German president praises partnership, raises rights issues in Vietnam


DPA | January 24, 2024

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed concerns on Wednesday about the human rights situation in Vietnam during a state visit to the country.

Steinmeier, speaking at the Vietnamese-German University in Ho Chi Minh City, said that although Vietnam and Germany share some values in common, there are things that still stand in the way of mutual cooperation or that worry Berlin - "for example in the area of freedom of the press and freedom of opinion."

"The fact that we can address these issues with mutual respect shows how strong our partnership is," Steinmeier added.

Human rights organizations have accused Vietnam's Communist leadership of violating basic human rights. The advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders, for example, ranks the country 178th out of 180 in terms of press freedom.

But Steinmeier emphasized cooperation in the speech, which came at the end of his visit to Vietnam.

"For us Germans, Vietnam is an anchor in the region and we are very interested in a close exchange," he said.

As export nations, both countries face similar challenges, Steinmeier said, and cited similar concerns about ongoing problems at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"Vietnam and Germany, which benefit so much from an open world trade system, would do well to drive forward the reform of the WTO and promote networking, trade and cooperation around the world," Steinmeier said.

Steinmeier is scheduled to continue his foreign trip with a visit to neighbouring Thailand.




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