Vietnam has elevated bilateral relations with Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore to strategic partnership this year, reaffirming the country’s consistent foreign policy of openness, multi-lateralisation and diversification with priorities to enhancing relations with regional countries. The Vietnam Government Portal reports.

The strategic partnership reflects an absolute political trust between Vietnam and the three partners, opening up new prospects for closer ties and comprehensive cooperation for the interest of each nation, and for peace, stability and development in the region and the world while contributing to building a united, strong and prosperous ASEAN Community.

The Vietnam – Thailand Joint Statement issued in June during Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s official visit to Thailand states that the two countries will enhance mutual trust and understanding through exchanges of high-level visits and strategic political dialogues, and to maintain sound political ties as a solid foundation for the development and strengthening of co-operation in other areas.

Meanwhile, the agreements Vietnam signed with Indonesia and Singapore aim to intensify the exchange of high-level visits and enhance mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields via mechanisms in which the countries can review the implementation of the strategic partnership.

Sound political relations with these partners will not only help Vietnam take advantages of resources to catch up with other ASEAN member countries’ development, but also facilitate the ASEAN community construction.

In addition, Vietnam have agreed with the partners to enhance mutual coordination and support at regional and international forums and in coping with traditional and non-traditional security challenges.

These enhanced bilateral ties will contribute to strengthening the regional unity on the way towards an ASEAN Community now that the three ASEAN founding members have recognised Vietnam’s role in the bloc and international arena.

Economic cooperation is also considered as an important pillar in the strategic partnership between Vietnam and the three regional countries.

Thailand now ranks tenth out of Vietnam’s 96 investors with 300 projects worth a total of 6.11 billion USD. In return, Vietnam has invested in seven projects in Thailand with a total capital of 11.35 million USD. Last year, two-way trade hit 8.62 billion USD. The two countries are striving to increase the annual two-way trade volume to 15 billion USD by 2020.

The bilateral economic, trade and investment co-operation between Vietnam and Indonesia has seen positive developments with a sharp increase in two-way trade from 364 million USD in 1995 to 4.6 billion USD in 2012, and a target of 10 billion USD by 2018.

Indonesia is currently investing in 35 projects in Vietnam capitalised at over 282 million USD, making it the 27th largest foreign investor out of the 101 countries and territories investing in the country.

Meanwhile, Vietnam-Singapore two-way trade surpassed 9 billion USD last year and reached 3.5 billion USD in the first five months of this year. Singaporean direct investment in Vietnam continues to rise. By July 2013, Singapore had nearly 1,200 projects worth over 28 billion USD, ranking second among countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

Together with enhancing political and economic ties, the three partners have also agreed to boost cooperation with Vietnam in security, defense, education, training, culture, sport, tourism and people-to-people diplomacy.

The strategic partnership between Vietnam and Thailand , Indonesia and Singapore has founded the basis not only for future sound bilateral relations, but also for a united and prosperous ASEAN Community.-VNA