Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (R) and Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam always treasures and wants to further develop its traditional friendship with Sri Lanka, Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said on August 27.

At a meeting with Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who came to Vietnam to co-chair the Indian Ocean Conference (IOC), Minh thanked Sri Lanka for supporting Vietnam’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council for the 2020-2021 term.

He proposed Sri Lanka express a more active voice in the East Sea issue by backing the stance of Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), especially in the principled matters such as freedom of navigation and aviation, respect for international law and settlement of disputes through peaceful measures.

Wickremesinghe commended Vietnam’s great achievements in socio-economic development in recent years and affirmed that Sri Lanka would continue closely coordinating with Vietnam in regional and international forums, particularly the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Both leaders held that the traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation have been developing fruitfully in recent years. They agreed to increase the exchange of visits at all levels and through Party, State, Government and National Assembly channels.

Minh and Wickremesinghe said economic and trade ties between the two nations have seen progress but failed to catch up with their huge potential. They consented to soon organise the second meeting of the joint trade subcommittee in Vietnam to set out specific measures in an effort to lift bilateral trade to 1 billion USD in 2020.

The two sides agreed to hold the fourth meeting of the Vietnam-Sri Lanka joint committee in 2019 and early sign a memorandum of understanding on fishery cooperation over the next three years.

They also concurred that Vietnam and Sri Lanka need to give priority and expand cooperation in other potential fields such as education-training, telecommunications, information and digital technology, oil and gas, aviation, maritime transportation, agricultural and aquatic product processing and distribution, cultural and youth exchanges, arts, Buddhism and sports.-VNA