Vietnam and Slovakia act as bridges linking each other to their respective regions, the European Union (EU) and Southeast Asia, Deputy Speaker of the Slovakian Parliament Renata Zmajkovicova said during talks with NA Vice Chairman Huynh Ngoc Son on his working visit to Slovakia from September 13–16.

Vice Chairman Son expressed his high regard for the long-lasting friendship and cooperation between the two countries, adding that Vietnam was preparing to celebrate the 65th anniversary of Vietnamese-Czechoslovakian diplomatic relations in 2015.

He briefed his host on Vietnam’s political and socio-economic development and thanked Slovakia for its support for its community of 6,000 Vietnamese.

Son welcomed the EU’s statement on the East Sea issue on May 8 and held out hope that Slovakia would support Vietnam’s dedication to solving East Sea disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, as well as working towards the conclusion of a code of conduct.

On her part, Zmajkovicova said the countries’ bilateral relations would continue to thrive thanks to high-ranking visits and tightened economic cooperation.

She said Slovakia always supported compliance with internationally recognised principles for settling territorial disputes, including East Sea issues, and condemned the use of force or threat of use of force to handle disagreements.

During separate talks with the Vice Chairman of the Slovakian Parliament’s Defence and Security Committee Peter Suca, Son expressed his particular interest in Slovakia’s experience in joining the United Nations’ peace-keeping forces. The European country currently has 600 soldiers taking part in 30 peace-keeping missions of the UN and NATO, Suca said.

In a meeting with the Chair of the Parliament’s Committee for Foreign Affairs Frantisek Sebej, Deputy Head of the Vietnamese NA’s Committee for Foreign Relations Ngo Duc Manh asked the Slovakian Parliament to push the signing of a free trade agreement between the EU and Vietnam forward and support the EU’s recognition of Vietnam ’s market economy.

Vietnamese Chargé d’Affaires to Slovakia Dang Thi Le Thanh told Vietnam News Agency correspondents that Slovakia had supported Vietnam ’s candidature for membership in the UN Human Rights Council, and that the Slovakian Parliament ratified the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Vietnam and the EU.

Bilateral trade rose from 100 million USD in 2011 to more than 400 million USD in 2013. This year, two-way trade is expected to increase by another 20 percent, she added.-VNA