The renewal of Franco-Vietnamese relations has been boosted unexpectedly by an unscheduled round of talks in Thailand.
The renewal of Franco-Vietnamese relations has been boosted unexpectedly by an unscheduled round of talks in Thailand. The French Foreign Minister, Louis de Guiringaud, is in Southeast Asia and on Friday (8 September) he held surprise talks with the Vietnamese Premier, Pham Van Dong, at a military airport near Bangkok, Thailand.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Dong was in Thailand for his first official visit to a member country of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -- a grouping Hanoi firmly opposed until recently. Observers see his trip as a fresh bid to court friendship among non-Communist nations.
His unscheduled meeting with Mr. Guiringaud at a Thai military airport served to settle an upset earlier in the week. Mr. Guiringaud had arrived in Hanoi on the first French Ministerial visit since the end of France's colonial war in Indochina in 1954. But he found the Vietnamese Premier had departed for his Thailand visit. Diplomatic sources said the French Minister was so infuriated at Mr. Dong's absence that he considered cancelling his Vietnam trip.
But after the Thailand meeting, officials said it was clear Franco-vietnamese relations were starting again. Mr. Dong's visit to a non-communist neighbour also coincided with a call by Mr. Guiringaud for all major powers to stop using South East Asia as a forum for the pursuit of their rivalries.