Malaysian Prime Minister Razak Najib will pay an official visit to Vietnam from April 3-5 with the aim to strengthen the two countries’ friendship and comprehensive cooperation.

Since the two countries set up their diplomatic ties on March 30, 1973, they have enjoyed the fine development in the fields of politics, defence, economics, trade, education and tourism.

The two sides have maintained exchanges of high-ranking visits and contacts, most recently a State-level visit by President Truong Tan Sang to Malaysia in November 2011 and a Vietnam visit by Malaysian King Abdul Halim Mu’adzam in September last year.

They have always supported each other at regional and international forums, particularly within the framework of ASEAN and the United Nations.

Both share the same point of view on issues on ensuring peace and stability in the East Sea and solving disputes by peaceful means with respect to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) towards the building of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (CoC).

Malaysia is Vietnam’s ninth largest trade partner with two-way trade hitting 9.1 billion USD in 2013.

As of late 2013, it ranked eighth among countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with more than 400 projects worth over 10 billion USD. Meanwhile, Vietnam had 10 projects capitalising more than 740 million USD in Malaysia.

Over the past time, the two countries have signed several tourism cooperation agreements including one on visa exemption for ordinary passport holders in September 2001. This resulted in a surge in the number of Malaysian visitors to Vietnam, from 106,000 in 2006 to nearly 300,000 in 2012. Last year, about 250,000 Vietnamese travelled to Malaysia.

Both also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in education during Prime Minister Phan Van Khai’s official visit to Malaysia in April 2004.

Accordingly, Malaysia offers annual graduate and post-graduate scholarships to Vietnamese students, including those sourced by government and economic groups.

The Malaysian government has officially received Vietnamese workers from 2002 and the two governments signed a labour cooperation agreement on December 1 last year. At present, there are about 80,000 Vietnamese workers in Malaysia.

In addition, Vietnam and Malaysia have also signed a number of agreements on aviation, maritime cooperation, science and technology and telecommunications.-VNA