May 23, 2013
Last leg of CFK’s visit in Vietnam
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner finished her official activities in Ho Chi Minh city after meeting with the president of the Vietnamese Politburo, Lê Hoàng Quân, in the Reunification Palace. Today she will fly to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, the last city in her Asian tour.The President had begun her day visiting the Cu Chi tunnels, which the Viet Cong had used in the war against the United States, even posing in one of them. Via a series of tweets throughout the day she announced her admiration for the Vietnamese people and their struggle, going so far as to liken Argentine independence hero José de San Martín to the late Vietnamese Communist leader Ho Chi Minh.
When attending a ceremony in front of a bust of Ho Chi Minh later in the day, she tweeted “One feels that history touches you as a light breeze does.” At the beginning of her meeting with Quân she expressed her “admiration for the incredible fight they had undertaken for the Vietnamese people in their search for independence,” and the ties of friendship shared between both nations.
The President demonstrated surprise and emotion after visiting the Cu Chi tunnel site (which had led to the fall of Saigon) saying that the fight of the Vietnamese people “is a global example for our generation, for the struggle for freedom.”
The President made another comparison between Argentina’s independence leaders with Vietnam, saying “It reminded me of Belgrano, who had ordered everything burnt after leaving Jujuy.”
Fernández de Kirchner provided an amusing anecdote on twitter saying that when she arrived at the Ho Chi Minh City hotel, the manager had welcomed her to the city using its pre-Communist name (Saigon) but after questioning him in surprise, the manager corrected himself.
She recalled how when the Vietnam war had finished in 1975, a colleague had come into the office to tell her of Saigon’s fall, which she said was an “important historical event for her generation” and was amazed how much time had passed since.
The Vietnamese Politburo president immediately responded “Don’t worry, on that day you remembered I was fighting and when we achieved our reunification, I became governor of a province near Ho Chi Minh City, so we could say that time has passed rapidly for both of us.”
During the conversation, both leaders spoke about the similiarities between the nations, and President Fernández de Kirchner emphasized that emerging countries must be united to further the global growth they have witnessed in the past decade, in order to permit union between nations from the south.
Since Argentina had initiated diplomatic relations with Vietnam in 1973, the President’s visit commemorates the 40th anniversary of relations between both countires. Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and Public Communications Secretary Alfredo Scoccimarro also attended the event. After the meeting, Quân invited the group to tour the Reunification Palace and its museum.
During the tour, Quân told President Fernández de Kirchner of the history of their struggle in the Vietnam War, saying that he had participated in various attacks against the palace and the United States Embassy in their fight for Saigon.
Today at 11 am (1 pm BA time), the president will fly to Hanoi to end her official visit to Vietnam, which is the final leg of her Asian tour which started on January 13 in the United Arab Emirates, and then subsequently visited the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. In Hanoi, the president will meet with the Vietnamese head of state Truong Tan Sang, to celebrate the 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Herald with DyN