First meeting of overseas Vietnamese unions opens

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Vietnam's first meeting of leaders of Viet kieu's associations across the world opened in the Central Highlands resort town of Da Lat on Friday, with the participation of 150 representatives from 32 countries.

The three-day event was convened by the foreign ministry's State Committee on Vietnamese Overseas in cooperation with other agencies.

Hoang Dinh Thang, chairman of the union of Vietnamese in Czech, said the government needs to make more policies encouraging Viet kieu to attend the country's activities, such as voting and joining the National Assembly.

Local security forces also need to improve their cooperation with foreign countries and justice agencies to strictly handle attacks on overseas Vietnamese and their properties, Thang said.

Other representatives, such as Thérèse Nguyen Van Ky, chairman of the union of Vietnamese in France, said government assistance to promote Vietnam's culture and customs, and teach Vietnamese language are needed as well.

In the meantime, President Truong Tan Sang wrote in his letter to meeting attendees that he hopes the unions of overseas Vietnamese will keep developing, to help improve the relations between Vietnam and their host countries, as well as to make contributions to the development of their fatherland.

According to Nguyen Son, chairman of the State Committee on Vietnamese Overseas, more than four million Vietnamese are living, studying and working in 103 countries and territories around the world.

Every year, Viet kieu make some 500,000 arrivals in Vietnam, said Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thi Doan.

Last year Vietnam's overseas remittance generated more than US$8 billion and some $7 billion as of this year's third quarter, Doan said.

Meanwhile, as of last year, approximately 3,500 businesses have been established by Viet kieu or with their contributions, creating a total investment of some $11 billion, she added.

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