Thua Thien-Hue lures tourists with Tet experience tours


Thua Thien – Hue: Tours offering foreign tourists with brand-new experience of local life during the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival have become special products of the central province of Thua Thien-Hue in recent days.

At Tram Homestay in Hue city, the owner’s family and a group of foreigners were making Chung (glutinous rice) cake and prepare for Tet like a big family.

Anton Schoderboeck from Australia said that he is strongly impressed at the sophisticated steps to make a Chung cake, adding that he had lots of fun joining the process.

The owner of the homestay, Dinh Thi Phuong Thy, said that she has planned various activities for visitors, especially foreigners, to experience traditional Tet practices such as making Chung cake and writing calligraphy. All the 300 Chung cakes made on this occasion will be delivered to the needy in the locality, she said.

This year, the ancient capital city of Hue expects a bright year for its tourism sector, as it has been voted as a world leading cultural destination and
one of the must-visit destinations in Asia.

During this Tet holidays, local travel firms have designed unique cultural products drawing great attention from tourists, including tours to explore Tet at local families, during which tourists will join the families in preparing for Tet, going to traditional markets to buy Tet stuff and decorate houses before Tet.

In the first month of 2024, Thua Thien-Hue enjoyed a surge of 25% in the number of tourists over the same time last year.

The local tourism sector expects a bustling season during the traditional New Year holidays.

Director of the Provincial Tourism Department Nguyen Van Phuc said that local resorts and hotels have been booked by 65%. Local relic sites are likely to welcome about 100 visitors each day during Tet from February 7-15, with foreigners accounting for 55%, he said./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

‘Xuan Que Huong’ programme held for OVs in Vientiane


Vientiane: A ‘Xuan Que Huong’ (Homeland Spring) programme was held by the Association of Vietnamese People in Vientiane in collaboration with the Vietnamese Embassy and the Vietnamese Cultural Centre in Laos on February 8 to bring the Lunar New Year (Tet) atmosphere to overseas Vietnamese (OVs) in the host country.

In his opening speech, Chairman of the Association Le Van Mui stated that it continued to promote its role in caring for the lives of its members and OVs with difficult circumstances, and coordinated with the embassy to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Vietnamese people in the Lao capital city.

He took the occasion to affirm that the association and its member clubs will continue developing, making more contributions and playing more important role in the host country’s society, contributing to strengthening the great friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos.

Counselor of the embassy Phan Minh Chien extended New Year greetings to OVs in
Vientiane, applauding them for their crucial contributions to the homeland’s development.

He expressed his belief that in the coming years, the Vietnamese community in Laos in general and OVs in Vientiane in particular will continue to strive together to build an united, strong, and successful association, contributing practically and effectively to Laos’s socio-economic development, and further strengthening the great friendship relationship between the two countries.

Within the framework of the programme, the Association of Vietnamese People in Vientiane presented 150 gift packages to disadvantaged Vietnamese expats living in the Lao capital city./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Phu Quoc welcomes nearly 2,000 European visitors on last day of lunar year


Kien Giang: Cruise ship Aida Bella docked at Phu Quoc island in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang, bringing 1,979 European tourists to the ‘pearl island’ on February 9, or the last day of the lunar year.

The group are scheduled to explore Phu Quoc night market, Vinwonders entertainment complex, and Vinpearl Safari, take cable cars to Hon Thom island, and visit Hon (kissing) bridge.

They will also enjoy the best beaches of Phu Quoc and small islands, visit traditional craft villages, and try local dishes before leaving the island at night on the same day.

Earlier on February 2, Italian-flagged cruise ship Costa Serena also carried 1,100 foreign tourists to Phu Quoc.

Bui Quoc Thai, Director of the Kien Giang Department of Tourism, said that since the beginning of this year, especially on the threshold of the Lunar New Year (Tet) holidays, Phu Quoc has welcomed a large number of foreign tourists, signaling a good year for the local tourism sector.

So far this year, the famous tourist destination has s
erved more than 502,000 travelers, including 82,615 foreigners, up 6.1% year on year, earning about 1.76 trillion VND (72.05 million USD)./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Tet gathering held for Vietnamese experts working for UN agencies


New York: The Permanent Mission of Vietnam to the United Nations (UN) hosted a meeting with Vietnamese experts working for UN agencies in New York on February 8 on the occasion of the Lunar New Year (Tet) – the biggest festival of Vietnam.

In his speech, Ambassador Dang Hoang Giang, head of the mission, showed his appreciation for the contributions by Vietnamese experts to the UN’s activities in general, as well as for their companionship and cooperation with the mission in many fronts in recent times.

The diplomat emphasised that in the context of many difficulties and challenges in the world, Vietnam’s foreign affairs work, including multilateral diplomacy and international integration, continues to be a bright spot, actively contributing to increasing Vietnam’s reputation and position in the international arena.

He expressed his hope that Vietnamese experts, no matter what position they hold, will also continue to well perform their role of representing Vietnamese intelligence and identity at the UN, wh
ile maintaining close connection and coordination with the mission, especially in effectively implementing UN programmes and projects, realising sustainable development goals, as well as in community and public affairs with the host country.

Vietnamese experts affirmed that they will always accompany and support the mission in completing all assigned tasks.

There are currently about 20 Vietnamese experts working for UN agencies such as the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Development Program (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Secretariat of the UN./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

CJ Perez named PBA Comm’s Cup Best PlayerFor the development of bilateral relations, the visit set the development goal with the six targets of stronger political trust, more substantial defence-security cooperation, deeper tangible collaboration, firmer social foundation, closer multilateral coordination, and better management and settlement of differences.

MANILA: CJ Perez of San Miguel Beer was the runaway winner of the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Perez received the top local award for the season-opening tournament before Game 4 of the conference finals between Magnolia and San Miguel at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Friday night.

Perez topped the voting among the media and the players, which catapulted him to his first BPC award.

The San Miguel winger got all but one of first-place votes from the media for 505 points and 18 out of 28 first-place votes from the players for 86 points.

He finished with a total 1,055 points, way ahead of runner-up Christian Standhardinger.

The Ginebra big man, who was number one in the statistical points up to the semifinals, amassed 777 points.

NorthPort’s Arvin Tolentino was third with 559 points, TNT’s Calvin Oftana was fourth with 472, and Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson finished fifth with 446.

Meanwhile, in a huge shocker, Phoenix’s Johnathan Williams got the better of co
nference finalists Tyler Bey of Magnolia and Bennie Boatwright of San Miguel in a tight Best Import race.

The media votes turned out to be the deciding factors as Williams, a National Basketball Association veteran, got 30 first-place votes for 424 points.

Williams was second in the stats race and only finished third in the player votes without a first-place vote but he topped the race with 1,017 points.

Williams became the first import since Meralco’s Arinze Onuaku in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup to win Best Import honors even if his team did not make the finals.

The Fuel Masters making the semifinals behind his all-around game turned out to be enough of a narrative to sway the votes in his favor.

Bey, who topped the player votes, was second with 908 points, while Boatwright, who was number one in the stats race and number two in the player votes, was third with 878.

Ginebra’s Tony Bishop was fourth with 506.

San Miguel leads the best-of-seven series, 2-1.

Source: Philippines News Agency

The targets have comprehensive connotations, clearly defining the development direction for the China-Vietnam relations in all aspects. I believe that after this visit, the China-Vietnam relations will undoubtedly enter a new development phase, with substantive cooperation between the two countries in various fields being improved, upgraded, and further strengthened.



Reporter: Over the past few months, trade activities between Vietnam and China have been vibrant and favourable with the reopening and upgrade of several border gates. What should both countries do in the coming time to make the development of the Vietnam – China economic, trade, and investment relations to continue developing robustly and sustainably?



Ambassador Xiong Bo: We are delighted to see that, after the pandemic prevention efforts entered a new phase, China and Vietnam have fully resumed their regular economic and trade cooperation. Many border gates between the two countries have been resumed operation and upgraded. Some border gates were upgraded into international ones, facilitating the travel between the nations. The economic, trade, and investment cooperation between China and Vietnam has entered a new stage with a more vibrant development trend.



According to China’s latest statistics, the China-Vietnam trade turnover in 2023 reached nearly 230 billion USD (229.8 billion USD). Vietnam’s exports to China amounted to 92.18 billion USD, marking a 4.8% increase. China is one of the few export markets of Vietnam that maintains positive growth, proving the importance of the Chinese market as well as that of the China-Vietnam cooperative relations.



China is a market with immense potential. Vietnam’s agricultural exports to China maintain considerable growth, especially fruits and vegetables. The export revenue of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables to China has seen rapid growth, notably in the export of durians. Vietnam earned over 2 billion USD from exporting durians to China in 2023, surpassing the set target of USD 1 billion. China’s investment into Vietnam in the year surged by 77.6% to 4.47 billion USD. This indicates a significant interest from Chinese companies in the Vietnamese market and its development potential.



I believe that this trend will continue in the coming time. For instance, recently, I noticed several Chinese companies operating in the solar energy industry have plans to increase their investments in Vietnam. Some businesses have entered the second phase and are planning to build the third. All these indicate promising prospects for economic, trade, and investment cooperation between China and Vietnam. I am confident that substantial collaboration between the two countries will further develop.



In the time to come, we need to sustain this momentum. Firstly, it is necessary to continue and intensify the policy exchanges, with the high-level strategic exchange between leaders of the two countries being the most important. In 2024, the two nations will continue high-level visits in both the channel of the China – Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation and within the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ and the ‘Two corridors, One belt’ framework.



The two sides have signed a connectivity plan, and will push for its implementation this year.



The two countries are focusing on promoting the comprehensive connection of road, sea, and air networks, and internet connection. In particular, the two sides attach great importance to the acceleration of the railway infrastructure connection and bring into full play the geographical advantages of land and sea contiguity of China and Vietnam.



China will actively support Vietnam in speeding up the construction of the Lao Cai – Hanoi – Hai Phong standard-gauge railway and conducting feasibility studies, and assist Vietnam in planning the Dong Dang – Hanoi and Mong Cai – Ha Long – Hai Phong railway lines. For the construction of other railway lines in Vietnam, China is also willing to actively cooperate and provide support in line with Vietnam’s demands.



China actively supports Vietnam in accelerating its industrialisation and modernisation, and in realising development goals set by the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV); encourages Chinese enterprises with strength, expertise, and capability which are interested in investing into Vietnam, especially in digital economy, green development, energy transition, information and communication, agricultural development, and mineral exploitation cooperation.



Furthermore, we are ready to strengthen cooperation with Vietnam in the field of new energy vehicle (NEV), and assist Vietnam in releasing its net-zero emissions goal by 2050.



Reporter: Recently, a young artist from Vietnam participated in a television game show in China, garnering positive attention, and a well-known Vietnamese coffee brand has also increased its presence in China. These activities, to some extent, have help contribute to promoting people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. Could you please say more about specific measures to increase people-to-people exchange activities and youth exchanges between the two nations?



Ambassador Xiong Bo: Mutual understanding and cultural exchanges between the two peoples form an indispensable foundation for the development of China-Vietnam relations.



To realise this objective, first of all we need to further strengthen objective and genuine mutual understanding. To do so, we need to enhance direct people-to-people exchanges and encourage more Chinese tourists to visit Vietnam and vice versa, and increase the number of Vietnamese young people studying and living in China.



In the past, the two Parties and peoples stood side by side, supporting each other throughout the years of war, as well as in the struggles for national independence and liberation. This ‘both comrades and brothers’ friendship tradition needs to be carried forward by the younger generations of both nations.



Under the leadership of the two Parties, Vietnam and China are building socialism suitable to each country’s conditions, advancing the building of a distinctive path to modernisation of each country. China has achieved remarkable successes, capturing global attention and becoming the world’s second-largest economy. Vietnam has also attained significant accomplishments too, maintaining stable and rapid economic development. It is crucial for the people of both countries to understand this, and this is also part of the mutual understanding.



Thirdly, to strengthen people-to-people connectivity. Culture, art, cinematographic products, music, and tourism, etc., also serve as effective channels to further intensify mutual understanding.



Reporter: With the joint efforts of 12 countries, including Vietnam and China, the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly for the first time passed a resolution officially designating the Lunar New Year as an annual UN holiday. How do you evaluate the event?



Ambassador Xiong Bo: The Lunar New Year is a common traditional festival for the people of China and Vietnam. Besides China and Vietnam, the festival is also a significant occasion for many countries around the world, representing an important factor of the oriental culture. The United Nations General Assembly’s recognition is a matter of course, and I am pleased about it.



On this occasion, through the Vietnam News Agency, I would like to extend my best New Year greetings to the Vietnamese people. I wish that Vietnam, under the resolute leadership of the CPV Central Committee led by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, will gain new achievements in realising the goals set forth by the 13th National Congress of the CPV, and in continuing to push up the socio-economic development across every sector. I wish Vietnam peace, prosperity, well-being and happiness.





Source: Vietnam News Agency



CJ Perez named PBA Comm’s Cup Best Player


MANILA: CJ Perez of San Miguel Beer was the runaway winner of the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Perez received the top local award for the season-opening tournament before Game 4 of the conference finals between Magnolia and San Miguel at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Friday night.

Perez topped the voting among the media and the players, which catapulted him to his first BPC award.

The San Miguel winger got all but one of first-place votes from the media for 505 points and 18 out of 28 first-place votes from the players for 86 points.

He finished with a total 1,055 points, way ahead of runner-up Christian Standhardinger.

The Ginebra big man, who was number one in the statistical points up to the semifinals, amassed 777 points.

NorthPort’s Arvin Tolentino was third with 559 points, TNT’s Calvin Oftana was fourth with 472, and Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson finished fifth with 446.

Meanwhile, in a huge shocker, Phoenix’s Johnathan Williams got the better of co
nference finalists Tyler Bey of Magnolia and Bennie Boatwright of San Miguel in a tight Best Import race.

The media votes turned out to be the deciding factors as Williams, a National Basketball Association veteran, got 30 first-place votes for 424 points.

Williams was second in the stats race and only finished third in the player votes without a first-place vote but he topped the race with 1,017 points.

Williams became the first import since Meralco’s Arinze Onuaku in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup to win Best Import honors even if his team did not make the finals.

The Fuel Masters making the semifinals behind his all-around game turned out to be enough of a narrative to sway the votes in his favor.

Bey, who topped the player votes, was second with 908 points, while Boatwright, who was number one in the stats race and number two in the player votes, was third with 878.

Ginebra’s Tony Bishop was fourth with 506.

San Miguel leads the best-of-seven series, 2-1.

Source: Philippines News Agency