Vietnam, Belarus’s top legislators hold talks hinh anh 1National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan shakes hands with Chairwoman of the Council of the National Assembly of Belarus Natalya Kochanova in Minsk on December 12. (Photo: VNA)

Minsk (VNA) – Vietnam and Belarus should work together to lift the two-way trade to 500 million USD to match both sides’ potential and desire, said National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan during talks with Chairwoman of the Council of the National Assembly of Belarus Natalya Kochanova in Minsk on December 12.

Ngan is on her first official visit to Belarus from December 12 – 14.

The Chairwoman of the Council of the National Assembly of Belarus said the Vietnamese top legislator’s visit will take the two countries’ long-standing friendship and multi-faceted cooperation to the next level.

The level of mutual trade between the two nations does not correspond to their potential  so the two sides need to further bolster cooperation in this area, Kochanova continued, saying the Belarusian NA will do it best to reinforce the ties between the two parliaments and countries.

The Vietnamese top legislator, for her part, said Vietnam always treasures the friendly relations with Belarus, which date back to the times of the Soviet Union.

She welcomed cooperation between cities and provinces from both sides, citing Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Quang Ninh and Minsk, Da Nang and Grosno, and Lao Cai and Brest as examples. She expected the two legislatures will together urge these localities to work out specific plans and cooperation programmes in the near future.

Sharing Kochanova’s view on the modest bilateral economic and trade cooperation, Ngan said the two nations must strive to lift the two-way trade to 500 million USD in the coming time. She suggested the two sides to give priority to areas where Vietnam’s advantages match Belarus’ demands, such as textile and garment, wood, fishery, pharmaceuticals, computers and rice, and boost trade of agricultural products that they can complement each other.

The two sides should also seek new opportunities for cooperation, make the most of the Vietnam – Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) Free Trade Agreement and promote the popularisation of the FTA among their business communities, she added.

She highly spoke of Belarus as a traditional and trustworthy partner in defence and security of Vietnam, proposing the two sides continue maintaining effective cooperation, delegation exchanges and implementation of the Vietnam – Belarus military-technical cooperation for 2016 – 2020, and complete legal framework for partnership in security.

She went on to emphasise Vietnam’s consistent stance on the East Sea that all disputes must be settled by peaceful measures, in line with international law, including the UN Charter and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). All concerned parties must fully and effectively implement the Declaration on Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and soon conclude the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), she said.

Vietnam hopes Belarus will continue supporting the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes in the East Sea, she added.

The Belarusian NA speaker said Belarus will always back Vietnam at multilateral forums on the basis of mutual benefits and the two countries’ traditional friendship.

Both leaders appreciated the operation of the Vietnam – Belarus inter-governmental committee on economics, trade, science and technology.

Belarus sees Vietnam as a strategic partner and a springboard for increasing its economic presence in the Southeast Asia, Kochanova said.

Both sides agreed that they need to help joint ventures of the two countries gain a broader access to Asian and European markets and that a Belarus Day will be held in Vietnam in 2021.

Kochanova affirmed the Belarusian NA attaches importance to ties with the Vietnamese NA, adding that a friendship parliamentarians’ group with Vietnam will be set up in the coming time.

To further enhance ties between the two legislatures, the two leaders agreed to increase exchanges of high-level delegations, committees and friendly parliamentarians’ groups to boost mutual understanding and trust; continue effectively implementing the two sides’ agreement signed in April 2009 and promoting close coordination at multilateral forums such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU); and jointly review and supervise the enforcement of agreements reached by the two countries’ governments and ministries./.