Vietnam bankrolls monument to Ho Chi Minh in Thailand

By DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR Published: July 1, 2013

BANGKOK — Vietnam has donated $1.5 million to build a monument to its former leader Ho Chi Minh in north-eastern Thailand, where he spent time in the 1920s, a news report said Monday.

Vietnamese Communist Party General-Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong approved the donation last week, when he visited Ho's former hideout in Ban Na Chok village the province of Nakhon Phanom.

Ban Na Chok was declared a Thai-Vietnamese "friendship village" in 2004 and has become a popular tourist destination.

Ritthichai Daowan, chairman of the Thai-Vietnamese Association in Nakhon Phanom, was quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying the monument is intended to boost tourism and enhance relations between the two former Cold War enemies.

The monument is expected to be completed within two years.

Ho lived in Ban Na Chok in the late 1920s, organizing revolutionary agitation against the French colonial governments in Indochina.

He returned to Vietnam in 1929, leading the fight against the French and later the Americans. He was president of North Vietnam from 1945 until his death in 1969.

Thailand was an ally of the United States during the Vietnam War and Nakhon Phanom hosted one of the main bases from which the US Air Force bombed Vietnam in the 1960s and early '70s.