EDESSA – The late North Vietnamese leader and Communist hero Ho Chi Minh will be honored in Greece with a bust being put in the northern city of Edessa to mark his time fighting on the Macedonian front in World War I.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias made the announcement while in the capital of Hanoi on an official visit after meeting Vietnam’s defense chief Bui Thanh Son, said Kathimerini about the trip.
“Let me tell you a little-known fact about the two countries. President Ho Chi Minh, the founder of Vietnam, fought on the Macedonian Front from 1916 to 1917 while serving in the French army,” he told reporters.
“We, therefore, agreed that a bust of him should be erected in Edessa to highlight this fact,” he continued, the honor coming from Greece’s Conservative party and not the far left.
The two ministers also agreed that the ashes of Kostas Sarantidis (1927-2021), a Greek soldier who fought with the Vietnamese resistance during the First Indochina War, be transferred to Vietnam, the paper said.
“We also discussed the transfer of the ashes of the Greek fighter Sarantidis, who fought on the side of the Vietnamese army during the Vietnamese War of Independence and is fondly remembered by the Vietnamese,” said Dendias.
There was no indication of how the United States, which renewed a military cooperation agreement with Greece, would feel about honoring the late Vietnamese leader who enegineered the defeat of American forces in the Vietnam War.
Beyond politics, they talked about collaborating in education and sports as Greece seeks to make an imprint in Southeast Asia and tries to expand its international presence after Dendias went to Africa.
“Vietnam, a country of 100 million people, with a thriving economy, constitutes an interesting interlocutor for Greece in the Southeast Asian region; and that it would be highly beneficial to broaden and deepen our relations,” Dendias said, reported Greece’s state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency AMNS.
Dendias was due to depart Hanoi for Cambodia, where he will participate in the 55th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Phnom Penh as part of his official travels.