Prague, April 12 (CTK) – Vietnamese parliament chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, who is on a three-day visit to the Czech Republic, met Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, President Milos Zeman and the heads of both houses of Czech parliament and they discussed bilateral trade relations and the situation of the strong Vietnamese community based in the country today.
Zeman welcomed her with a bunch of flowers and wished her happy birthday at Prague Castle today.
They met within the preparation for Zeman’s trip to Vietnam scheduled for early June, his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said at a press conference on Tuesday.
After meeting Zeman, Ngan had talks with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Chamber of Deputies chairman Jan Hamacek (both Social Democrats, CSSD).
Sobotka and Ngan talked about the possible participation of Czech firms in the modernisation of Vietnam and development of its infrastructure, he said in a press release.
Ngan was invited to the Czech Republic by Senate chairman Milan Stech (CSSD).
Ngan told journalists that it was confirmed with top Czech politicians that the relations between the two countries have been friendly for a long time.
Stech said Vietnam is one of the closest Czech partners in southeast Asia. “Our countries are both quite economically successful and there is a lot to offer to one another,” he said.
Two years ago, Vietnamese president Truong Tan Sang visited the Czech Republic. During his visit, he promised Zeman at a business forum to remove administrative obstacles that prevented Czech firms from trading there. In early 2016, Tran Dai Quang was elected new Vietnamese president.
Immigration of the Vietnamese to the Czech Republic and their integration are the key issues in Czech-Vietnamese relations.
The Vietnamese became an official ethnic minority in the Czech Republic in 2013. They make up the third strongest minority after Slovaks and Ukrainians.
According to the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) data from 2015, some 60,000 Vietnamese live in the Czech Republic with a population of 10.5 million. However, the Vietnamese community says it has about 100,000 members.
In his previous statements, Zeman appreciated the contribution of the Vietnamese community to the Czech Republic. He said he considered the Vietnamese “a great example of diligence and entrepreneurial spirit.”
After the talks with Zeman, Ngan will meet Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and the heads of both houses of parliament, Milan Stech (Senate) and Jan Hamacek (Chamber of Deputies), all Social Democrats (CSSD).
In the morning, she talked to Czech-Vietnamese Association chairman Marcel Winter. Czech firms have long faced troubles with processing work permits for their employees in Vietnam, the association says.