Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visits to Belgium, European Union, Germany and the Vatican, as well as his participation in the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Italy were successful and contributed to deepening the relations between Vietnam and its partners, Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son said in a press conference on the outcomes of the PM’s trip.

The Deputy Foreign Minister said the PM held talks with the leaders of European partners and representatives of their localities and business circles during his visits. He also delivered a speech on security challenges in Asia, especially in the East Sea, in Berlin, Germany.

Vietnam and its partners found common ground and reached a number of important agreements to boost bilateral ties. The Belgian, EU and German leaders affirmed Vietnam’s important standing in their policies and expressed their wishes to deepen cooperation with the Southeast Asian nation.

The EU pledged to complete the ratification of the Partnership Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Vietnam in 2015 and reaffirmed its ODA commitment of 400 million EUR during the 2014-2020 period, he said.

The Vietnamese and EU leaders issued a joint statement on the highly-anticipated conclusion of the negotiations on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), he added.

Meanwhile, Germany and Belgium said they continued to regard Vietnam as a priority destination for ODA.

PM Nguyen Tan Dung and the two countries’ leaders agreed to boost collaboration in new areas, such as seaports, transport and logistics with Belgium, and clean energy, advanced technology, vocational training and labour with Germany.

The Vietnamese Government leader’s visit to the Vatican was considered a prime opportunity for both sides to strengthen mutual understanding. Pope Francis applauded Vietnam’s efforts in implementing policies on the freedom of belief and religion, and spoke highly of the activities run by Vietnam’s Catholic Church.

According to Deputy Minister Son, emerging regional and international issues were also discussed in talks between PM Nguyen Tan Dung and the partner countries’ leaders.

The Belgian, German and EU leaders said they were concerned about peace and security in the Asian-Pacific region, especially in the East Sea. They appreciated Vietnam ’s constructive and active role, and affirmed their commitment to solving disputes via peaceful means in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Pope Francis also voiced his concern over the East Sea tensions and expressed his wish to contribute to the maintenance of peace, stability and security in the region and the world.

Regarding Vietnam’s contributions to ASEM 10, the Deputy Minister said PM Nguyen Tan Dung was one of the six leaders from 53 member economies invited to address the 14 th Asia-Europe Business Forum and a plenary session of the summit.

Vietnam’s new initiatives on poverty reduction and skills training for green growth were widely supported by participating countries, he said, adding that Vietnam pledged to co-sponsor Italy’s initiative on employment for Asian and European youths.

Member countries highly valued Vietnam’s practical proposals to improve ASEM’s contributions to joint efforts to narrow the development gap and increase links within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS); to develop new and innovative approaches to food, water resources and energy security; and to devise strategies to engage businesses in these efforts.

They also praised Vietnam for its proposal on the urgent need to increase dialogue, cooperation and strategic trust-building with a view to maintaining peace, security and stability in Southeast Asia, including the East Sea, contributing to the promotion of cooperation and prosperity in the Asian-Pacific region and the world at large.

As a coordinator for ASEAN-EU relations, Vietnam worked together successfully with ASEAN and EU members to host the first unofficial summit between the two sides, which put forward measures to raise bilateral ties to a strategic partnership.

On the sidelines of ASEM 10, PM Nguyen Tan Dung met with the leaders of ASEM members, such as China, Japan, France, Italy, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Poland, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and Norway, amongst others.

During the meetings, they agreed on concrete measures to step up their relations by increasing delegational visits at all levels and accelerating the implementation of signed cooperation agreements and mechanisms.-VNA