Vietnamese and Indonesian leaders are due to lift bilateral relations to a strategic partnership level during President Truong Tan Sang’s visit to Indonesia from June 27-28, ushering in new cooperation opportunities for the development and prosperity of each nation.

The two countries established their relationship at a consul-general level in December 1955, which was upgraded to an ambassadorial level on August 15, 1964. Over the past years, the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Indonesia have continued to grow.

They regularly exchange all-level delegations, which include Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s official visit to Indonesia in September 2011, and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s state-level visit to Vietnam in October 2010.

The two countries have signed an action plan for the 2012-2015 period and more than 30 agreements to lay a solid legal foundation for bilateral cooperation in various realms.

Vietnam is one of Indonesia’s 14 “comprehensive” and “strategic” partners that the country prioritises developing ties with. Numerous localities from the two nations have established links, notably those between Kien Giang and West Kalimantan, Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Padang, and Da Nang and Semarang.

Bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation has seen stable development. Two-way trade has grown steadily from 3.3 billion USD in 2010 to over 4.6 billion USD last year. The figure is expected to exceed five billion USD before 2015. Vietnam primarily exports rice, crude oil and farm produce to Indonesia and imports fertiliser, oil and gas, packaging, machinery, fabric, paper and confectionery.

As of this April, Indonesia ranked 27 th out of 101 countries and territories worldwide investing in Vietnam, with 35 projects worth over 282 million USD focusing on oil and gas surveying and exploitation, coal mining, banking, tourism, wood processing and export, fibre production and garment manufacturing.

Over the past years, national defence and security have upheld the tradition of fine cooperation. The two sides inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on defence cooperation and are working to sign other deals in this field.

Other links in education and training, agriculture, forestry, energy, culture and tourism have been promoted. Indonesia offers hundreds of language, arts and information technology scholarships to Vietnamese students.

President Sang’s visit aims to affirm Vietnam ’s consistent policy of fortifying friendship and comprehensive cooperation with Indonesia – a traditional and important partner of Vietnam in ASEAN and the region.
It also looks to boost economic, trade, investment, national defence and security cooperation opportunities, and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the East Sea issue and ASEAN cooperation.