Vietnam, New Zealand continue deepening bilateral relations hinh anh 1Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son. (Photo: VNA)

Wellington (VNA)Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son and his New Zealand counterpart Nanaia Mahuta co-chaired the first Vietnam – New Zealand Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Wellington on September 14.

The meeting was in line with the Action Plan to deploy the Vietnam – New Zealand Strategic Partnership for the 2021-2024 period.

Son, who is on an official visit to New Zealand from September 13-15, affirmed that Vietnam always highly values strengthening ties with New Zealand, a strategic partner of Vietnam in the South Pacific and also a strategic partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Both sides shared the view that since they upgraded the bilateral ties to the strategic partnership in July 2020, practical and effective progress has been seen in their comprehensive cooperation.

Despite impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, two-way trade still rose by 26.7% annually in 2021 to 1.3 billion USD. New Zealand committed 26.7 million NZD (16 million USD) in official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam from July 2021 to June 2024. Cooperative ties in the fields of national defence-security, education-training and agriculture have also been promoted.

The ministers agreed to continue consolidating political ties and trust via the exchange of delegations and high-level meetings, maintain bilateral cooperation and dialogue mechanisms, effectively tapping existing economic cooperation mechanisms such as the Joint Committee for Economic and Trade Cooperation, the High-Level Dialogue on Agricultural Cooperation, and implement new-generation trade deals such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to which both nations are members.

Son suggested New Zealand offer all possible support for Vietnam’s farm produce to enter the country, initially fresh lemon, pomelo and longan. He also proposed New Zealand to continue providing ODA for Vietnam in the fields of sustainable agriculture, climate change response, health and innovation.

Mahuta vowed to create conditions for Vietnamese firms to do business in the country in promising fields such as processing, wholesale and retail, and agriculture.

The Vietnamese minister asked New Zealand to offer more scholarships to Vietnamese students and officials from Vietnamese ministries, agencies and localities, as well as make it easier for Vietnamese students to return to New Zealand following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two sides discussed increasing quotas for Vietnamese citizens under the Working Holiday Visa programme and the resumption of direct flights between the two nations.

The host minister pledged to continue assisting Vietnam in training personnel for peacekeeping missions, fighting trans-national crimes, and sharing experience in disaster prevention, control, search and rescue operations.

They highlighted the need to bolster ties in climate change response, reduction of greenhouse emissions, forest preservation and development, sustainable and eco-friendly agriculture, fishery cooperation, and marine environment protection.

On regional and global issues, they promised to continue mutual trust and support at multilateral organisations and forums, especially at the United Nations and ASEAN.

They shared a stance on ensuring peace, stability, security, cooperation and development in the region based on rules, and settling matters, including the East Sea issue, in line with international law, and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Mahuta reaffirmed that New Zealand treasures its strategic partnership with ASEAN and will support sub-regional mechanisms./.