Vietnam, New Zealand lift bilateral ties to strategic partnership hinh anh 1Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the talks with his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern on July 22 (Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern announced the elevation of their countries’ relations to a strategic partnership during their online talks on July 22.

The strategic partnership was set up amid the 45th founding anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties as well as the positive and sustainable development of the comprehensive partnership founded in 2009, and based on the common interest and vision and the growing mutual trust between the two nations.

The two PMs voiced their belief that the new partnership will create momentum for bilateral relations to continue growing in an increasingly effective manner in all spheres, for the sake of the two peoples and for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

PM Phuc highly valued the comprehensive development of the two countries’ friendship and cooperation over the past almost half a century, and appreciated New Zealand’s official development assistance, which he said has effectively contributed to Vietnam’s socio-economic development in the period.

As the global and regional economy has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese leader suggested both sides maintain the upward trend of their trade and strive to raise bilateral trade to 2 billion USD annually at an early date.

He also asked New Zealand to open its market wider to Vietnam’s agricultural products and share experience in building trademarks and developing value chains to help Vietnamese fruits access demanding markets.

For her part, PM Ardern congratulated Vietnam on its success in coping with COVID-19, noting both countries’ good control of the pandemic has created favourable conditions for them to soon resume connectivity and cooperation in all aspects.

She spoke highly of Vietnam’s role and active performance as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, as well as its contributions to UN peacekeeping activities.

The leader also thanked Vietnam for its active support for and contribution to the enhancement of the ASEAN-New Zealand strategic partnership.

Vietnam, New Zealand lift bilateral ties to strategic partnership hinh anh 2The teleconferenced talks on July 22 (Photo: VNA)

During their talks, the two PMs agreed to assign their countries’ foreign ministries to build an action plan for implementing the strategic partnership, including holding regular meetings between the Government leaders; organising annual meetings between ministers of foreign affairs, national defence, and industry and trade, along with leaders of the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security and the New Zealand Police, as well as bilateral dialogue mechanisms on agriculture, maritime cooperation, and other issues of shared concern.

They agreed to keep strengthening defence and security cooperation in an increasingly substantive manner via delegation exchanges, policy consultation, visits to ports, training, and transnational crime fight.

The two also emphasised the resolve to improve cooperation in other fields, especially education, science-technology, and people-to-people exchange.

Besides, they affirmed the commitment to fostering cooperation and mutual support at multilateral forums, particularly when Vietnam is serving as the ASEAN Chair in 2020 and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021, and New Zealand is preparing to take over the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) chairmanship in 2021, and both are active members of new-generation free trade agreements like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

They underlined that Vietnam and New Zealand share common viewpoints on and interests in many regional and international issues of common concern, and both support multilateralism and rules-based regional and international order.

Continuing to voice concerns about developments in the East Sea, the PMs affirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight, along with peacefully resolving disputes on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

They stressed that the UNCLOS is the solid legal framework regulating all activities in seas and oceans, and called on parties to respect rulings made by dispute settlement mechanisms of this convention.

On the occasion of the high-level talks and partnership elevation, the two sides issued a joint statement on the Vietnam-New Zealand strategic partnership.

They also announced four bilateral cooperation documents inked on this occasion, namely an arrangement on the facilitation of customs clearance for agro-forestry-fishery products; a strategic engagement plan on education for 2020-2023; a memorandum of arrangement on financial cooperation; and an arrangement on cooperation in vocational education and training and skills development./.