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Posts Tagged ‘Southeast’

Int’l team studying Southeast Asia’s longest rampart in VN

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2010 at 9:01 am

A scientific seminar on restoring and preserving a centuries-old rampart in the central region was held by Hanoi’s Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO – the French Academy of the Far East) in the central province of Quang Ngai on April 16 with attendance of many local and foreign scientists.

A team of international scientists study the longest rampart in Southeast Asia, located in Vietnam’s Quang Ngai Province.

The fortified wall is considered the longest and largest scale rampart in the country and also the entire Southeast Asian region. 

The 200-km rampart is believed to have been built before the 17th century by people and troops under the leadership of Le Van Duyet, a military dignitary of the Nguyen Dynasty.

And while it has been left to degrade for hundreds of years, the rampart – made skillfully with soil and stone – is still in relatively good condition, according to experts.

The western wall of the rampart runs along the Truong Son mountain range through the Quang Ngai districts of Tra Bong, Son Tinh, Son Ha, Tu Nghia, Minh Long, Nghia Hanh, Ba To, Duc Pho, and Binh Dinh.

It then runs into the districts of An Lao and Hoai Nhon in the neighboring province of Binh Dinh, separating the plain and highland.

On high slopes and challenging mountainous areas that are difficult to access, the wall was mainly made of stone to avoid landslides and hold up in unpredictable weather. To this day, these areas have remained almost completely undamaged, said Andrew Hardy of the EFEO.

The rampart’s largest sections measure 4 meters in height and 2.5 meters in width. It also crosses several streams and rivers and includes 115 military posts for 15-20 sentries each.

People in Duc Pho District call the wall Duong cai quan thuong (interprovincial highway) because of its role in protecting the important National Road 1A, which links Vietnam’s north and south.

According to Professor Phan Huy Le, chairman of the Viet Nam Association of History Science, the rampart was formerly used as a multi-function road serving military, economy, business and traffic purposes in the country.

The most urgent task now is restoring and preserving the wall, as well as studying its historical and cultural value, Prof. Le stressed.

Ph.D. Nguyen Dang Vu, a folk culture expert and director of the Quang Ngai Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the department is now drafting a proposal to submit to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to have the rampart recognized as a provincial and national relic.

Professor Christopher Young, head of the Heritage Council’s Consulting Board of the UK, said the rampart is indeed highly valuable and has been preserved well so far.

Local authorities should focus on raising people’s awareness about the importance of protecting this piece of heritage and build safety corridors with a width of 550 meters each on either side of the rampart, Prof. Young added.

Source: SGGP

Southeast Asian river countries meet China over dam fears

In Uncategorized on April 4, 2010 at 9:24 am

HUA HIN, Thailand, April 4, 2010 (AFP) – Southeast Asian nations on the shrinking lower Mekong River began talks with China Sunday amid fears that its dams are further depleting the waterway’s lowest levels in decades.

A Chinese delegation was due to hold talks in the Thai coastal town of Hua Hin ahead of a Monday meeting to be attended by Beijing’s Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao and the premiers of Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

Leaders will discuss management of the vast river, on which more than 60 million people depend, amid a crippling drought in the region and controversy surrounding the role of hydropower dams, said summit spokesman Damian Kean.

Men sit fishing on a bank of the drought-hit Mekong River at Hom village in the suburds of Vientiane on March 27, 2010. AFP photo

“This is to reaffirm the countries’ political commitment to transboundary cooperation on managing the water resources of the Mekong basin,” said Kean.

“New challenges such as climate change and new hydropower dams” are high on the agenda, added Kean, of the inter-governmental Mekong River Commission (MRC) that was organising the first summit in its 15-year history.

Leaders began arriving in Hua Hin on Sunday morning and were due to gather for a gala dinner ahead of Monday’s meeting, where they will sign a joint declaration of their aims, said organisers.

Myanmar will also participate as a dialogue partner at the top-level talks.

The MRC has warned that the health of the Mekong Basin and the river’s eco-systems could be threatened by proposed dams and expanding populations.

China is expected to staunchly defend its own dams, which activists downstream blame for water shortages, after the Mekong shrivelled to its lowest level in 50 years in Laos and Thailand’s north.

The crisis has grounded cargo and tour boats on the so-called “mighty Mekong” and alarmed communities along what is the world’s largest inland fishery.

Nations in the lower Mekong basin are likely to press China for information on the river as well as financial help, said Anond Snidvongs, director of the Southeast Asia START Regional Centre, which researches environmental change.

China — itself suffering the worst drought in a century in its southwest, with more than 24 million people short of drinking water — says the reason for water shortages is unusually low rainfall rather than man-made infrastructure.

It says the dams, built to meet soaring demand for water and hydro-electricity, have been effective in releasing water during dry seasons and preventing flooding in rainy months.

The Chinese Embassy in Bangkok last week said China would “never do things that harm the interests of (lower Mekong) countries” and has agreed to share water level data from two dams during this dry season.

Yet questions remain over the impact of the eight planned or existing dams on the mainstream river in China.

Vice Minister of Water Resources Liu Ning said Wednesday more were needed to guarantee water and food security, while 12 dams in lower Mekong countries have also been proposed.

Thailand has invoked a tough security law and has deployed thousands of troops in Hua Hin to ensure protesters do not disrupt the summit, in light of mass anti-government “Red Shirt” rallies in Bangkok since mid-March.

A year ago, regional leaders were forced to abandon a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) due to protests.

Source: SGGP

Work to start on expressway linking HCMC to Southeast region

In Vietnam Society on September 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm

The construction of HCM City – Long Thanh – Dau Giay expressway, linking the city to the Southeast region’s provinces, will start on October 3.

A junction of the HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay expressway and National Highway No.1

The 55-kilometre highway will start at Luong Dinh Cua Street in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, and end at National Highway No. 1 near the Dau Giay T-junction in neighboring Dong Nai Province.

The expressway is expected to be completed in 2014, with hopes that it will help reduce the amount of traffic passing through the Hanoi Highway which has become overloaded.

The road will also connect National Highway No.51 to the Long Thanh international airport, yet to be built, in Dong Nai Province.

When the upgrade of the National Highway No.51, which started in August, is completed, the connection between the HCM City – Long Thanh – Dau Giay expressway and the National Highway No.51 will reduce the distance of 120 kilometers from HCM City to Ba Ria – Vung Tau to 90 kilometers.

It is also a great significance in the development of the coastal port system in Cai Mep-Thi Vai, the biggest port complex in the country, including Thu Duc and District 9 in HCMC and Dong Nai’s Nhon Trach District.

The construction of HCM City – Long Thanh – Dau Giay expressway includes two phases.
The first stage has four lanes and the second consists of eight lanes.

The highway includes Long Thanh Bridge with a width of 34 meters across the Dong Nai River.

The total capital of the first stage is VND9.89 trillion (US$550 million) and the second will cost VND18.88 trillion (nearly $1 billion).


Source: SGGP

Southeast Asia succeeds in fighting piracy in Malacca Straits

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 at 1:51 pm

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Southeast Asia is winning the battle against piracy in the Malacca Straits, the Malaysia-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said.

The watchdog also said that any reduction in vigilance could result in a sudden surge in maritime banditry in the vital trade lane.

The strategic shipping route between Indonesia ‘s island of Sumatra and the Southeast Asian peninsula of Malaysia and Singapore was deemed the most dangerous waterway in the world, though attacks have dropped dramatically thanks to increased cooperation among the littoral states.

Experts believe that a major hijacking like the incident that took place off the coast of Somalia this week is now unlikely to occur here.

During the first nine months of this year there have been only two pirate attacks in the straits, according to the IMB, compared to 38 in 2004 and a peak of 75 in 2000.-

Southeast Asia, South America increase trade dialogue

In Uncategorized on November 24, 2008 at 1:49 pm

Buenos Aires (VNA) – Foreign ministers from the Common Market of South America (MERCOSUR) member countries and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will gather in Brasilia, Brazil for discussions on bilateral cooperation, according to Brazil’s Foreign Ministry.

The meeting, which is the first of its kind between MERCOSUR and ASEAN, will mark the initiation of systematic dialogues between the two trading blocs.

Two-way trade between the two blocs topped 11.7 billion USD, which is regarded as humble compared to the size of the two economic communities. Therefore, one of the major targets of the three-hour meeting is to identify new trading areas for the two blocs, the ministry said.

The two sides are expected to seek ways of establishing political dialogue to promote collaboration at international forums.-

Southeast Asia needs integrated road network

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2008 at 11:48 am

Southeast Asia needs integrated road network

Since Viet Nam opened its economy to the outside world, business and trade have been promoted. Viet Nam News reporter Van Nga talked to Mark Van Den Assem, Country General Manager of TNT, the Netherlands-based company providing mail and express delivery services, about domestic supply chain solutions and the development of transportation in Viet Nam.

The whole world is experiencing an economic slowdown, and it will affect import and export activities in Viet Nam, so how has Viet Nam become an important market for TNT?

Viet Nam has been the most dynamic economy in Southeast Asia over the past 10 years and is currently the second fastest growing economy in Asia after China. With domestic reforms, Viet Nam’s membership in the WTO has provided new opportunities for local enterprises and increased foreign investment.

With these developments, we see Viet Nam having a bright future and an increasingly powerful economic role in the region. WTO membership should benefit Viet Nam’s economy by increasing its access to foreign markets and strengthening the country’s corporate governance and ability to defend its interests in trade disputes.

Together with its rapidly growing economic base and position in the heart of Southeast Asia, Viet Nam is well positioned to take advantage of emerging new global trade flows. The EU does certainly maintain its rank as the second largest trading partner, following China closely with a trade volume totalling US$14.23 billion. The EU is Viet Nam’s second largest export destination, absorbing 19.32 per cent of Vietnamese exports.

While Viet Nam maintains a high trade deficit with China (about $9.15 billion), the relationship with the EU remains favourable, with Viet Nam earning a surplus of around $5.66 billion. In addition, the EU is the second largest investor in terms of capital (nearly $5 billion) after Japan.

With pledged foreign direct investment of $21.3 billion in 2007 and a record $31.6 billion for the first half of 2008, the trade deficit for the first half of 2008 was measured at $14.8 billion, compared with the $14.1 billion of 2007.

By looking at these figures, we can see that the economy of Viet Nam was booming in 2007. It is expected to continue to grow.

According to statistics, transportation by road in the US and EU is nearly 80 per cent, while in Viet Nam only around 22 per cent of goods are transported by road, why is there such a big difference?

Countries in Europe and the US have long established their road networks to facilitate transportation. It is very easy to transport goods from one country to another in Europe because of its advanced road infrastructure and convenient customs clearance. However, Viet Nam and other countries in Asia are rapidly growing markets which raise the demand for homogenous and well-connected road transportation networks in the region.

Recognising the potential of an integrated road network, TNT, in 2005, pioneered its Asia Road Network that spans 5,000 kilometres and connects 125 cities in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and China through the north-eastern border of Viet Nam.

In your mind, what advantages does Viet Nam have in potential growth? Do you see any disadvantages?

TNT’s Asia Road Network is the first to be introduced in Asia. It represents our strong belief that road service in Viet Nam and Southeast Asian countries will continue to grow in coming years. This offers a huge opportunity for TNT to continue to develop and grow the Asia Road Network as well as the domestic network in Viet Nam.

More significantly, the strong demand for TNT’s road services will enhance its flexibility and ensure that TNT continue to offer customers fully customised solutions that meet their unique needs.

From air, sea or road transport, which option is best for customers?

Road, sea or air services all have their own advantages. With TNT’s integrated air and road networks, the express integrator is well-positioned to design solutions that ensure maximum cost and business efficiency for customers.

For example, road service is especially useful for high-value goods from industries such as the healthcare, high-tech and automotive. Supply chain management is more than moving goods from one point to another.

TNT’s comprehensive supply chain solutions will assist customers in improving their businesses by offering smarter transport solutions that are safe and reliable. The unique combination of road and air is especially attractive in current times as it delivers greater cost efficiency for customers.

There is an increasing demand from customers in the region for efficient and reliable transportation of goods in Viet Nam. The TNT road service is two to three times faster than sea freight and offers customers significant savings of up to 30 per cent compared to air freight.

What has TNT done to maintain its competitive advantages, especially now that the economy is facing difficulty?

With the current global climate, intercontinental volume flows may slow down but lower fuel prices in the past month will keep costs down for customers. Efficient supply chain management solutions are especially key in today’s global climate and integrated air and road solutions will deliver greater choice, value and cost efficiency for customers’ unique needs.

The overall outlook is still positive for the industry and TNT Viet Nam is confident of riding out this difficult time.

TNT will focus on building its network in Southeast Asia before strengthening its intercontinental connectivity via its integrated air and road networks. It will maintain its focus on strategic trade lanes (Europe-Southeast Asia-China) and key verticals (high-tech, healthcare and equipment and machinery) and stay on course in its strategy to build a leading position in the region with a 100 million-euro investment in Southeast Asia in the next five years.

Established in 1946, TNT has become one of the leading logistics companies worldwide with a long history of delivering expertise. Can you introduce your operations in Viet Nam?

TNT offers efficient network infrastructures in Europe and Asia and is expanding operations worldwide to maximise its network performance.

Worldwide, TNT moves an average of 4.4 million pieces of freight, parcels and documents a week to more than 200 countries and employs more than 161,500 people.

As a joint venture established in 1997, TNT-Vietrans Express Company Ltd has been growing steadily and now operating in 23 cities and provinces throughout Viet Nam.

With almost 500 employees, TNT Viet Nam operates seven depots and 16 offices which provide world-class 24/7 customer service. —

Australia willing to develop cooperation with Vietnam

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2008 at 4:32 pm

The Government of Australia considers Vietnam as one of its important partners in the region and pledges to develop long-term cooperation with the Southeast Asian nation.

Visiting Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Stephen Smith made the statement during his talks with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem in Hanoi on July 1.

Khiem welcomed Smith’s first visit to Vietnam and spoke highly of the Australian Government’s policy of continuing to promote cooperative ties with Vietnam .

“ Vietnam always attaches great importance to expanding the friendship and multifaceted cooperation with Australia ,” the deputy PM stressed.

In reply, Smith said he was glad to visit Vietnam for the first time since he was appointed as Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs in December 2007.

The two sides expressed their pleasure at the fine developments in the friendship and all-round cooperation when Vietnam and Australia are celebrating the 35th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year.

They noted that since the beginning of the year, the two nations exchanged many high-level visits, including those to Australia by National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong, and Deputy PMs Nguyen Thien Nhan and Truong Vinh Trong, and a trip to Vietnam by Queensland State ’s Minister of Transport, Trade, Employment and Industrial Relations John Mickel.

Australia is now Vietnam ’s 7th biggest trade partner and its 4th largest export market, with two-way trade value reaching 4.56 billion USD last year. By the end of May 2008, Australia had invested 1.01 billion USD in 174 projects in Vietnam .

Vietnam is Australia ’s 4th largest aid recipient with a total committed official development assistance (ODA) capital for 2008 totalling 93.1 million AUD, 1.3 million AUD higher than the previous year.

Regarding regional and international issues, Deputy PM Khiem affirmed that Vietnam treasures cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia , as well as within the framework of the East Asia Summit (EAS). Vietnam supports Australia ’s efforts to promote peace, stability and development in Asia and the Pacific, he added.

During the talks, the two sides also discussed measures to speed up negotiations on the ASEAN- Australia – New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANFTA).