Vietnam-Germany ties on even keel again

By Viet Anh, Anh Ngoc   November 4, 2018 | 02:01 pm GMT+7
Vietnam-Germany ties on even keel again
German Ambassador to Vietnam Christian Berger speaks at a conference to launch the German Festival in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy

Vietnam and Germany have got their bilateral relationship back on track after it soured over accusations of the “kidnapping” of a fugitive.

On Friday, the German Festival returned to Vietnam after a three-year hiatius.

Themed “German experiences in Hanoi,” the two-day festival was held near the Hoan Kiem (Sword) Lake in Hanoi.

At the launch of the event, German Ambassador to Vietnam Christian Berger said its activities reflect the diverse cooperation between the two countries.

There are up to 40 organizations, agencies and companies from Germany attending the event to present their services and products, aside from exhibitions on the relations between Vietnam and Germany, and meetings that gather Vietnamese alumni that return from courses in Germany, he said.

At a meeting in Germany with Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son, State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Andreas Michaelis, said he highly appreciates Vietnam's achievements in socio-economic development and international integration.

He said that the two nations have effectively cooperated at international and regional forums, and Vietnam has fulfilled its international commitments.

He also said Germany will continue to support Vietnam to train human resources for the Industrial Revolution 4.0, and to train and employ Vietnamese nurses.

The two sides agreed to increase cooperation in other areas like the judiciary and participation in peacekeeping operations within the United Nations.

Deputy Minister Son is on a state visit to Germany at the invitation from Germany’s foreign affairs ministry.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son (R) and Andreas Michaelis, State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Andreas Michaelis, meets in Germany on November 1. Photo courtesy of Vietnams Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son (R) and Andreas Michaelis, State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Andreas Michaelis, meets in Germany on November 1. Photo courtesy of Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The ‘kidnapping’

In early August last year, Vietnam said it regretted accusations made by the German government that it had “kidnapped” a former Vietnamese oil executive from Berlin to bring him home to face charges of financial malfeasance.

Le Thi Thu Hang, Vietnam's foreign ministry spokeswoman, then said at a press briefing that Trinh Xuan Thanh, who is accused of gross mismanagement at a subsidiary of national oil and gas giant PetroVietnam, had “turned himself in” to Vietnamese police in late July after a 10-month international manhunt.

A statement on the Ministry of Public Security's website, the only official source of the case in Vietnam, did not reveal why and how Thanh had returned to Vietnam. 

"Vietnam respects and wants to develop a strategic relationship with Germany," Hang said at the briefing.

Thanh, former board chairman and general director of PetroVietnam Construction Corporation, has received two life sentences for charges of mismanagement and embezzlement which caused losses of around VND3.2 trillion ($147 million) in total at the state oil giant.

Vietnam and Germany established strategic partnership in 2011. Germany is currently Vietnam's biggest trade partner in the EU.

 
 
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