In war there are the two factors – human beings and weapons. Ultimately, though, human beings are the decisive factor. Human beings! Human beings!” – General Vo Nguyen Giap, People’s Army of Vietnam
This posting also includes:
- “Activities across Vietnam celebrate Liberation of Saigon and Reunification of Vietnam”;
- “Vietnam’s great economic achievements since liberation”
April 30, 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the total victory of the Vietnamese people over U.S. military aggression and its division of the country. The united forces of the North Vietnamese Army and the National Liberation Front in the south drove the last remnants of the U.S. armed forces and the army of the South Vietnamese puppet regime out of Saigon on April 30, 1975 achieving the long-cherished goal of reunification and national independence.
In one of the most heroic and remarkable wars of national liberation and at the cost of millions of lives, the Vietnamese people succeeded, in the space of a little more than 30 years, in defeating three foreign occupying armies.
The Japanese occupation of Vietnam began in September 1940 but under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh and the Communist Party of Vietnam, the imperial army was driven out by 1945. The heroic Vietnamese people also totally defeated the French colonialists, with the final battle taking place at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.
RELATED Dien Bien Phu French Defeat in Vietnam (youtube)
In their struggle against the U.S. imperialist aggressors from the 1960s until 1975, the Vietnamese people won the support and admiration of people the world over. In the U.S. and Canada youth and students built a strong anti-war movement which grew year after year in spite of police attacks and imprisonment. University campuses across Canada, the U.S., Europe and around the world were sites of mass political organizing and battles in support of the national liberation struggles of the Vietnamese people and in opposition to U.S. imperialist foreign policy and aggression.
The brilliant victory of the Vietnamese people on April 30, 1975 led to the reunification of Vietnam, proclaimed in 1976 with the establishment of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Once in control of their own destiny, the Vietnamese government and people succeeded in building a stable and prosperous economy and overcoming the devastation caused by decades of imperialist occupation, plunder and indiscriminate U.S. bombardment.
April 30 has been and will always be celebrated in Vietnam, Canada and all over the world as a great chapter in the history of national liberation struggles. The Vietnamese people showed the world that a people determined to defend their freedom and sovereignty are more powerful than any foreign army, no matter how strong and arrogant.
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Activities across Vietnam celebrate liberation of Saigon and reunification of Vietnam
Activities are underway across Vietnam in preparation for the 40th anniversary of the historic liberation of Saigon from the U.S. imperialists and the reunification of the country on April 30, 1975.
The national celebration, taking place April 29 and 30 in Ho Chi Minh City, will be conducted by the Communist Party of Vietnam’s Central Committee, National Assembly, president, government and the Vietnamese Fatherland Front. Ceremonies will be held April 29 in Hanoi at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Martyr Monument and in Ho Chi Minh City at the Martyrs’ Cemetery and Ben Duoc Memorial Temple. April 30, National Reunification Day, will see parades and marches in Ho Chi Minh City attended by leaders of the Communist Party of Vietnam, government and armed forces, those involved in the 1975 Spring Offensive, representatives of youth, workers’, farmers’, women’s and social organizations, international delegations and diplomatic representatives. The night of April 30 will feature a special artistic program involving 4,400 artists in Ho Chi Minh City, followed by fireworks displays in eight locations across the city. Activities will carry on into May 1, International Workers’ Day.
Leading up to the anniversary of reunification, events across the country will honour the historical significance of the April 30 victory, commemorate individuals who sacrificed their lives for Vietnam’s liberation and highlight the achievements of the country over the past four decades.
A national workshop was held in Ho Chi Minh City on April 3 on the significance of the spring victory in 1975. Nhân Dân, the central organ of the Communist Party of Vietnam, reported that speeches at the workshop “affirmed that the struggle for liberation was not only a decisive military victory, but was also a victory of the people, leaving an inspirational legacy of human dignity which resulted from the long and enduring struggle and great sacrifices of the Vietnamese people all over the country under the sound leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam.”
On April 14, a workshop in Hanoi highlighted the role of the general headquarters at the Hanoi Old Citadel in the success of the 1975 Spring Offensive. The general headquarters produced strategies and directions for the struggle against U.S. forces between 1965 and 1975. Within the headquarters, the Vietnamese people’s leadership, consisting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the Central Military Commission, and the General High Command worked for over 7,000 days and held more than 1,000 meetings there to ensure the success of their fight for liberation and national reunification.
Ho Chi Minh City hosted a conference on April 14 to honour those who made significant contributions to the 1975 Spring Offensive. Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam expressed the gratitude of the Party, state and people to the heroes who sacrificed their youth and in some cases their lives for the national revolutionary cause. Dam affirmed the importance of the resistance war for the national independence, peace, happiness, sovereignty and justice of the Vietnamese people.
Other victories of the Spring Offensive were celebrated in March and April, including the liberation of Quang Nam province on March 24 and of Lam Dong province April 3.
President Truong Tan Sang paid a visit on April 16 to revolutionary veterans who had been imprisoned on Phu Quoc Island during the war against the U.S. imperialists. Phu Quoc jail was originally constructed by the French colonialists in 1949-50 to house Vietnamese who resisted their control of the country, and during Vietnam’s struggle for national reunification held more than 40,000 prisoners at a time. President Sang was himself jailed in Phu Quoc from 1971 to 1973.
Cultural and artistic events are also being held to mark the important anniversary.
An exhibition highlighting international support for the Vietnamese people’s struggle for independence and national reunification from 1954 to 1975 will open April 24 at the Vietnam National Museum of History in Hanoi. The exhibit features almost 130 photos and artifacts from close to 50 European, Asian and African countries, alongside nearly 30 displays of the work of international workers’, anti-war, student, legal, youth, women’s and democratic organizations, as well as organizations across the world that supported and contributed to Vietnam’s success in defeating the U.S. imperialists. The fourth International Choir Competition will be held in Quang Nam province on April 30 and May 1 in celebration of National Reunification Day and International Workers’ Day. More than 1,500 performers from 15 countries will compete in the event.
Thirty-two sculpted busts of Vietnamese women who contributed to the resistance wars against the French and U.S. will be on display at the Women’s Cultural House in Ho Chi Minh City in celebration of the anniversary until May 4. The sculptor, Thi Kim Thanh, travelled around the country for ten years meeting women who fought for Vietnamese independence and reunification, including generals, soldiers, spies, messengers, guerilla fighters and those who lost children in the war.
A nationally broadcast video conference celebrating the anniversary took place April 11 in Ho Chi Minh City featuring cultural and artistic performances, short documentaries and interviews with people and soldiers who took part in the campaign to liberate the city. The same day, the exhibition “Stories of Generals Imprisoned in Colonial Jails” opened in Ho Chi Minh City, showcasing nearly 150 photos and documents reflecting the revolutionary lives of generals such as Vo Nguyen Giap, Van Tien Dung, Hoang Van Thai, Nguyen Chi Tanh and Chu Muy Man.
(Nhan Dan, Vietnam News, Vietnam News Agency)
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Vietnam’s great economic achievements since liberation
Vietnam’s 40-year reconstruction since its reunification in 1975 has been hailed as a success story, with major international organizations and media taking note of the country’s rapid socio-economic development, the Vietnamese press notes.
The United Nations noted that after reunification, due to the severe damages caused by many years of war, policy weaknesses and a difficult international environment, Vietnam’s economy experienced a long period of crisis during the 1970s and 1980s. To overcome these difficulties the Doi Moi (renovation) process was initiated in 1986, and on the back of the reforms, the country has seen rapid economic growth.
Since 1990, Vietnam’s GDP nearly tripled based on an average annual GDP growth rate of 7.5 per cent – up until the global economic crisis in 2008. Growth suffered in 2008 (6.2 per cent) and 2009 (5.3 per cent) and remained sluggish in 2010 (6.3 per cent). Nevertheless, the percentage of the population living below the poverty line, estimated at 58 per cent in 1993 decreased to under 12 per cent in 2009. Domestic resources for development have increased and international trade and foreign direct investment have dramatically expanded over the past two decades.
The UN said the country’s two Socio-Economic Development Strategies (SEDS) for 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 have helped Vietnam advance from a largely poor, agricultural-based economy to a wealthier, market-based and rapidly developing one, increasingly integrated into the regional and global community, and the new SEDS from 2011-2020 aims to establish the foundation for Vietnam to become a modern, industrialized country by 2020.
According to the UN, these strategies and collective efforts have taken Vietnam from being one of the poorest countries in the world only a few decades ago to a rapidly growing middle income country. In general, Vietnam’s growth over the past two decades has been largely driven by a combination of steady economic reforms, integration into the world economy and a stable macroeconomic environment.
The World Bank also attributed Vietnam’s development success to the Doi Moi, noting that political and economic reforms launched in 1986 have transformed the country from one of the poorest countries in the world, with per capita income below U.S.$100, to a lower middle income country within a quarter century with per capita income of more than U.S.$2,000 by the end of 2014. To date, Vietnam has achieved most and in some cases surpassed a number of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly the goals for poverty reduction, education and gender equality. The percentage of people living in poverty dropped from almost 60 per cent in the 1990s to under 10 per cent today.
The World Bank cited figures that showed Vietnam’s growth rate has averaged 6.4 per cent per year for the last decade, adding that while the growth has begun to slow recently, Vietnam has managed to improve macroeconomic stability, with headline inflation falling from a peak of 23 per cent in August 2011 to about 4.1 per cent for 2014. The external sector continues to be an important engine of growth.
It underlined the country’s SEDS 2011-2020 which gives attention to structural reforms, environmental sustainability, social equity, and emerging issues of macroeconomic stability.
The World Bank also pointed to the fact that the Vietnamese government has recently paid more attention to improving the business environment, with two Resolutions issued in March 2014 and March 2015, setting out concrete actions to remove obstacles to doing business in Vietnam, with a goal of achieving a business environment comparable to the average of the ASEAN+6 group (i.e., the Association of Southeast Asian Nations – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam – plus their six major trading partners: China, India, Japan, south Korea, Australia and New Zealand).
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) highlighted that Vietnam has been among the fastest growing economies in the world since 1990, but the pace slowed down during 1998-2003 due to slow structural reforms and the instability in the global economy.
During a visit to Vietnam in 2014, ADB President Takehiko Nakao said in order to strengthen the achievements and restore rapid and comprehensive economic growth, the country should intensify structural reforms, particularly in state-owned enterprises and the banking sector, while the government should tighten public debt control through increasing tax revenue and rationalizing public spending.
The ADB President also noted that the private sector plays an important role in improving the country’s competitiveness and avoiding the middle-income trap. According to him, Vietnam should try to optimize benefits from global economic integration through enhancing trade and investment on the basis of deeper integration into the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and free trade agreements.
The ADB’s latest report on Asia’s development outlook in 2015 stressed priority should be placed on strengthening the banking system and outlining a clear strategy to tackle bad debts in the short term.
In addition, Vietnam needs to speed up divestment of state-owned enterprises and accelerate their equitization process, according to the ADB’s report, which also urged local enterprises’ greater participation in the so-called global value chain – i.e., to play a role in the global chain of production of various goods – so as to “leverage the fullest growth potential.”
Bloomberg recently ran an article which said Vietnam is once again poised for greater economic growth. “Money pouring into the Southeast Asian economy from the likes of manufacturers Samsung Electronics Co. and Intel Corp. is giving Vietnam a second run at becoming Asia’s next tiger economy,” it said.
The article quoted PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as saying that the country has the potential to become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies over the period to 2050, adding that the Southeast Asian nation is gaining ground as a cheaper manufacturing alternative to neighbouring China, and is also a destination for Japanese firms boosting investment in the region amid recurring Sino-Japan spats.
The article cited reports that in 2014 the country overtook other ASEAN members to become the biggest exporter to the U.S., while disbursed foreign investment in the country reached U.S.$12.35 billion in 2014, up 7.4 per cent from 2013 and compared with U.S.$2.4 billion in 2000.
It reported the Vietnamese government is working on some of the economy’s biggest milestones, and quoted Dang Quyet Tien, Deputy General Director of the Finance ministry’s Corporate Finance Department as saying in an interview March 13 that Vietnam will attempt to sell a record number of shares in state-owned companies this year.
Source for all articles and photos: TML Weekly, April 25, 2015 – No. 17
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