President Truong Tan Sang visited Tho Chau Island commune in Phu Quoc district in the southern coastal province of Kien Giang on September 3 to inspect the locality’s socio-economic and security and defence situation.
Located approximately 100km
southwest of Phu Quoc Island and 22km from international waters, Tho
Chau is one of Phu Quoc district’s two island communes.
The eight small islets cover an area of 16 square kilometers and are home to 1,912 inhabitants. The commune contributes significantly to national defence and security. The commune also plays a vital role in Vietnam ’s fishing and seafood industry, providing a habitat for numerous aquatic species.
At present, the commune generates an annual per capita income of 15 million VND (705 USD), and contributes approximately 5.7 billion VND (267,900 USD) to the state budget every year.
However, the commune faces a number of difficulties, especially regarding its infrastructure.
President Sang also visited Tho Chau temple, where he offered incense to martyrs and more than 500 islanders who lost their lives protecting the islands in 1975. He also met with local fishermen and visited the locality’s national memorial sites.
In a working session with key leaders of Kien Giang later that day, President Sang praised the province’s achievements in numerous fields.
With an economic growth rate of 8.9 percent in the first half of 2014, he noted that Kien Giang generated 223 million USD in exports, adding that the province had taken the lead in aquaculture and fishing.
In addition, the State leader also highlighted some of the province’s challenges, including the impacts of climate change and a rising sea level.
He urged the province to find ways to rapidly and sustainably boost economic growth through fulfilling its vast potential in different maritime sectors.
Kien Giang should maintain its current export markets and expand into big markets, such as Japan , the EU and Russia , whilst improving the conditions for local aquaculture enterprises and exporters, he said.
President Sang also highlighted Kien Giang’s strengths in tourism, pointing out that the development of Phu Quoc would act as a driving force for the entire Mekong Delta region.
Regarding climate change adaptation, he called upon the province to make full use of the support offered by international organisations, especially the World Bank, and to increase cooperation in this field.
Acknowledging Kien Giang’s proposals to upgrade Tho Chau’s administration to district level and devise a master plan for the locality adapted to its specific strategic importance, President Sang urged the province to submit an overall development plan for consideration.
In the near future, the province should focus on improving the islanders’ living conditions and limiting migration to prevent any negative impacts on local ecosystems, he said.
The President also requested that the provincial armed forces be made aware of the strategic significance of coastal islands, including Tho Chau, whilst strengthening external defence relations.