Yangon – On this day 62 years ago, Ho Chi Minh, the president of North Vietnam, arrived in Yangon (then Rangoon) on an official goodwill visit.
On Feb. 14, 1958, President Mahn Win Maung, Prime Minister U Nu and Thakhin Kodaw Hmaing, the father of Myanmar’s peace movement, welcomed him at Mingaladon Airport.
The Vietnamese revolutionary icon met the press the following day. In his four-day visit, Ho visited the parliament and City Hall in Yangon, and also traveled to Taunggyi and Inle Lake in Shan State. He also received an honorary doctorate in law at Rangoon University’s Convocation Hall.
In his autobiography, “Saturday Born”, U Nu details his 1954 visit to Vietnam. He wrote: “I asked during a chit-chat with President Ho how many children he had. He replied with a smile that he has many, and all the people in the country are his children.”
When Ho died in September 1969, U Nu was in exile in London after leaving the country in April that year in opposition to the military dictator U Ne Win’s government. He sent a wreath to the Vietnamese diplomatic residence in London. He also wrote a letter of condolence to Prime Minister Pham Van Dong.
Myanmar was among the first countries to establish relations with North Vietnam, officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. In 1947, Vietnam set up its first liaison office in Yangon. In 1948, the two sides agreed to upgrade the liaison office to the Office of Information and Propaganda and, in 1957, it was transformed into the Consulate General.
On May 28, 1975, the two countries officially established diplomatic relations and set up embassies.
During Ho’s visit, Myanmar expressed its support for the unification of Vietnam under the Geneva Agreement. Bilateral relations remain strong today.
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