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Greece to Unveil Statue of Vietnam’s Communist Leader Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh Greece
Ho Chi Minh statue outside Ho Chi Minh City Hall. Credit: Steffen Schmitz (Carschten) / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Greece’s Foreign Minister announced during his visit to Vietnam on Monday that the country will honor Communist Leader Ho Chi Minh by unveiling a statue in the north of the country.

Nikos Dendias made the announcement while in the capital of Hanoi on an official visit after meeting Vietnam’s defense chief Bui Thanh Son.

“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 announcement raised eyebrows on Greek social media as the conservative government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis is proud of its achievements in strengthening relations with the US and has recently renewed a military cooperation agreement with Washington.

Ho Chi Minh engineered the defeat of the US in the Vietnam War

Many commentators point out that Ho Chi Minh was instrumental in engineering the defeat of American forces in the Vietnam War. Ideologically a Marxist–Leninist, he served as Chairman and First Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh led the Communist-led Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945, defeating the French Union in 1954 at the Battle of Đien Bien Phủ, ending the First Indochina War and resulting in the division of Vietnam with the Communists in control of North Vietnam.

He was a key figure in the People’s Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War, which lasted from 1955 to 1975 and caused 58,220 American casualties.

Ho officially stepped down from power in 1965 due to health problems and died in 1969. North Vietnam was ultimately victorious against South Vietnam and the US, which was its major ally, and Vietnam was officially unified in 1976.

Saigon, the former capital of South Vietnam, was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in his honor.

Greece to send Vietnam ashes of a Greek soldier who fought with the Vietnamese

Decorated Kostas Sarantidis meets with then Foreign Minister of Việt Nam Phạm Binh Minh in 2018. Credit: Vietnamese News Agency/VNA/VNS

During his visit to Vietnam, Dendias 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.

“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.

Sarantidis was a Greek resistance fighter who escaped from the Nazi labor camps during the Second World War to become a national hero in Vietnam.

He was the sole foreigner who was honored with the title of Hero of the People’s Armed Forces of Vietnam.

“Kostas Sarantidis’s life is tied in with the heroic moments of the Vietnamese people,” said Vu Binh, Vietnamese Ambassador to Greece.

Related: The Greek Fighter who Escaped the Nazis to Become a Vietnam Hero

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