As the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is in preparation for the realization of the ASEAN Community in 2015, both Thailand and Vietnam are moving closer together to get to know more about each other.
They are also taking steps to raise ASEAN awareness among their officials and people, since ASEAN matters will have effects on the lives of all members of the ASEAN Community.
A group of media practitioners from the Government Public Relations Department (PRD) paid a working visit to Hanoi on 13-18 May 2012, as part of the Media Practitioners Exchange Program under the Memorandum of Understanding between PRD and the Voice of Vietnam on Cooperation in the Field of Information and Broadcasting.
Apart from learning more from each other in various aspects, the visit also aimed to enhancing networking to help in the ASEAN community-building efforts. The group was provided with an opportunity to speak to Mr. Nguyen Tien Minh, Director-General of the Department of ASEAN Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, who said that the raising of ASEAN awareness among the public in Viet Nam has been carried out mainly through educational campaigns in schools and other educational institutions.
He said that officials have also been traveling to various regions of the country to talk about ASEAN with local leaders. By so doing, they will survey and assess the levels of ASEAN awareness among the general public. According to the latest assessment, ASEAN awareness among the Vietnamese people is at a satisfactory level.
The PRD media practitioners also interviewed His Excellency Mr. Anusorn Chinvanno, Thai Ambassador to Vietnam, who cited Thai-Vietnamese relations as very close and cordial. The two countries celebrated the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2011, with a variety of activities in both Thailand and Vietnam highlighting the extensive development in their bilateral relations.
He said that bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to almost nine billion US dollars in 2011. Thailand’s investment in Vietnam has also grown steadily. Its direct investment in Vietnam in 2011 reached more than six billion dollars, making Thailand the 10th largest group of foreign investors in Vietnam.
The Ambassador stressed the need for both countries to step up cultural cooperation and broaden knowledge about each other. In this regard, the media have a vital role to play in promoting ASEAN integration. People in this region share many similarities; the question is how to make them feel that they are in the same family of ASEAN.
Thailand is among the five founding members of ASEAN, which was established on 8 August 1967. Vietnam joined ASEAN on 28 July 1995.