Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (R) and German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier (Photo: VNA)

Berlin (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh paid a short visit to Germany on February 20-21 but it proved fruitful beyond expectations, according to Vietnamese Ambassador to Germany Nguyen Minh Vu.

Reviewing the visit’s activities, the diplomat told the press that Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Minh held talks with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and met with Vice President of the German Bundestag (Parliament) Hans-Peter Friedrich and Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier.

At these events, the German officials agreed to enhance the two countries’ strategic partnership in the time to come. They also affirmed that they will make efforts to promote the signing and ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) as soon as possible.

Both sides voiced their delight at the progress of the strategic partnership, especially in economy, trade and investment. Bilateral trade surpassed 10 billion USD in 2018, up over 1 billion USD from the previous year, and Germany remains a leading trade partner of Vietnam in the EU. Meanwhile, more than 300 major businesses of Germany are operating effectively in Vietnam.

Ambassador Vu noted at the meetings, the two sides agreed to coordinate closely at international forums and organisations, particularly within the framework of the United Nations Security Council, where Germany is currently a non-permanent member and Vietnam is running for a similar seat for 2020-2021. In 2020, Germany will hold the presidency of the Council of the EU, while the Southeast Asian nation will take the chair of ASEAN.

The Vietnamese and German officials also shared views on many international and regional issues of common concern. They expressed the support for trade liberalisation, the maintenance of multilateral mechanisms, and respect for international law for the sake of regional and global peace and stability.

Regarding the cooperation prospect, they stressed the wish to bring the strategic partnership to a new development stage that is more extensive and substantive in many spheres such as economy, trade, investment, education and culture. They also concurred in paying attention to cooperation in renewable energy, science-technology, and manpower training, Vu said.

The ambassador said he was impressed with the German side’s thoughtful welcome for the Vietnamese delegation, adding that the meetings took place in a straightforward, sincere and substantive manner, showing both sides’ aspiration to foster the strategic partnership.

With the visit’s fine outcomes, many cooperation opportunities for the two countries will be created, providing the basis for their partnership to further develop, he added.-VNA