Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (R) and Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan (Source: VNA)Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam and Singapore have agreed to work together to seek new directions for cooperation in order to optimize opportunities and benefits brought about by free trade agreements and the ASEAN Economic Community.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan reached the agreement during their talks in Hanoi on October 26 as part of the Singaporean minister’s official visit to Vietnam.
The two sides noted with joy the rapid and strong development of the bilateral relationship over the years.
They highlighted the trustworthy and close political ties as evidenced in the regular exchange of high-ranking delegations and meetings, especially the State visit to Singapore by President Tran Dai Quang last August and the official visit to Vietnam by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean last September.
The two officials suggested optimizing the existing cooperation mechanisms such as the Economic Connectivity Ministerial Meeting, the deputy ministerial-level Defence Policy Dialogue, the deputy ministerial-level Political Consultation and a training programme for Vietnamese law enforcement officers.
On this occasion, they signed an agreement on research programmes for senior Vietnamese Party officials for 2017-2019.
Host and guest shared the view that the economic and trade links remain a bright spot in the bilateral relationship.
Deputy PM Minh welcomed the fact that Singapore has been a leading trade and investment partner of Vietnam for many consecutive years with two-way trade reaching 9.3 billion USD in 2015 and investment in Vietnam totaling almost 38 billion USD as of June 2016.
Minister Vivian Balakrishnan affirmed that Singapore wishes to step up the intensive and pragmatic collaboration with Vietnam across fields for the sake of the two countries’ people, as well as for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
The minister expressed delight to see the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) become a symbol of economic cooperation between the two countries after 20 years of operation in Vietnam.
He emphasised Singaporean investors’ commitments to Vietnam and their confidence in the country’s economic stability and development.
The two sides also appreciated the result-oriented partnership between the two countries in national defence and security, in such areas as anti-terrorism, cyber and maritime security, and submarine rescue operations.
Singapore pledged to help Vietnamese law enforcement forces improve their capacity in combating crimes, particularly terrorist and high-tech crimes.
Minister Vivian Balakrishnan promised to encourage Singaporean competent agencies to work with the Vietnamese side to start talks on an agreement on labour cooperation.
The two officials also compared notes on regional and international issues of shared concern, consenting to continue the two countries’ coordination and mutual support at regional and global forums, especially ASEAN and the UN.
Deputy PM Minh appreciated Singapore’s consistent stance on the East Sea issue as well as the country’s role and tangible contributions as the coordinator for ASEAN-China relations for 2015-2018.
They affirmed ASEAN’s common stance on the settlement of disputes in the East Sea and committed to maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of maritime and aviation in the sea.
They called on relevant parties to exercise self-restraint, not use or threaten to use force, fully respect diplomatic and legal procedures, settle disputes by peaceful measures in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS), support the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and quickly reach a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).
As ASEAN member countries and trustworthy partners of each other, Vietnam and Singapore reiterated their joint efforts in enhancing the bloc’s solidarity for the unity and strength of ASEAN.-VNA