The Netherlands wants to push its traditional friendship and sound cooperation with Vietnam, which has played a key role in Southeast Asia and ASEAN, in both bilateral and multilateral aspects.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte made the confirmation while meeting with President Truong Tan Sang in Hanoi on June 16, who highlighted the Netherlands as one of the leading trade partners of Vietnam within the European Union (EU).

The Dutch leader said his country is willing to share experience in climate change and water management, especially in the Mekong Delta – one of the most vulnerable areas in Vietnam to environmental changes.

The Netherlands supports the EU’s early recognition of Vietnam’s full market economy and the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two sides, Rutte confirmed.

President Sang hailed the outcomes of Rutte’s talks with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, especially the signing of a strategic partnership agreement on sustainable agriculture and food security.

He expressed his pleasure at the strong bilateral cooperation in all areas, particularly at a time when both countries have become strategic partners in a growing number of fields.

He suggested the pair continue increasing the high-level delegation exchanges and actively working together at multilateral forums.

The President said he hopes the Netherlands will further back Vietnam to enhance its comprehensive ties with the EU.

He confirmed that Vietnam welcomes and will create the optimal conditions for Dutch firms to do long-term businesses there, specifically in strong areas such as agriculture, climate change, oil and gas, sea-based economy, shipbuilding and logistics.

President Sang informed the guest of China ’s illegal placement and maintenance of its drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 deep in Vietnam ’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

The Dutch Prime Minister said his country is deeply concerned over the recent developments in the East Sea . He confirmed that the Netherlands shares the viewpoint with the EU’s statement on this issue and advocates Vietnam ’s stance on exercising restraint and settling disputes through peaceful means and respect for international law.

On the occasion, the President conveyed his invitation to Dutch King Willem Alexander to visit Vietnam in the near future.-VNA