(Discours disponible uniquemen en anglais)
Dear Chairman Hoang Dan Mac,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you so much for your warm welcome.
This is my first visit to Viet Tri, in Phu Tho Province. I am really looking forward to discovering it, especially the Hung King's Temple, a place close to the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people. I feel honored to be able to visit the tomb of the first King of Vietnam. I am told that the annual Hung King's festival will take place at the end of March. I know this is a great celebration for you and I wish you every success in preparing for it.
I would also like to congratulate Phu Tho Province on UNESCO's decision to recognize the 'Xoan' song as world intangible cultural heritage and I support your efforts to promote Xoan singing in schools.
Belgium and Vietnam have a long history of friendship - it will be 40 years in 2013. Our bilateral relations have always been excellent. I have come to Vietnam now with a large economic mission presided over by my husband, Prince Philippe. We attach great value to the good commercial cooperation between our two countries. But many Vietnamese have come to study in Belgium, too. We appreciate these alumni and their commitment very much.
Finally, Belgium continues to support Vietnam's development in various fields.
This afternoon I will visit a project to cultivate safe vegetables in Tan Duc Commune. It is important, I believe, to promote the development of sustainable agricultural chains - chains in which organized farming families benefit from fair and stable trade relations and increase their incomes. This particular project takes an even wider approach as it tackles issues of food safety and recognizes the important role of women. I am looking forward to meeting the farmers, visiting their gardens and listening to their stories.
2012 is the Year of the Dragon, a year said to have the potential to breathe life-changing fire, to be magical, even mythical. I hope it is still not too late to wish you a happy New Year: "Chuc mung nam moi".
Cam on qui vi! (Thank you everyone)