VietnamIsrael news photo: (file)

Vietnam is set to open an embassy in Israel on Wednesday in a ceremony led by President Shimon Peres. The two countries have had diplomatic ties since 1993 when Israel opened an embassy in the Hanoi, but the Southeast Asian country preferred to take a more cautious approach and is only now opening an embassy in Israel.

The new Vietnamese ambassador is Din Shoan Lo, who was previously the Director of the Foreign Ministry in Hanoi. Thousands of Israeli tourists visit Vietnam annually, and the two countries presently have a trade turnover of around $200 million a year.

On Tuesday, the Israeli Ambassador in Hanoi, Ephraim Ben Matityahu, finished his term and was ceremoniously sent off by the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dungm, who thanked Matityahu for developing relations between the two countries.

Each year, approximately 200 Vietnamese study agriculture in Israel. In addition, Israel has provided humanitarian aid to Vietnam after natural disasters in 1995 and 1997 and has provided free eye operations for the disadvantaged in the country from 2004 to 2005. Israeli businesses have also taken an interest in investing in the Southeast Asian country.