Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son made a working visit to Ireland on June 5-6, during which he reached an agreement with Irish government officials on measures to expand bilateral ties in the time ahead.

While in Ireland, Deputy FM Son had a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, and the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Joe Costello. He also engaged in a working session with the head of the Irish government’s programme for overseas development (Irish Aid).

At those meetings, the two sides expressed satisfaction with the strong development of bilateral ties between the nations, particularly in trade and investment, as seen in an average growth of more than 20 percent in two-way trade during recent years.

They agreed to increase the exchange of delegations at all levels and facilitate business links in agriculture, food processing and information technology-telecommunications, while boosting cooperation in education-training as well as enhancing coordination at multilateral forums.

The Irish side said it values Vietnam’s role in the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations. It also declared its support of closer ties between Vietnam and the European Union through the prompt approval of a joint Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and the conclusion of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement within this year.

Ireland also pledged to maintain the provision of Official Development Assistance to Vietnam. At the same time, it will coordinate with Vietnamese relevant ministries to develop aid programmes for the period after 2015, with a view to increasing the efficiency of aid and better meeting Vietnam’s needs.

Deputy FM Son thanks the Irish government for its ODA provision to Vietnam, especially as Ireland itself has just escaped from a public debt crisis.

He took the occasion to inform the Irish side of China’s illegal placement of its drilling rig inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, thus seriously violating Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction. He emphasised that China’s act has raised tension in the region, threatening peace, stability, security and navigational safety in the East Sea.

Irish officials appreciated Vietnam’s self-restraint and use of diplomatic measures to address the dispute, while affirming Ireland’s backing of the EU’s stance on this issue.

Also during his stay in Ireland, Deputy FM Son delivered the keynote speech at the fourth EU Asia Top Economist Round Table and attended the Asia Ireland Trade and Investment Summit.

At both events, the Deputy FM spoke about Vietnam’s socio-economic achievements and the country’s goals and directions for the future. He highlighted opportunities that are opening up to European businesses, including those from Ireland, as a result of Vietnam’s reform process and the expanding links between Asian countries.

Son also reiterated the Vietnamese Government’s consistent policy of offering the best possible conditions in trade exchange and investment cooperation with all partners.-VNA