultation last year, the two countries’ ministries and agencies took stock of their existing cooperation areas and explored new fields for collaboration such as national defence and security.
She suggested that the two sides could expand coordination in other fields, such as student exchange and scientific research, adding that Vietnam has achieved great success in economic development, and the two countries could learn from each other.
She said during the trip, representatives from Cerro Navia district held a working session with leaders of Vietnam’s southern Binh Duong province who pledged to support the upgrade of the Ho Chi Minh statue at the park named after him.
Her delegation also held a working session with leaders of the central Nghe An province on the possibility of building an iconic structure dedicated to President Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam and the Vietnam-Chile relations, and digitalising images to be displayed on screens at train stations in Cerro Navia district, a hub connecting Santiago with other locations. Chilean people will learn more about Vietnam through the images displayed, Bachelet said.
Confirming that there remains huge room to further expand economic and trade ties, the former President said The Chilean Embassy will work in this direction.
In conclusion, she hoped that the Chilean President’s visit to Vietnam will be arranged this year, contributing to reinforcing solidarity, friendship and multifaceted cooperation between the two nations./.
Source : Vietnam Plus