Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (left) and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Photo: VNA)

Oslo (VNA)
– Vietnam always attaches importance to developing the traditional friendship and multi-faceted cooperation with Norway – the country’s important partner in Northern Europe, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on May 24.

The leader made the affirmation during his talks with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Oslo, as part of his official visit to the country.

PM Erna Solberg expressed her belief that PM Phuc’s visit will contribute to enhancing the Vietnam-Norway relations.

Host and guest highly valued the strong developments in the bilateral ties across spheres over the past time, saying the two sides have maintained high-level meetings.

They agreed to step up all-level delegation exchanges in order to create momentum for cooperation in various realms.

PM Phuc thanked the Norwegian Government and people for their continuous official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam over the past years, helping the country in socio-economic development and fulfillment of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as international integration.

He called on Norway to maintain its development cooperation with Vietnam and support the Southeast Asian nation in such fields as environment, education, economic management, administrative reform, and bomb and mine clearance.

Progress has been made in collaboration in other areas, especially forestry, environment, fishery, renewable energy, maritime transportation and shipbuilding, the two leaders said. However, the bilateral trade has yet to match potential and strength of both countries.

They, therefore, consented to push ahead with negotiations of the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), to which Norway is the coordinator.

The two countries will encourage their businesses to expand their operation in the respective market, particularly in solar energy, petroleum technological services and blue economy.

They will also promote the consumption and quality of their seafood, including Vietnam’s tra fish and Norway’s salmon.

The leaders spoke highly the Vietnam-Norway Business Forum which was held earlier the same day in Oslo as part of PM’s Phuc ongoing visit, saying the event helped enterprises of the two countries seek cooperation opportunities and expand their investment and business.

They talked about partnership in education-training and culture, and agreed to assign ministries of the two countries to foster collaboration in new spheres regarding women, peace and security, tourism and sports, and people-to-people exchange.

PM Erna Solberg lauded the role of the 20,000-strong Vietnamese community in Norway in developing the friendship and exchange between the two peoples.

PM Phuc suggested the Norwegian Government to create more favourable conditions for the community to work and integrate in the host society.

During their talks, the leaders concurred that Vietnam and Norway should strengthen their close coordination at multilateral forums, especially the United Nations, and within the cooperation framework of ASEAN-Norway and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in the context that both countries are running for non-permanent seats at the UN Security Council, with Vietnam’s bid for the 2020-2021 term and Norway for the 2021-2022 tenure.

They affirmed their common commitments to sustainable and inclusive development in accordance with the UN’s Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, emphasising affiliation in forest protection, response to climate change and sea level rise, and plastic waste management.

Both PMs noted with pleasure the two countries’ mutual support at international forums and multi-lateral organisations, as well as their efforts to join hands with the international community for not only sustainable development but also the global peace.

Regarding the East Sea issue, they exchanged views on the importance of and the need to ensure peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the area.

All disputes should be settled by peaceful measures, in line with international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other relevant regional documents, they said.

PM Erna Solberg congratulated Vietnam on socio-economic achievements the country has recorded over the past time, and praised Vietnam’s rising role in the region and the world, especially its hosting of recent major international events.

PM Phuc invited his Norwegian counterpart to visit Vietnam again in the time ahead, and PM Erna Solberg accepted the invitation with pleasure.-VNA