President reveals mission to strengthen relations with Vietnam
On Monday, Polish President Andrzej Duda met Vietnamese graduates of Polish universities in Hanoi, noting he had arrived, as the first Polish head of state in 18 years, on a mission to deepen political and economic ties between the two countries.
The president arrived in Vietnam earlier on Monday, alongside First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda.
"I am here as the president of the Republic of Poland, 18 years after the previous visit by the Polish head of state", he addressed the Vietnamese alumni of Polish universities.
"I came here", Andrzej Duda added, "to deepen relations between Poland and Vietnam, to strengthen political ties, but also to develop economic links - to forge a closer connection".
He told his Vietnamese audience that while studying in Poland, "you served, in a sense, as ambassadors of your state, of Vietnam".
"Now, having returned home, having returned to your motherland, you live here as graduates of Polish universities", the president noted.
"This means", he continued, "that you have been - often for many, many years - serving as representatives, ambassadors, delegates of the Polish Republic, of Poland, here in Vietnam".
The head of state pointed out almost 300 Vietnamese students were currently receiving education in Poland. He expressed his hope this number would soon rise further, not least because on Tuesday, Polish Science and Higher Education Minister Jaroslaw Gowin was set to sign an inter-governmental agreement with the Education Minister of Vietnam.
"Hopefully, thanks to this agreement, there will be even more Vietnamese students attending various Polish universities over the coming years", Andrzej Duda said.
This is all the more important as Vietnam's Poland-educated circles include ministers, deputy ministers, chairmen, directors and professors who, while working for their state and "being patriotic", still "remain friends of Poland, remain open to contacts with Poland".
The president also thanked the Vietnamese people "for every place in today's Vietnam, where you can learn Polish", expressing hope that such centres of Polishness would proliferate in the future, alongside Vietnamese translations of Polish literature.
In addition, Andrzej Duda decorated the Vietnamese alumni with state distinctions for their "special contribution to Polish-Vietnamese friendship and cooperation". For similar merits, he presented Pcha Khoi Nguyen, who heads the Association for Vietnamese-Polish Friendship (TPWP), with the Polish flag.
The latter vowed that "Poland will remain in our hearts forever", adding: "We miss the beautiful golden Polish autumn".
"We are proud and extremely happy with the economic achievements of the Polish nation", Pcha Khoi Nguyen added.
Poland is also present in Vietnamese culture, he added, thanks to a growing number of translations of Polish literature, with works by Henryk Sienkiewicz and Adam Mickiewicz having been published in Vietnamese over the past years, along with books from a host of contemporary Polish writers.
During the 4-day visit, the Polish head of state is scheduled to meet Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Secretary General of the Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong.
On the economic side, the president is accompanied by a delegation of 65 entrepreneurs, who will participate in a Vietnamese-Polish Economic Forum as well as hold business meetings with Vietnamese partners.
Andrzej Duda himself will attend the Forum and deliver a speech on bilateral economic relations, before attending the ceremony to open Polish Investment and Trade Agency (PAIH) office in Ho Chi Minh City. The office will seek to promote Polish business by organising economic missions as well as devising promotional and media campaigns. (PAP)