Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Belgian counterpart, Charles Michel, shake hands before their talks in Brussels on October 16 (Photo: VNA)

Brussels (VNA) – Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Belgian counterpart, Charles Michel, highlighted the strides in the two countries’ relations in numerous spheres during their talks in Brussels on the afternoon of October 16 (local time).

PM Phuc, who is on an official visit to Belgium, said Vietnam will always treasure its friendship and multifaceted cooperation with the European nation. He thanked PM Michel and the Belgian Government for supporting bilateral ties over the years.

Michel noted that the trip – which takes place on the threshold of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit and amidst the 45th founding anniversary of the countries’ diplomatic ties – will create a new driving force for bilateral connections to grow strongly.

The two PMs said that Vietnam-Belgium relations have enjoyed progress in multiple areas and at many levels, from local to central levels, creating diverse cooperation links that have helped to capitalise on the strength of both sides.

They agreed to increase mutual visits and meetings at all levels. PM Phuc also took this occasion to invite his counterpart to visit Vietnam, and Michel accepted the invitation with pleasure.

At the talks, the leaders agreed to enhance economic partnerships and maintain cooperation mechanisms, such as the Vietnam-Belgium Joint Committee. The two sides will also improve the effectiveness of cooperation projects as well as coordination among mechanisms.

PM Michel said that bilateral trade and investment have continued to expand well, noting that last year’s trade revenue of 2.7 billion USD will be a catalyst for Belgium’s trade and investment in Vietnam.

He affirmed his support for the early signing and ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which will provide practical benefits for the EU and form a bridge linking Europe with Southeast Asia and the Asia Pacific.

The PMs emphasised the need to work together to create conditions for connecting Vietnamese and Belgian partners, especially in fields Belgium holds strength and Vietnam has demand for, namely transportation, seaports, logistics services, green technology, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and renewable energy.

The establishment of a strategic partnership in agriculture and cooperation in food safety and hygiene between the two countries will provide optimal conditions for high-quality Vietnamese agricultural and fishery products to enter Belgium and vice versa. They will also help the agricultural sectors of both sides to expand production and apply high technology to meet sustainability requirements, the leaders said.

They added that Vietnam and Belgium should build on what they have achieved so far in development cooperation and collaboration in education-training, science-technology, justice, and culture.

PM Phuc also called on the Belgian Government to continue favourable conditions for Vietnamese people in the country.

At the event, the two leaders stressed that their countries need to enhance cooperation and mutual support at multilateral forums and international organisations, especially the United Nations.

PM Phuc welcomed the EU and Belgium’s viewpoint on and active role in the East Sea issue. The two sides underscored the importance of peace, stability, and security in the East Sea; the settlement of disputes by peaceful means; and respect for international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. –VNA