During the meeting, General Vinh provided updated information about Vietnam's COVID-19 situation, and emphasized the participation of the entire political system in preventing the disease, of which the military has always been the leading force.

He also stressed the importance of international cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and affirmed that Vietnam is ready to share its experiences with France via online conferences, which has been an effective mode of communication with the other countries' military medicine sector in recent time.

General Vinh passed along Vietnamese Defense Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich’s congratulation to Ms. Florence Parly for taking over the French Minister of the Armed Forces position, and invited her to visit Vietnam and take part in the multilateral activities that will be held at the end of the year.

Deputy Defense Minister Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh

For her part, Alice Guitton informed General Vinh of the COVID-19 pandemic developments in the country and the role of the French armed forces in preventing the disease over the past time.

She highly appreciated the outstanding achievements and great efforts of Vietnam in controlling the pandemic, and expressed her deep thanks to the Vietnamese Government, people, and businesses for their support. These activities demonstrate the good friendship between the two countries, especially in such a difficult time, she added.

On this occasion, the two sides reviewed their bilateral defense cooperation, and pledged to further boost their defense cooperation despite the COVID-19 pandemic. They also agreed to continue promoting cooperation in many other fields, especially in maintaining regular bilateral mechanisms and strategic defense dialogues between the two countries.

General Vinh stressed that Vietnam has always attached great importance to defense cooperation with France, and expressed his thanks to the French side for assisting Vietnam in training programs and pre-deployment training courses for Vietnamese forces participating in the United Nations peacekeeping operations.

He suggested that the two sides should cooperate in exchanging memorable objects relating to the war and sending delegations to visit the old battlefields. These activities aim to strengthen trust, consolidate friendship and boost cooperation between the two peoples, thus effectively deepening the two countries' strategic partnership.

Regarding the multilateral cooperation, General Vinh thanked the French Government for supporting Vietnam and the European Union (EU) in the signing of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA). He informed the French side of plans for organizing activities on the occasion of Vietnam’s assumption of the roles of the ASEAN Chair 2020 and a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the 2020 – 2021 tenure. The activities will include organizing a conference on women on U.N. peacekeeping missions and a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+).

Ms. Alice Guitton said she highly appreciates Vietnam's position and role in the international and regional arena, and expressed her support for Vietnam's initiatives and plans to organize these activities in the year when it takes on the dual role.

She noted that France and other French-speaking areas are ready to continue sharing experiences with Vietnam in U.N. peacekeeping operations.

Translated by Lam Anh