Vietnam and Italy have vowed to intensify future cooperation in various fields, especially in economics, trade, investment and defence.

The assertion was made at a meeting between Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and visiting Italian Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola in Hanoi on January 10.

Dung hailed Paola’s visit to Vietnam during the year the countries are celebrating their 40 th anniversary of diplomatic ties. He spoke positively of the recent talks between Paola and his Vietnamese counterpart, Phung Quang Thanh.

The PM said he hopes the two sides will enhance links in fields of each side’s strength, and at international forums. He expressed his support for the development of bilateral defence cooperation, describing it as an important pillar in the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Paola said Italy is willing to partner with Vietnam in defence, especially in shipbuilding and training.

He said General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s upcoming visit to Italy will lift their strategic partnership to a new level.

Both host and guest affirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability and maritime security and safety in the East Sea . They stressed the need to settle disputes peacefully and in line with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and promptly build the Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (COC).

At a press briefing following the talks between the Defence Ministers, Thanh said the two sides openly and frankly discussed issues on Southeast Asia, the East Sea and bilateral defence cooperation, including the exchange of delegations, human resource training and the defence industry.

Thanh said the two countries’ deputy defence ministers will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral defence cooperation in the near future, for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

Italy highly values the role, position and importance of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam. The region is a driving force for global economic growth, Paola said.

He added that Italy is willing to offer scholarships to Vietnamese military officers, especially to those that are eager to study Italian and defence issues.

Paola’s visit to Vietnam is the first of an Italian Defence Minister since the two countries established bilateral defence ties.-VNA