Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son has joined working sessions with institutions of the European Union (EU) in order to promote cooperation between the country and the bloc.

During his four-day visit to Belgium, which started on June 1, Son met with his Belgian counterpart Dirk Achten, Chief Operating Officer of the European External Action Service David O’Sullivan and Minister of Cooperation and Development Jean Pascal Labille, during which they discussed the implementation of bilateral cooperation activities and compared notes on their common concerns.

Son asked the European Parliament and EU member nations to soon approve the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation (PCA) between Vietnam and the EU and recognise Vietnam’s market economy before the two sides end their negotiations on the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), and facilitate Vietnam’s goods to easily access the EU market.

The guest also suggested that the two sides should hasten the negotiation process to be able to finish the EVFTA in October, while affirming that the Vietnamese government will make every effort to ensure security and safety for assets and workers, as well as the legitimate interests of foreign businesses, including those from the EU.

In regards to recent developments in the East Sea, Son briefed the hosts on China’s illegal act of placing its oil rig in Vietnam’s waters.

China’s move seriously violates Vietnam’s sovereign right and jurisdiction, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and threatens stability, safety and maritime security in the region and the world, he stated.

He called on EU and Belgian officials, European scholars and businesses to raise their voice to demand China respect international law and immediately remove its rig and ships out of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, and negotiate with Vietnam to solve the issue by peaceful measures.-VNA