Tourism, educational and cultural exchanges and business links could be fostered thanks to a friendship and cooperation agreement signed by Ho Chi Minh’s birthplace Vinh City and Newhaven Town Council.
It was signed by mayor of Newhaven Judith Ost and chairman of the Vinh People’s Committee, Nguyen Xuan Singh at a ceremony which took place at Meeching Hall in Newhaven on Sunday May 25.
The relationship between Newhaven and Vietnam came about after the town planned to put up historical banners detailing little known facts about Newhaven.
One of them was that former leader of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh had previously worked as a pastry chef on the Newhaven to Dieppe ferry in the 1910s.
After a story was published in the Sussex Express it was picked up on by other media and finally by the Vietnamese Embassy.
Then began a snowballing relationship with a statue of Ho Chi Minh donated to Newhaven Museum, a visit by the Vietnamese Ambassador and even a donation of plane tickets to Vietnam to the Seahaven Business Awards raffle.
Cllr Julie Carr, chair of the town council’s community engagement and promotion committee said: “I am delighted that Newhaven Town Council has signed a friendship and co-operation agreement with Vinh City.
“I think it will be of mutual benefit to both areas, the priority areas that have been identified and agreed are: education; economic development; business links; tourism and culture.
“We have already held preliminary talks with representatives from Vinh City as to how we can move things forward.
“I look forward to working with colleagues from Vietnam and from Newhaven and the surrounding area to make this relationship a long lasting and fruitful one.”
The Vietnamese Ambassador Vu Quang Minh also attended the ceremony, together with invited guests from both Britain and Vietnam.
Cllr Ost presented Mr Singh with a photo of Newhaven Harbour Arm by local photographer Jon Street.
Ho Chi Minh was born in Hoang Tru and then spent some of his formative years in the village of Kim Lien, both about 14km north west of Vinh City.
Other sights in Vinh City include the little visited Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Museum, memorialising local heroes of the nationalist movement against the French in 1930–1, the citadel which dates from 1930 and Cua Lo Beach, with white sand, blue water and pine trees, 16km north of the city.