Online high-level talks between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern,
scheduled for July 22, demonstrate Vietnam’s wishes and commitments to work together with New Zealand to quickly advance bilateral ties to a new high.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (left) and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern
The elevation of ties matches the spirit of the joint statement on enhancing the comprehensive partnership towards a strategic partnership, issued during the visit to New Zealand by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in 2018.
Vietnam and New Zealand established diplomatic ties on June 19, 1975 and the bilateral relationship has developed positively and sustainably over the course of the past 45 years.
New Zealand opened an embassy in Hanoi and a consulate general in HCM City in November 1995, while Vietnam opened an embassy in New Zealand in May 2003 and a commercial affairs office in Auckland in 2005, which was moved to Wellington in 2007.
The relationship has made great, rapid strides forward over the years, with the establishment of a comprehensive partnership in September 2009, which is seen as a milestone helping to promote bilateral ties across fields in a more comprehensive, pragmatic, and effective manner.
The two sides reached an action programme for 2013-2016 on the implementation of the comprehensive partnership, and issued a joint statement in which they agreed to foster and deepen the comprehensive partnership towards a strategic partnership in March 2015. They signed another action programme for 2017-2020 on the sidelines of APEC 2017.
The two countries have maintained high-level exchanges and meetings of delegations, with the latest on the New Zealand side being the visits to Vietnam by Governor-General Jerry Mateparae in August 2013, Prime Minister John Key in July 2010 and November 2015, and Prime Minister Ardern during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in 2017.
Visits to New Zealand were made by Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh in September 2009, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in March 2015, and Prime Minister Phuc in March 2018.
They have also maintained bilateral cooperation mechanisms, including a strategic dialogue on national defence at the deputy ministerial level, which was first held in November 2015.
Two-way trade has also expanded over the years. As of the end of 2018, New Zealand had 28 valid projects worth about 101.94 million USD in Vietnam, ranking it 41st out of 120 countries and territories investing in the country. Meanwhile, Vietnam had six joint venture projects valued at 25.62 million USD in New Zealand.
New Zealand has increased its official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam, from 2.3 million USD during the 2003-2004 financial year to around 7.4 million USD for 2012-2013 and 18.6 million USD for 2015-2018, via both bilateral and multilateral channels, focusing on such areas as personnel development, education and training, and sustainable agricultural and rural development.
Progress has also been seen in cooperation in national defence and security, education and training, labour, transport, tourism, and agriculture.
New Zealand Ambassador in Vietnam Wendy Mathews said the two countries’ agricultural sectors are reciprocal. New Zealand has allowed the importation of Vietnamese mango, dragon fruit, and rambutan. In turn, Vietnam has opened its doors to New Zealand’s potatoes, frozen beef, kiwi fruit, and apples.
They supported each other and coordinated closely in the negotiations over and signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement and are pushing ahead with talks on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
More than 5,000 Vietnamese are living in New Zealand, mostly in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington.