Vietnam wishes, together with Belgium, to continue developing their friendship and cooperation, bringing practical efficiency and benefits to both countries.

While receiving Belgian Foreign Minister Yves Leterme in Hanoi on August 12, the government leader said he was pleased with the development of the bilateral relationship in all aspects as well as the results of the talk between the Belgian guest and Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem.

He suggested that the two countries speed up cooperation and coordination to ensure the success of the 8 th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 8) scheduled for next year, when Vietnam will assume the ASEAN Presidency while Belgium will undertake the EU Chair during the last six months of the year.

The Prime Minister thanked the Belgian government for its development aid programmes for Vietnam in the past time and expressed the wish to receive continued support from the European country, especially in education and vocational training.

For his part, Minister Leterme said this was his first visit to Vietnam , as well as Asia since he took up office in July this year.

He said he admired Vietnam as a country that has managed to maintain positive economic growth despite the on-going economic downturn.

In addition to its economic achievements, the Southeast Asian country has also achieved notable success in its diplomacy, helping improve its position in the international arena, he added.

The Belgian minister agreed with PM Dung on establishing an inter-governmental committee in order to boost bilateral ties, particularly in economics, trade and investment.

He also pledged to consider possible aid for Vietnam in education and vocational training.

Two-way trade between the two countries reached 1.4 billion USD in 2008 and Belgium has so far poured over 80 million USD into Vietnam./.