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Appreciating the significance of China’s Anzac Day and Vietnam’s Liberation Day

DUE RECOGNITION: ‘s relationship with Vietnam is strategic and significant.I AM in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. I’m just a few hundred metres from where North Vietnamese army tank number 843 busted through the front gates of the then Presidential Palace in 1975 to symbolically end the “American war” and mark the beginning of the reunification of north and south Vietnam. While ns mark our national day of commemoration on April 25, Vietnamese will mark Liberation Day on April 30.
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I’m appreciative of being here in very different circumstances to those of my father. He was here in 1969-70 with the 106 Field Workshop in Nui Dat in Phuoc Tuy province. About 60,000 Aussies served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1972 in ’s longest war involvement until Afghanistan. Five hundred and twenty-one ns were killed. The total number of military and civilian Vietnamese killed varies widely depending on the estimating authority but ranges from just over a million to more than three million.

Why were n troops in Vietnam? To support an anti-communist regime? Some believe that by delaying the imminent fall of Saigon by a decade, other south-east Asian countries including Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand were provided with time to consolidate the political and economic resilience necessary to thwart the spread of communism. Others believe the price paid to stymie communism in Vietnam was way too high.

Vietnam today combines market and command economic systems. But decentralisation of political power to the provinces and an accompanying change of government’s role as social planner and decision-maker to facilitator and law-maker has been limited. Vietnam ended 2017 with a GDP growth rate of 6.8 per cent – the country’s best performance in a decade. It also experienced 30 per cent growth in tourism on 2016 figures. The roaring economy is fueling real estate speculation and development is thriving in HCMC. Since 2015, foreigners have been able to buy up to 30 per cent of apartments in condo projects.

A Pew Research Centre report shows 95 per cent of Vietnamese believe the free market system is the best for creating better living conditions. None of the populations in the other 44 advanced, emerging or developing countries surveyed recorded a score above 80 per cent. In the US, where socialism is a most often used as a pejorative term, just 70 per cent believed the free market system is best.Vietnam also rated highest among those 44 nations for parents believing their children would have better and more prosperous lives than they experienced.

But it isn’t all beer and skittles. Corruption is an ongoing problem. Dissent is muzzled. Environmental problems are cascading.

Last Thursday three n naval ships docked at Saigon port to mark the 20th anniversary of defence relations between and Vietnam and the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Our bilateral relationship is now a strategic partnership.

While Anzac Day is a day for commemoration, it also is a chanceto consider current relationships with former adversaries.’s relationship with Vietnam today provides opportunity for as much optimism as Vietnamese people have for their children’s future. Surely contemporary circumstances allow us to appreciate the significance of both Anzac Day to and Liberation Day to Vietnam.

Long may they both be recognised.

[email protected]苏州楼凤

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