Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (R) and his New Zealand counterpart John Key (Source: VNA)
Hanoi, (VNA) – Vietnam and New Zealand have agreed to develop their comprehensive partnership both on scale and in depth towards a strategic partnership during Prime Minister John Key’s visit to Vietnam.

The consensus was reached during talks between Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his visiting New Zealand counterpart John Key following a welcome ceremony in Hanoi on November 15.

Priority will be given to strengthening political ties, increasing the exchange of delegations at all levels, optimizing the operation of bilateral mechanisms for cooperation in all aspects.

The Vietnamese PM hailed the significance of PM John Key’s visit, especially at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 40 th anniversary of diplomatic ties (1975-2015).

He affirmed Vietnam’s consistent policy of attaching importance to developing the friendship and comprehensive partnership with New Zealand.

The PMs noted with pleasure the strong development of the friendship and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries over the past four decades.

Vietnam and New Zealand have maintained regular exchanges of delegations at all levels and effectively implemented a joint programme of action for 2013-2016, they said.

The leaders also stressed the effectiveness of bilateral cooperation mechanisms, as seen in the progress in affiliation in all fields from economy, trade and investment to national defence and security, education-training and science-technology.

Trade is a bright point in bilateral ties with an annual growth rate of 20 percent over the past five years, hitting 800 million USD in 2014, the highest increase in trade between New Zealand with an ASEAN nation.

Host and guest agreed that the conclusion of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the taking effect of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and the upcoming formalization of New Zealand’s strategic partnership of ASEAN will open up new strategic cooperation opportunities for the two countries.

The two leaders consented to encourage their businesses to make use of opportunities afforded by the TPP and the AANZFTA and establish a new trade partnership mechanism at the governmental level with the aim of bringing bilateral trade to 1.7 billion USD in 2020.

The two sides will also foster collaboration in other areas like agriculture, farm produce processing, animal husbandry, services and education.

New Zealand promised to consider favourable conditions for Vietnamese businesses to introduce their agricultural and aquatic products in the market along with speeding up procedures relating to the analysis of risks posed by imports.

The guest pledged to continue providing development assistance for Vietnam, particularly in agriculture, knowledge and skills and natural disaster risk management.

The two sides also discussed measures to boost their partnership in national defence and security, including increasing delegation exchanges, and information and experience sharing in search and rescue operations and UN peace-keeping missions.

They were unanimous on the need to step up collaboration in health care, aviation, agricultural trade, tourism and culture.

Regarding regional and international issues of mutual concern, the two leaders vehemently condemned the waves of bloody attacks in Paris on November 13 that caused heavy casualties.

They agreed to enhance coordination at regional and international forums such as the UN, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and the East Asia Summit (EAS).

PM John Key showed his support for Vietnam’s candidate for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure and wished Vietnam success in hosting the APEC 17 summit.

For his part, PM Nguyen Tan Dung said Vietnam backs the establishment of a strategic partnership between New Zealand and ASEAN on the occasion of the 40 th anniversary of relations between the country and the ten-member group.

The two PMs shared concerns about recent developments in the East Sea, saying that they affected trust as well as peace, stability and security in the region.

They reiterated the importance of ensuring peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of maritime and aviation in the East Sea as well as settling disputes at sea in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

They underlined the need for related parties to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), restrain themselves and refrain from taking any acts that can further intensify tension in the region such as the use of force or threat to use force to unilaterally change the status quo.

The two leaders also agreed on the urgency of the building of a Code of Conduct (COC) on the East Sea.

Following their talks, the two PM witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements in civil aviation and health care and a plan on strategic cooperation in education.

They then met with the press to inform outcomes of their talks.

Earlier in the day, PM John Key laid wreaths at President Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum and the Memorial of Heroic Martyrs in Hanoi./.