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‘It’s the South’s Defeated Flag’ Says Vietnam After It Decries Australia’s New Commemorative Coins

HANOI, May 6 (Bloomberg): Vietnam’s Communist government “resolutely” opposes Australia’s issuance of coin sets depicting the flag of the country’s defeated US-backed southern regime and asks Canberra to halt their distribution.

The “items” contain the yellow flag with three red stripes of a regime that no longer exists, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Deputy Spokesperson Pham Thu Hang said in a statement posted on the government’s website.

“The issuance is completely inappropriate to the good development in the two nations’ strategic partnership,” she said.

Vietnam has complained to Australia and asked its government to cease the circulation of the coins, Hang said in the statement.

The Royal Australian Mint and Australia Post issued 85,000 silver- and gold-plated sets of A$2-dollar coins containing the image of the flag to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Australia’s withdrawal of troops from southern Vietnam, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported on its website.

The mint did not respond to requests for comment.

The value of the A$2 coins have soared, selling online for A$1,200 to A$2,300 ($808 to $1,549) per set, Tuoi Tre reported.

Forty-eight years after the war’s end when northern Vietnamese forces swept into Saigon, now called Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi continues to ban the flag of the former Republic of Vietnam, still flown in some overseas Vietnamese communities in places such California.

The US, its allies and Hanoi have moved beyond the war that claimed the lives of as many as three million Vietnamese to form growing economic and strategic relationships.

Tensions between overseas Vietnamese and a small number of activists in the country sometimes flare-up, with those in possession of the defeated government’s flag at risk of arrest.

Australia and Vietnam are looking to elevate their diplomatic relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, according to Australia’s Trade Minister Don Farrell. – Bloomberg

Source : TheStar