Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (R) and Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam and Canada have agreed to focus on stepping up cooperation in economy, trade and investment, and development assistance in the time ahead.

The consensus was reached during talks between Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion in Hanoi on September 5.

They said two-way trade increased by 20-25 percent to over 4 billion USD in 2015. Canada’s direct investment exceeded 5 billion USD in the year.

The two sides consented to increase the exchange of delegations, especially at the high-ranking levels, enhance existing dialogue mechanisms, including the political dialogue at the deputy foreign minister level, while expanding dialogue mechanisms in other fields.

They will strengthen coordination at regional and international forums, including the 2016-2020 Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-Canada Enhanced Partnership.

Vietnam welcomes Canada’s engagement in regional forums and support for Vietnam as the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2017.

Host and guest exchanged views on regional political and security situation, covering both traditional and non-traditional challenges.

They also discussed the peaceful settlement of disputes in the East Sea with respect for legal and diplomatic processes, as well as international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS), in order to maintain peace, stability, security, and maritime and aviation freedom in the sea.

Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh stressed that Vietnam attaches importance to the friendship and cooperation with Canada, while suggesting the two countries give a boost to the relationship for the sake of their people, as well as for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world at large.

Stephane Dion announced an aid package worth 15 million CAD (roughly 11.6 million USD) to help Vietnam implement a project on climate change response.

Speaking at a press conference following the talks, Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh spoke highly of Canada’s assistance, noting his hope that the country will continue to help Vietnam access preferential loans of the World Bank’s International Development Association after 2017.-VNA