Willkommen auf den Seiten des Auswärtigen Amts
The last time we were able to celebrate German Unity Day here at the residence was three years ago, for the obvious reason of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the meantime, fortunately, life has largely returned to normal - not least because of the successful vaccination campaign. But the pandemic is not over yet. Infections and deaths continue worldwide. So let's remember the many victims of the pandemic: the dead, the people who are struggling with the long-term effects of the disease, and the people who are suffering in many ways from the effects of the pandemic - from psychological to economic.
Of course, Intergovernmental cooperation has also been affected by the pandemic. Many of the important personal encounters could not take place. A large part of our planned projects, for example for the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations or the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership, could not be carried out.
And yet we have cooperated in new and intense ways during the pandemic. For example, Germany has donated more than 10 million vaccine doses and valuable, life-saving medical equipment to Vietnam. This collaboration will continue. As a result, we can say that Germany and Vietnam have not distanced themselves from each other during the pandemic, but have come closer to each other. The German-Vietnamese friendship has stood the test of time during the pandemic.
This is encouraging; because the pandemic is one of the global challenges that humanity is currently facing and that states cannot master alone, but only together. Another of these challenges is climate change. Here, too, states are dependent on international cooperation.
We congratulate Vietnam on its ambitious goals, as announced by Prime Minister Chinh at last year's COP26 conference: carbon neutrality by 2050 and phase-out of coal-fired energy by the 2040s. Germany is willing to make significant efforts to support Vietnam in achieving these goals. We want to get involved with others in a „Just Energy Transition Partnership“ with Vietnam. Germany is building on years of development cooperation in the areas of energy and environmental protection.
Just as international support is necessary to achieve Vietnam’s ambitious goals in the climate sector, so too must all Vietnamese forces be mobilized. In addition to the Government and the business community, this also includes the many people who are committed to these goals either individually or together with others within the framework of non-governmental organizations. Their participation is essential for the achievement of these goals, but also far beyond that.
In addition to the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change, I would like to address a third global challenge. This is the disregard and violation of the international rules-based order and international law. Currently, the most serious case is the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. This is not a regional conflict, but a conflict with global implications. We feel this, for example, in the increased energy and food prices. Countries around the world, including those in Asia and Africa, are suffering from Russia's war.
The norms that are violated here are part of the foundations of the coexistence of states. It is about territorial integrity and sovereignty, about the prohibition of the use of force and about resolving disputes by peaceful means. These norms are fundamental not only for Europe but for the whole world. If they are not observed in Europe, there is a risk that they will also be disregarded in other regions.
We know that Vietnam is a defender of international law and we want to work closely with Vietnam in this area as well.
In recent months, there has been a welcome revival in travel between our countries, including official delegations. This made numerous personal encounters possible. As an example, I would like to mention Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son's trip to Germany last week. In addition to Federal Foreign Minister Baerbock, he also met Federal President Steinmeier and Federal Council President Ramelow. Other high-level encounters will follow in the coming weeks and months.
Also economic relations are developing well. Here, too, I would like to give a positive example. Two weeks ago, the German company Messer, which produces industrial gases in Vietnam, celebrated the 25th anniversary of its presence in Vietnam with the inauguration of a new plant in Thai Nguyen. In the last 25 years, this company alone has invested more than 400 million euros in Vietnam.
In total, more than 350 German companies have invested almost 3 billion euros in Vietnam and provide employment to more than 50,000 people. The trend is positive, as can be seen from the many expressions of interest in just the last few weeks.
As you can see, German-Vietnamese relations are on the right track. This allows us to look to the future with confidence.