PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (third from left) meets with President of the EC Jean Claude Juncker (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc held bilateral meetings with many foreign leaders on the sidelines of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Brussels on October 18 and 19 (local time).

PM Phuc took the occasions to inform the foreign leaders on Vietnam’s socio-economic achievements and its contributions to the common cause of the international community.

He asked the EU member countries to push for the early signing of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) which was approved by the EC on October 17, underlining that together with the agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation (PCA), the EVFTA will provide an important foundation for Vietnam and the EU to bring their relations into a new period of development, as well as to strengthen ASEAN-EU partnership and connectivity between EU and the Asian-Pacific region.
 
The Vietnamese government leader urged the countries to back Vietnam, the only candidate of Asia-Pacific, in running for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council during 2020-2021. He affirmed Vietnam’s strong commitment to contribute more to maintaining international peace and security once it is elected to this important agency of the UN.

The foreign leaders appreciated Vietnam’s increasingly important role and position in the region and the international arena. Many countries confirmed their support of Vietnam’s candidacy for a non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure. They pledged to continue coordinating with Vietnam at the UN and other international and regional organisations in order to maintain peace, security, cooperation and development in the region and the world, including the East Sea, to settle disputes by peaceful measures on the basis of respect for international law, particularly the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The EU member countries expressed their backing of the EVFTA, saying that the early signing and ratification of the EVFTA will be a significant step forward in realizing the EU’s strategy on connecting EU and Asia.
                       
During his meeting with President of the EC Jean Claude Juncker, PM Phuc welcomed the EC’s approval of the EVFTA on October 17, saying that the two sides should demonstrate the resolve to accelerate procedures for the official signing of the pact, thus realizing the great benefits from the deal for both sides.

The EC President noted his support of the early signing and ratification of the EVFTA, and affirmed that the EU attaches importance to its cooperative ties with Vietnam.
           
The two leaders hailed the signing of the Vietnam-EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT-VPA). They agreed to continue coordination for the effective implementation of the EU’s development cooperation programmes for Vietnam.
           
PM Phuc asked the EC to consider Vietnam’s efforts in order to early lift the “yellow card” on Vietnam’s seafood exported to the EU.    

Talking to his Slovenian counterpart, PM Phuc affirmed that Vietnam always pays attention to developing friendship and multi-faceted cooperation with traditional friends, including Slovenia.

The two PMs took note with pleasure positive developments in bilateral economic-trade ties in the recent past. Two-way trade is growing fast, at an average rate of 75 percent a year, reaching 328 million USD in 2017 compared to just 59 million USD in 2013.

They agreed to maintain the exchange of delegations and meetings at high level, while implementing specific measures to boost win-win partnership in maritime transport, tourism, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods.

In his meeting with PM Pedro Sanchez of Spain, PM Phuc asked the Spanish Government to encourage Spanish companies to invest more in Vietnam in their strong fields, such as energy, hi-tech, education and infrastructure.

The Spanish PM said he advocates stronger relations between Vietnam and Spain as well as between Vietnam and the EU, adding that he wants to bolster cooperation with Vietnam in tourism, education-training and especially the popularization of Spanish culture and language in Vietnam.
           
In another meeting, PM Phuc and Mongolian President Khaltamaagiin Battulga expressed satisfaction at the development of bilateral ties recently. They assigned the two Foreign Ministries to coordinate for the successful organization of activities to mark the 65th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties in 2019.

The two leaders reached consensus on maintaining all-level visits and meetings, and promoting trade. PM Phuc asked Mongolia to create favourable conditions for Vietnamese firms to invest in Mongolia, including in supplying services in mining and oil and gas.  

Talking to Dutch PM Mark Rutte, the Vietnamese PM proposed that the Netherlands facilitate market access for Vietnamese goods. He affirmed that Vietnam welcomes and offers favourable conditions for Dutch firms to invest in Vietnam, especially in major projects and fields of the Netherlands’ strength such as agriculture, food industry, chemicals, renewable energy, water management, sea-based economy and logistics.       

The Dutch PM said his government encourages Dutch businesses to invest in the sea-based economy and projects to adapt to climate change and fight coast erosion in Vietnam.

In another meeting, PM Phuc and his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki agreed to coordinate for the effective implementation of agreements reached during the Vietnam visit by the Polish President in 2017, thus promoting bilateral economic-trade-investment ties.
The Polish PM said he wished to strengthen cooperation with Vietnam in defence, the environment, green growth and tertiary education.  

Meeting with Finnish PM Juha Sipila, the Vietnamese PM thanked the Finnish Government and people for their support and help for Vietnam over the past years. He said development aid projects sponsored by Finland have helped improve living conditions for Vietnamese people.
           
He suggested that Finland continue to provide ODA for Vietnam in carrying out sustainable development goals, and that the two countries bolster ties in education-training as many Vietnamese students want to pursue education in Finland.

The Finnish leader said Finland is ready to share experience with Vietnam and encourage investment partnership in clean energy, renewable energy, the environment, water treatment, smart city and education-training.  
           
During a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, PM Phuc hailed the new developments in bilateral ties and China’s good will in promoting bilateral cooperation in the past time. He proposed that the two sides maintain visits and meetings between high-ranking officials of the two Parties and countries, while pushing their ministries, sectors and localities to actively take measures to promote sustainable and balanced trade along with reducing Vietnam’s trade deficit with China. He also urged coordination for the effective and on-schedule implementation of cooperative projects.         

The Vietnamese government leader affirmed that Vietnam welcomes and creates favourable conditions for Chinese firms to carry out hi-tech and environmentally-friendly projects in Vietnam. He suggested accelerating cooperative projects in transport, agriculture, environment, science-technology, finance-monetary, and studying measures to cut costs for railway transport of goods from Vietnam to other Asian and European countries through China.

Regarding the sea issue, PM Phuc stressed that the two sides should control disputes, maintain peace, stability in the East Sea; seriously implement the common perception of leaders of both countries as well as the Vietnam-China agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea issues; persist in settling disputes by peaceful measures in line with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, while well handling issues related to fisheries and fishermen’s operation at sea and respecting each other’s legitimate rights and interests.
           
Premier Li Keqiang affirmed that the Party, Government and people of China are willing to work with Vietnam to promote the friendly neighbourliness and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries. He said China hopes the two sides would seize opportunities to boost win-win cooperation in all fields, well control the situation and properly handle disputes, and maintain peace and stability in the East Sea, thus contributing to the stable and sustainable development of the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
           
In another meeting, PM Phuc and his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg agreed to promote bilateral partnership across the fields and continue to coordinate at multilateral forums and the UN.

The Norwegian PM said Norway supports Vietnam’s bid to run for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council during 2020-2021, while appreciating Vietnam’s participating iin the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan with the deployment of the field hospital level 2 recently. Norway is ready to share experience with and help Vietnam enhance the capacity of its peacekeeping forces, the PM said.

PM Erna Solberg also affirmed that she will push for the early signing and ratification of the EVFTA.

The two PMs underlined the importance of the sea, and agreed on the need for not only preservation but also sustainable development of the sea. To this goal, it is necessary to maintain peace, stability and cooperation in each region as well as on the global scale on the basis of international law and basic principles of the UN.

In addition, PM Phuc also had sideline talks with UK PM Theresa May, Russian PM  Dmitry Medvedev, and Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, during which the leaders discussed measures to enhance bilateral relations and coordination at international forums. They reached agreement on facilitating trade and investment and sustainable development, as well as on joint efforts to enhance the effectiveness of multilateral mechanisms and the role of international law and basic principles of the UN.-VNA