A statue of former Swedish prime minister, Olof Palme, was inaugurated in Hanoi on Thursday June 2. This was the starting pistol to a weekend of diplomatic charm offensive where strong ties between Swedish and Vietnam have become even stronger.
The statue was raised in the new building of the Central Vietnam National Hospital of Pediatrics – a hospital that Palme himself supported the building of.
Palme’s has great importance, not only for the interrelation between Sweden and Vietnam, but also for Vietnam. The former prime minister was a great friend of the nation and supported it in its struggle for liberation. As Swedish prime minister in 1969 – 1976 and again from 1982 – 1986 he strengthened bonds between the two nations, persuading cooperation and support for Vietnam’s national reconstruction. For example by facilitating the building of Central Vietnam National Hospital of Pediatrics and many more projects. In many ways Palme laid the foundation for the strong Swedish-Vietnamese bond, which is still present today.
Addressing the ceremony, Director of the Hospital Le Thanh Hai spoke highly of Sweden’s support for Vietnam, particularly in children’s health care, and noted that:
“The late PM contributed greatly to cooperation between the two nations.”
The Embassy of Sweden in Vietnam, including ambassador, Camilla Melander, attended the ceremony. She just wrote an article in VietNamNet Bridge today – on the occasion of the Swedish National Day, June 6, stating that she hoped for a developing strong relationship between Sweden and Vietnam:
“Around 60 Swedish companies are already well-established here, but we see a new surge of interest from Swedish companies that are now looking at Viet Nam, from big multinational to medium and small-sized enterprises. The Embassy together with Business Sweden is working actively to support those entering or expanding into the Vietnamese market, and the EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement entering into force in 2018 will open up further trade opportunities.” she wrote.
Pierre Schori, Swedish politican, diplomat and close assistant to Palme, attended as a special envoy of the Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven. Schori also met with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh at a reception on Friday June 3.
On this occasion Minh thanked Sweden’s support to Vietnam in poverty reduction, health care, energy, judicial affairs, rural development, and administrative reform, which he said, have made practical contributions to Vietnam’s development, as he implied the importance of Sweden as an economic partner and urged diplomatic and commerce ties to remain strong.
Schori extended a message from Löfven, in which he wished to “deepen the special ties across the economy, education-training, science-technology, maritime safety, marine environment, water resources and marine-based economy.”
2016 is the 30th year of Olof Palme’s assassination.