Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung held bilateral meetings with his Thai and Singaporean counterparts Yingluck Shinawatra and Lee Hsien Loong, and Filipino President Benigno S. Aquino III on the sidelines of the 22nd ASEAN Summit in Brunei on April 24-25.

At the meeting with Yingluck, the two sides noted with pleasure their growing friendship and all-around cooperation in politics, national security and defence, economics, trade, investment and socio-culture over the past time, especially since the Vietnam–Thailand Joint Cabinet convened its second meeting on October 27, 2012.

Last year, two-way trade hit 9.67 billion USD. Thailand has invested in 300 projects worth 6.12 billion USD in Vietnam.

The two PMs agreed to assign relevant ministries and departments to complete the details of a strategic partnership between the two nations to submit to both countries’ leaders.

Dung highly valued the Thai side’s invitation to Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to visit the country this year. He accepted the invitation to visit Thailand and attend the Joint Cabinet meeting later this year.

Regarding ASEAN cooperation, the two leaders agreed to focus efforts on fulfilling the Community establishment agenda this year, towards building the ASEAN Community by 2015.

PM Dung spoke highly of Thailand’s coordinator role in ASEAN–China ties. He affirmed that Vietnam is always willing to work with Thailand to fulfil responsibilities in the 2012–2015 period, as well as speed up ASEAN–China negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

While greeting his Singaporean counterpart, Dung hailed Singapore as Vietnam’s leading investment partner as it has invested in nearly 1,100 projects at a combined capital of 24 billion USD in Vietnam. In 2012, two-way trade between the two countries hit 9.6 billion USD.

Dung promised to deliver a speech at the Shangri La dialogue this May and wished to welcome the Singaporean PM’s visit to Vietnam in September, during which, the two countries are expected to issue a Joint Declaration on lifting bilateral ties to a strategic partnership, which will mark a new stage in the two countries’ ties.

The two leaders also agreed to organise activities to mark the 40th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties this year.

They pledged that the two nations will work together at regional and global forums, especially within the framework of ASEAN and the United Nations.

Both sides shared the view that it is necessary to maintain peace, stability, maritime security, safety and freedom in the East Sea, settle disputes by peaceful means, respect international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the ASEAN–China Joint Declaration on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, and promptly formulate the COC.

Vietnam commends ASEAN’s consensus on the COC’s basic contents as well as the Declaration on Six-Point Principles in the East Sea made by ASEAN Foreign Ministers, Dung said.

At a meeting with the Filipino President, the two sides praised the development of their bilateral ties in various fields. Two-way trade was nearly 3 billion USD last year.

The Vietnamese leader suggested Aquino works with Filipino judicial agencies to promptly release 24 Vietnamese fishermen held by the Philippines.

Aquino promised to actively deal with the issue.

As to the East Sea issue, the two sides consented that ASEAN member nations and relevant sides should enhance efforts to maintain peace, stability and maritime security, peacefully settle disputes and comply with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.-VNA