Germany and Vietnam have opportunities to lift their bilateral relations to a new height in 2011 and the two sides should cooperate closely to set up a strategic partnership, said a senior German official. 

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle made the statement at his talks with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem in Berlin on June 9. 

Westerwelle said Germany wants to build a “German House” in Vietnam in a bid to strengthen bilateral cooperation in politics, economics, and culture.

The German FM briefed his guest on the outcome of his recent visit to Vietnam , during which the two sides inked a 212 million EUR agreement for the construction of a metro route in Ho Chi Minh City and a 10 million EUR deal to fund vocational training in Vietnam .

For his part, Khiem said that Germany is the biggest European partner of Vietnam , adding Vietnam is willing to work as a bridge to link Germany with the ASEAN market. Vietnam backs German’s plan to build a “German House” in the Southeast country, he added.

Both host and guest agree to work together to prepare for the upcoming visit to Vietnam by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which is scheduled for October.

The two ministers also voiced mutual support at multilateral forums . Khiem affirmed Vietnam ’s support for Germany ’s initiatives on reforms of the UN Security Council./.