Vietnamese Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich and his French counterpart Florence Parly (L) sign a joint vision statement on defence cooperation for 2018-2028 (Photo: VNA)

Paris (VNA) – Vietnamese Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich and his French counterpart Florence Parly signed a joint vision statement on defence cooperation for 2018-2028 at their talks in Paris on September 17 as part of the former’s ongoing visit to France.

During the talks, Minister Parly affirmed that her country highly values the role of Vietnam in the region and the world, and attaches great importance to developing bilateral ties with the Southeast Asian country.

Minister Lich said that his visit is part of activities to mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and France and five years of the bilateral strategic partnership. It aims to realise outcomes of the official visit by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong to France in March this year, he said.

The minister showed his delight at the comprehensive and effective development in bilateral relations in all fields, including politics-diplomacy, economy-trade, defence-security, culture, education, science, justice and health care.

At the talks, the two sides shared their views on regional and international matters of shared concern.

The French Defence Minister stated that France shared the stance with many countries on the need to ensure maritime and overflight security, safety and freedom on the foundation of international law.

She added that France will continue making contributions to the maintenance of an environment of peace, stability and development in areas in which the country has interests.

The two ministers agreed that all disputes must be settled peacefully in line with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.

Minister Lich declared that France is an important partner of Vietnam, adding that Vietnam highly appreciates the role of France in the world arena, and supports the European country in strengthening bilateral and multilateral partnership with the ASEAN as well as joining ASEAN mechanisms.

Vietnam hopes that France will continue to actively contribute to peace, stability and development in the region where the ASEAN is playing the central role, he stated.

The two ministers highly valued the positive developments in the Vietnam-France defence cooperation in recent times, stressing that the defence ties are one of the pillars of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Since the two sides signed the Vietnam-France agreement on defence cooperation in 2009, the bilateral defence ties have achieved important results.

Especially, after Vietnam and France upgraded their relations to Strategic Partnership, the two countries have paid more attention to promoting their defence collaboration, and reached practical results in terms of exchange of strategic views, training, and UN peace-keeping operation participation, defence industry, and military medicine.

The two sides agreed to improve the efficiency of existing coopetration mechanisms and seek ways to enhance cooperation in the fields of their strengths and those of common concern in the coming time.

The ministers signed a joint vision statement on defence cooperation in 2018-2028, and an agreement on amending the Vietnam-France cooperation agreement signed in 2009.

They said the joint vision statement aims to deepen the defence bond, thus promoting the Vietnam-France Strategic Partnership; and affirmed their goodwill to continue promoting cooperation in a long-term and effective manner based on respect for independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and laws of each country.

Through the statement, Vietnam and France want to promote common concerns, thus reinforcing and stepping up mutual trust towards expanding cooperation, maintaining security and stability in the region and the world; ensuring the compliance of international law, freedom of travel on land, sea and air routes; and coping with non-traditional security threats, with the impact caused by climate change and environmental degradation for security taken into account.

To well implement the above-mentioned cooperation orientations, the two sides will maintain regular visits and meetings at all levels; increase high-level exchanges and diversify mechanisms for bilateral consultations on international and regional security issues of mutual concern.

The two countries will intensify cooperation and mutual support at multilateral organisations and forums and foster bilateral and multilateral partnership to contribute to promoting peace and security in each region.

They also agreed to support each other in capacity building and share experience in peacekeeping operations and strengthen collaboration in the fields of defence industry, military medicine and hydrography.

The two sides will focus on enhancing cooperation in maritime security and safety as well as non-traditional security issues; and exchanging experience and seeking new opportunities to cooperate in environmental security.

The two ministers emphasised their desire to bolster cooperation in the defence industry which will stay in line with the needs of Vietnam and strengths of France. Minister Lich said the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence will facilitate defence enterprises from France to look for opportunity in Vietnam.

He noted that the signing of the joint vision statement will take the bilateral defence cooperation to a new height, contributing to deepening ties between the two nations. –VNA