Schedule announced for Hollande's visit to Vietnam next month

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French President François Hollande pictured at the Élysée palace in Paris on July 11, 2016. Photo credit: Dominique Faget/AFP French President François Hollande pictured at the Élysée palace in Paris on July 11, 2016. Photo credit: Dominique Faget/AFP

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French President Francois Hollande will visit Vietnam between September 5 and 7, the French Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City said Friday.
Hollande is scheduled to have talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in Hanoi on September 6.
He will deliver a speech on the orientations of cooperation between France and Vietnam at the Vietnam National University in Hanoi on the same day.
According to the plan, the French leader will leave for Ho Chi Minh City in the evening, where he is scheduled to meet the city’s Party chief Dinh La Thang and People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong.
He will meet the French business community in the city on the morning of September 7.
Hollande will be the third French president to visit Vietnam, after François Mitterrand in 1993 and Jacques Chirac in 1997 and 2004.
In an interview with AFP earlier this month, Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang said he hopes France and other countries will help to diffuse regional tensions in the waterway.
"We highly welcome the cooperation from France and other nations in the process of maintaining peace and stability in the region and the world and on the East Sea," he said, using the Vietnamese term for the South China Sea.
Quang said Hollande's visit would help to boost military ties between the former colonial foes, as Hanoi has rapidly increased its defense budget in the last decade.
"Several directions for cooperation will be strengthened and opened, like... ensuring security, safety and freedom of maritime and aviation," Quang said in a statement to AFP after the interview.
France and Vietnam signed a strategic partnership agreement in 2013, which included boosted defense cooperation.

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