Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (R) and Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam and Thailand agreed to enhance their economic connectivity through the action plan on bilateral trade and investment cooperation, to augment their trade to 20 billion USD by 2020.

The consensus was reached during talks between Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai in Hanoi on July 8. The visit from July 7 – 10 is the latter’s first tour of Vietnam while serving as Thai Foreign Minister.

They noted that economic, trade and investment cooperation are currently important pillars in the two Southeast Asian nations’ strategic partnership.

Deputy PM and FM Minh stressed that Vietnam will continue creating the best possible conditions for Thai enterprises to trade with and invest in Vietnam. Thailand should also facilitate Vietnamese companies’ access to its market.

He asked Thailand to promote investment in its strongest spheres such as tourism, farm produce processing and support industries. Ca Mau, Quang Tri and Binh Dinh provinces, and Can Tho and Hue cities are among those he suggested Thai firms invest in.

At the talks, the two sides highly valued the rapid and effective development of bilateral cooperation, as seen through tightened links in politics and diplomacy, security and defence, culture, education and tourism, and between their ministries and localities.

They agreed to maintain all-level delegation exchanges, while effectively realising the outcomes of the third joint Cabinet meeting in July 2015, and the action programme to implement the Vietnam – Thailand strategic partnership between 2014 – 2018.

They will also work together to review the execution of the agreements reached at the second meeting of the joint committee on bilateral cooperation in March 2015, and prepare for the third meeting.

The host official asked Thailand to continue providing favourable conditions for Vietnamese expatriates in the country.

The two foreign ministers also concurred in bolstering ties at regional and international forums, especially ASEAN, the United Nations, the Asia – Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and other cooperation mechanisms in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

Minh requested that Thailand continues promoting its role and coordinating closely with Vietnam and other ASEAN countries to ensure ASEAN’s unity and common stance on regional and international matters, including the East Sea issue.

It should continue efforts to maintain peace, stability, security and safety of navigation and overflight, push for the peaceful settlement of disputes on the basis of internationally recognised principles, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, urge relevant parties to fully respect legal and diplomatic processes and seriously comply with the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and accelerate the building of a code of conduct in the waters (COC), he added.

Both countries also need to intensify cooperation with each other, with other countries and with international organisations in developing, mananging and sustainably using the Mekong River’s water resources in line with international practice, so as to ensure the interests of the nations in the lower river, Minh noted.

Meanwhile, the two foreign ministries should press ahead with realising their cooperation agreement signed in March 2015 and in organising activities to mark 40 years of the countries’ diplomatic relationship which takes place in 2016, the officials added.-VNA