On August 28, 2013, at the headquarter of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, Mr. Pham Dzung, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs cum Chairman of the Committee, had a working session with Congressmen Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security under the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Attending the meeting were representatives from the Government Committee for Religious Affairs’ Departments of International Cooperation, Protestant Affairs and Legislation – Inspection and the Office of the Committee.
Mr. Pham Dzung welcomed the first visit by the delegation to Vietnam and said he is willing to share information of the guests’ concern.
On behalf of the US delegation, Congressman Jason Chaffetz thanked the Government Committee for Religious Affairs for its warm welcome. He also said his visit aims to review the defence-security ties between the US and Vietnam as well as exchange views on religious affairs in Vietnam.
Mr. Pham Dzung told the guests that during President Truong Tan Sang’s recent visit to the US, the Vietnamese delegation held a meeting with representatives from US and international non-governmental organizations to discuss the social, belief and religious situation in Vietnam.
He said that Vietnam is a multi-religion nation with many religious followers. The Government of Vietnam has always paid attention to the people’s life and the need for belief and religion, as well as the respect for citizens’ right to freedom of belief and religion. In addition, Vietnam’s open-door policy in international relations has created favorable conditions for religions to operate and develop strongly in the country over the past time. Typically, Protestantism is one of the major religions in Vietnam with the number of followers increasing from 200,000 in 1975 to nearly 1.5 million now. Land reserved for religions has also increased in recent years to about 2,000 sq.km. Many of their places of worship have been built or repaired and upgraded. The Vietnam Government has also created favorable conditions for religious organizations to register and apply for recognition.
Mr. Pham Dzung highly valued the aim of the delegation’s visit to Vietnam and expressed hope for more cooperation opportunities between both sides in order to boost bilateral relations as well as relations between the Vietnamese and US people.