Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Czech counterpart Andrej Babis at a press conference flowing their talks (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The visits to Romania and the Czech Republic by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc reaffirmed Vietnam’s wish to step up the friendship and multi-faceted cooperation with traditional friends in Central and Eastern Europe, with Romania and the Czech Republic as prioritized partners.

Deputy Foreign Minister To Anh Dung made the statement in an interview granted to the press on the main outcomes of these official visits that ended on April 18.

He said through the visits, Vietnam reached common perceptions and important agreements with Romania and the Czech Republic to ratchet up bilateral ties in diverse fields.

Leaders of Romania and the Czech Republic asserted that Vietnam plays an important role in their policies and is their crucial partner in Southeast Asia. They, however, said cooperation with Vietnam remains modest, failing to keep up with the sound political ties, and expressed their wish to broaden the ties.

Vietnam and the two countries agreed to coordinate in joint activities to mark the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties in 2020, Dung said.

On economic cooperation, the sides agreed to soon convene the meeting of the Vietnam-Romania Inter-governmental Committee in 2019 and that of the Vietnam-Czech Republic Inter-governmental Committee in 2020 so specific projects in agriculture, food processing and oil production could be launched with Romania, and those in mechanical engineering, specialized machinery, footwear, garment and textile, and construction materials could be carried out with the Czech Republic.

According to Dung, PM Phuc reached agreements on labour cooperation with the Romanian leaders and on aviation with the Czech leaders. Vietnam’s newest airlines, Bamboo Airways, signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation with Prague airport, paving the way for the opening of a Hanoi-Prague direct air route in 2019.

The Czech Republic, and especially Romania as the rotating EU president, affirmed their strong support for the early signing of the European Union-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) in one or two months, he said.

The two countries’ leaders said the early signing of the two agreements offers a big opportunity for the EU in general and businesses in Central and Eastern Europe in particular to boost the exchange of trade and investments in Vietnam, contributing to bringing their cooperation with Vietnam to a new height.

During the visits, PM Phuc asked the Romanian and Czech leaders to continue assisting the Vietnamese community in integrating in their countries’ social life and contributing to the bilateral cooperation and friendship.

Discussed arising regional and global issues, the Romanian and Czech leaders showed their support for the settlement of disputes by peaceful means on the basis of international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.

Regarding bilateral cooperation potential, Dung referred to education and training, labour, tourism, and local partnership as promising fields for Vietnam’s partnership with Romania and the Czech Republic.

The Czech Republic hosts the Vietnamese community of 65,000 people, which has been recognized as the only ethnic group in Europe, while Romania hosts 500 overseas Vietnamese and nearly 3,000 Vietnamese guest workers. -VNA