Establishing a firm foundation for Vietnam-Vatican diplomatic relations

(VOVworld) – Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung will visit the Vatican on October 18 as part of his European tour. Based on the fine relations between Vietnam and the Vatican in recent years, Prime Minister Dung’s visit will deepen bilateral diplomatic ties for the future.

Establishing a firm foundation for Vietnam-Vatican diplomatic relations  - ảnh 1
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met with Pope Benedict XVI in 2007

A Vatican press release said Pope Francis and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung will meet on October 18 to discuss ways to enhance bilateral relations.

Dialogue is the platform for building and promoting Vietnam-Vatican relations

Since 1990 a dialogue between Vietnam and the Vatican has broadened mutual understanding, which is the foundation for both sides to reach common views and foster bilateral relations for common and individual interest.

A landmark in Vietnam-Vatican relations was the meeting between Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on January 25, 2007. The event was the outcome of a dialogue that began in 1990. It was an opportunity for Prime Minister Dung to repeat Vietnam’s consistent foreign policy: “The Vietnamese Government has always respected its relations with the Vatican. Vietnam will continue to engage in direct dialogue with the Vatican based on agreed principles of mutual respect and non-intervention in the other’s external affairs. Vietnam hopes the Vatican will encourage the Vietnamese Catholic community to support the nation and contribute to strengthening Vietnam-Vatican relations.”

Another major step was a meeting between President Nguyen Minh Triet and Pope Benedict XVI on December 11, 2009, at the Vatican. The Vatican said in a communiqué that “The Holy See expressed its pleasure at the visit, a significant stage in the progress of bilateral relations with Vietnam.”

Generating mechanism to accelerate bilateral cooperation

As a follow-up to the meetings, a joint team of experts led by their Deputy Foreign Ministers was formed. Since then the two have taken turns hosting an annual dialogue. With a frank and open attitude, the talks have resolved such issues as appointing personnel to Vietnamese Catholic churches, establishing new dioceses, sending dignitaries to study abroad, and the Vietnam Catholic Church inviting foreign Catholic organizations and individuals to participate in religious activities in Vietnam.

During their visits to Vietnam, Vatican dignitaries have been cordially received by functional agencies at all levels and by Catholic dignitaries and followers. The Vatican has learned much about Vietnam’s land, people, history, and culture.

Vietnam’s unswerving policy on religious freedom

Vietnam has always respected and ensured people’s freedom of belief and religion. Vietnam’s religious policy has been verified by the Vatican during working visits over the past 2 decades. Under-Secretary for Relations with States and Head of the Vatican delegation Antoine Camilleri said at the 5th meeting of the Vietnam-Vatican Joint Working Team in Hanoi in September that they received a friendly and open welcome by the Vietnamese people and could serve a good spiritual life in Vietnam.

With that good foundation, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to the Vatican and his meeting with Pope Francis will elevate Vietnam-Vatican relations, benefiting about 6 million Vietnamese Catholics, and contribute to peace and stability.