Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad agreed to further deepen the Vietnam-Malaysia strategic partnership during their talks in Hanoi on August 27.
|The talks between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad in Hanoi on August 27|
The talks took place right after a welcome ceremony for the visiting Malaysian PM at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi.
PM Phuc congratulated Malaysia, under the leadership of PM Mohamad, on sustaining its stable growth and global competitiveness, towards the goal of “Shared Prosperity 2030”.
Mohamad, for his part, affirmed that Malaysia always attaches importance to strengthening the strategic partnership with Vietnam, which it considers a close neighbour and trustworthy partner in the region, especially within the framework of ASEAN Community.
Both sides agreed to further facilitate visits at all levels, strengthen cooperation via the party and National Assembly channels, and make effective use of bilateral cooperation mechanisms.
The Vietnamese PM affirmed that the Communist Party of Vietnam wants to further reinforce ties with the ruling Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) of Malaysia.
The two sides welcomed the exchange of letters between the two legislatures on the establishment of the Vietnam – Malaysia friendship parliamentarians’ group, and committed support for the group in working to raise mutual understanding, making further contributions to ties between the two law-making bodies and the two nations.
They vowed to early sign an action programme to realise the bilateral strategic partnership for 2020 – 2025, focusing on boosting economy ties, deepening strategic cooperation in national defence and security, and strengthening partnership in marine cooperation, innovation, science, education and labour.
They consented to promptly launch bilateral defence mechanisms, including a high-level committee on defence cooperation and naval consultations, while stepping up the signing of cooperation documents such as an MoU on defence cooperation, MoU on the establishment of joint patrol and hotline at sea, MoU on law cooperation, agreements on the prevention and control of human trafficking, and the transfer of sentenced persons.
Host and guest shared experience in the fight against corruption and agreed to extend ties between agencies concerned, considering it one of the pillar fields to build a facilitating, transparent and action-minded government.
They shared the view that economic, trade and investment relationship has been a bright spot in bilateral ties. Two-way trade between the two nations hit 11.5 billion USD last year, up over 13 percent annually. Malaysia is the eighth largest investor in Vietnam with around 600 projects worth over 12 billion USD.
In order to raise two-way trade to 15 billion USD, PM Mohamad promised to increase investment in Vietnam in fields using modern technology and with high added value, and back Vietnam’s exports to Malaysia, particularly agro-forestry-fisheries and Halal products.
The two sides highlighted the significance of collaboration in improving workforce quality and expanding cultural ties and people-to-people exchange. The Malaysian government will continue ensuring legitimate interests and creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese workers living in Malaysia.
On marine cooperation, the two PMs promised to share experience in building strategies for marine economy, marine science and sea energy. They welcomed the fact that the two sides have reached agreement on the content of an MoU on cooperation in legal enforcement and search and rescue at sea, a step towards the early signing of the document.
They agreed that two countries will work closely together to address issues regarding seized fishermen and fishing vessels in a humanitarian spirit and in accordance with international law.
As regards regional and global strategic and security issues of shared interest, Mahathir affirmed that Malaysia strongly supports Vietnam as Chair of ASEAN in 2020 and as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in the 2020 – 2021 tenure.
He said Malaysia will coordinate closely with Vietnam to promote the building of an ASEAN Community of unity and uphold the bloc’s central role in the regional architecture for the sake of peace, stability, cooperation and development based on rules.
The two PMs agreed that as two neighbours bordering the East Sea with associated security and interests, Vietnam and Malaysia will closely cooperate with ASEAN to ensure peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea.
Expressing deep concerns over the recent developments in the East Sea, they stressed the importance of settling disputes by peaceful means in accordance with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, with respect for diplomatic and legal process, refraining from the use of and threat to use force, avoiding militarisation, fully and seriously implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and striving for the early finalization of an effective and legally-binding Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).
Following the talks, the leaders witnessed the signing of a letter of intent on the signing of an MoU on cooperation in legal enforcement and search and rescue at sea, and the exchange of letters on the establishment of Malaysia – Vietnam friendship parliamentarians’ group.
Malaysian PM hopes to enhance strategic partnership with Vietnam
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in an interview granted to the Vietnamese press during his ongoing visit to Vietnam that Malaysia looks forward to enhancing the strategic partnership with Vietnam in a tangible way so that both countries will benefit.
The PM noted that Vietnam has changed a lot, becoming more active and much greater effective than when he visited the last time in 1998.
“And in terms of economic growth, you have done extremely well, growing up to 7 percent per year,” Mahathir said, adding that he thought Vietnam has made much progress compared with other ASEAN countries and may overstep Malaysia.
On the Malaysia-Vietnam strategic partnership, the Malaysian PM said the two countries already have 33 partnership agreements, but they need to focus on various areas where each has got its own strength.
He noted that Vietnam certainly has a bigger population than Malaysia, and big population means big market.
“Although the per capita income is not high but we have noticed that big population with people hardworking, skillful, will contribute very much to the growth of the economy,” he said, noting that for Malaysia, to have a partner with a big population is important because it is a trading nation and the bigger the market, the bigger the opportunity to trade and also to invest.
Remarking that Malaysian companies have been very active in Vietnam, PM Mahathir said he believes that in the future there will be more investment in Vietnam.
“So we look forward to enhancing the strategic partnership in a very tangible way so that both countries will benefit,” he said.
He pointed to agriculture as a potential area. Malaysia is buying rice and a number of vegetable products from Vietnam, and is looking to importing more agricultural products, he said, adding that Malaysia is also interested in investing in agricultural sector in Vietnam so that the country can obtain regular supply from Vietnam.
Asked about what Malaysia and Vietnam could do together to contribute to maintaining peace and security in the region as well as strengthening ASEAN’s centrality, PM Mahathir said what happens in the East Sea affect both countries, and the movement of vessels through the East Sea is important to both Malaysia and Vietnam. He underlined the need to avoid confrontation, stressing that “if there are some problems, we need to sit down together, and discuss and try to solve the problem in a peaceful way.”
The PM emphasized that he hopes the sea will be free for navigation all the time.