Vietnam and Singapore issued a joint statement on the establishment of a strategic partnership in Hanoi on September 11 during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s official visit.

The statement runs as follows:

At the invitation of H.E. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, H.E. Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore and Mrs Lee Hsien Loong paid an official visit to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on 11 - 13 September 2013. The visit is a highlight of the 40 th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Singapore .

During the visit, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong paid courtesy calls on General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong and President Truong Tan Sang; met Chairman of the National Assembly Nguyen Sinh Hung and held official talks with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, followed by a reception. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung also attended the ground breaking ceremony of the 5 th Vietnam - Singapore Industrial Park in Quang Ngai Province .

On this occasion, both sides reaffirmed the strong relations of friendship, comprehensive cooperation and mutual trust between Vietnam and Singapore and agreed to build upon existing bilateral agreements, including the Joint Declaration on Comprehensive Cooperation Framework in the 21 st Century (2004) and the Framework Agreement on Connectivity (2005) to further enhance bilateral cooperation . They also shared the common view that the further consolidation of long-term, stable and comprehensive relations between Vietnam and Singapore will not only serve the well-being of both countries, but also contribute to the promotion of peace, stability, prosperity and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific as well as the realization of the ASEAN Community by 2015 .

From that recognition and based on the Joint Press Communiqué in the official visit to the Republic of Singapore by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong (9/2012) on elevating bilateral relations to a strategic partnership, both sides agreed to establish a Strategic Partnership on the basis of mutual respect, trust and benefit. The Strategic Partnership shall conform to the UN and ASEAN Charters, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia , and other universally recognized principles of international law.

In accordance with this Strategic Partnership, both sides have reached the understanding to enhance cooperation between the two countries in the following areas:

On Deepening Political Relations of Mutual Trust
1. Promote regular high-level exchanges in order to give impetus to the strategic cooperation between the two countries; establish direct communications between the Leaders of the two countries; welcome and facilitate parliamentary cooperation and increased exchanges between their government agencies, aimed at strengthening the political relationship and deepening mutual understanding and cooperation.
2. Facilitate dialogue and strengthen coordination between the two countries on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual concern, through annual consultations between the two Foreign Ministries.

On Strengthening Economic Cooperation
3. Expand economic, trade and investment cooperation by creating favourable investment climates and strengthening business linkages and partnerships; continue to build on the Connectivity Framework Agreement to deepen bilateral economic engagement in all sectors of economic cooperation; encourage and support information-sharing, exchanges and linkages between the business communities of the two countries.
4. Continue to support joint business projects such as the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIP) which is a model of the mutually beneficial cooperation between Vietnam and Singapore based on public-private sector partnerships; continue, on the basis of such a model, to step up cooperation in key sectors such as transportation, information and communications technology, finance, banking, industry, urban management and development, investment projects, logistics, education and training, trade and services, and creative industries; consider to enhance bilateral cooperation in other promising areas, including cruise tourism, commodities trading, healthcare, agriculture and aquaculture.
5. Continue to encourage the flow of bilateral investments and trade. Singapore welcomes Vietnam ’s intention to increase its exports in the Singapore market, including agriculture, aquaculture and food produce. Singapore would explore with Vietnam ways to develop technical expertise in areas such as establishing environmental frameworks for dredging works necessary for port or waterway development, laboratory training for food safety, exchange programmes on animal disease diagnostics and training programmes on urban development and management.
6. Reaffirm their desire to strengthen bilateral financial cooperation, including sharing of experience in customs (single window custom, e-customs procedure process) and tax (tax administration and tax policies) matters, and further support economic linkages between both countries; encourage increased access to each other’s financial sectors, which will promote more cross-border exchanges of expertise and investments; actively implement the Memorandum of Understanding on Financial Cooperation (2012); recognise the importance of working together to promote regional financial stability through fora such as ASEAN, ASEAN Plus Three, and others.
7. Welcome the progress achieved thus far under the ASEAN Roadmap for Integration of Air Travel Sector and the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on the Full Liberalisation of Passenger Air Services. Recognising the benefits accruing to both countries from strengthened air links, both sides agree to build on these agreements and enhance further cooperation in this field, including air services liberalization on a bilaterally agreed basis, t o support the expansion of economic, trade, investment and tourism cooperation as well as people-to-people links.
8. Boost tourism cooperation between the two countries and with other countries in the region; further strengthen cooperation on tourism promotion and exchange of tourism information through the Singapore-Vietnam Tourism Cooperation (SVTC) platform.

On Enhancing Security and Defence Cooperation
9. Continue to build on the Defence Cooperation Agreement (2009) and further strengthen bilateral defence ties, mutual understanding and trust by increasing cooperation in areas such as military and training exchanges in both countries, multilateral cooperation within ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM-Plus, as well as through further exchange of views on security issues of common interest.
10. Enhance security cooperation, including capacity-building and exchange of information and intelligence; promote regular exchange of visits at the Deputy Ministerial level between Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security and Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs; review and set direction for cooperation as outlined in the Cooperation Arrangement to Prevent and Combat Transnational Crimes (signed in 2006 and extended in 2012), or under the framework of the ASEAN Plan of Action to Combat Transnational Crime, or the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP); and i ncrease the exchange of information and coordination of activities in order to combat transnational crimes and piracy.
11. Condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and strengthen cooperation to counter international terrorism.

On Promoting Other Areas of Bilateral Cooperation
12. Express satisfaction and appreciation for the role played by the Singapore Cooperation Programme, the Vietnam-Singapore Training Centre and Vietnam-Singapore Centre for Educational Excellence; enhance cooperation in human resource development under the Singapore Cooperation Programme, the Vietnam - Singapore Training Centre, the Vietnam - Singapore Centre for Educational Excellence and the Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) in areas jointly identified by both sides that support Vietnam’s continued development and promote ASE AN integration.
13. Continue to build on the Memorandum of Understanding on Educational Cooperation (2007) and work through the bilateral Joint Working Group on Education to deepen professional linkages, facilitate exchanges of visits and encourage institutional linkages.
14. Work together to further good governance, the rule of law, and continue to cooperate in legal and judicial areas for the better understanding of each other’s laws, legal systems and institutions. In this regard, both sides will exchange visits and promote information exchanges between their respective legal and judicial agencies, tertiary-level institutions and dispute resolution centres as provided under the Singapore - Vietnam Memorandum of Understanding on Legal and Judicial Cooperation (2008). Both sides are committed to maintaining the access enjoyed by each country to the other’s legal services industry and exploring ways of enhancing such access, and endeavour to explore means to enhance mutual cooperation and assistance in civil matters.
15. Agree to enhance existing cooperation in the field of public health, including information exchange, research, health care-related education and training attachments at our academic institutions, through mutually beneficial arrangements.
16. Endeavour to foster cooperation in culture, arts and sports, as well as encourage more youth exchanges in order to strengthen people-to-people links and deepen understanding between the two societies.

On Strengthening Cooperation in International and Regional Fora
17. Endeavour to enhance their bilateral partnership and cooperate with other countries in order to contribute to the promotion of peace, stability, prosperity and cooperation in the region, as well as to meet new regional and international challenges.
18. Reaffirm the respect for fundamental principles of the UN Charter and international law, including the principles of respect for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as non-interference in internal affairs of States.
19. Acknowledge the vital importance of the role of the UN in maintaining world peace, stability and development; cooperate to strengthen the UN’s role in promoting international security, as well as efforts to reform the UN system.
20. Recognise the importance of free trade and open markets in ensuring continued global economic growth and development; continue to work together to promote free trade, promote deeper regional integration through regional fora such as Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and strengthen the multilateral trading system by working to ensure that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) remains relevant to current and future realities; support the successful conclusion of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, ensuring its benefits to all the developmentally diverse members.
21. Continue to cooperate on initiatives aimed at consolidating ASEAN as the central driving force in the evolving regional architecture; recognise the maintenance of peace and stability in the region depends on ASEAN’s continued centrality, which in turn hinges on ASEAN’s autonomy, credibility and cohesion, and the consolidation of ASEAN’s relationships with key Dialogue Partners; enhance ASEAN coordination within regional and international fora such as APEC, Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the UN.
22. Work together to achieve an integrated ASEAN Community and implement ASEAN’s goals for 2015 and beyond to ensure the long-term growth and prosperity of the region; commit to the implementation of initiatives such as the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity which aims to enhance connectivity among Member States, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which would enhance economic linkages between ASEAN and its Free Trade Agreement Partners.
23. Work more closely to narrow the development gap within ASEAN under the IAI as well as other regional and sub-regional cooperation projects in which both countries are involved or have common interests.
24. Work with other ASEAN member countries to ensure peace, stability, freedom of navigation, maritime security and safety in the region, including in the South China Sea; resolve disputes through peaceful means in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); refrain from the use of force or threat to use force; fully implement the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties on the South China Sea (DOC) and the Joint Statement of 15 th ASEAN-China Summit on the 10th Anniversary of the DOC; and reach an early conclusion of a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea (COC).
25. Work closely to promote regional dialogue and cooperation on maritime issues, including within the framework of the ASEAN Maritime Forum, the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum and other existing ASEAN mechanisms.
26. Endeavour to enhance ASEAN’s role in the global community by achieving the goals set out in the Bali Declaration on an ASEAN Community in a Global Community of Nations (Bali Concord III) adopted by ASEAN leaders in November 2011.
27. In order to realise the Strategic Partnership, both sides agreed to task the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs to be the focal points, in collaboration with relevant Ministries, to provide ways and means to ensure the concrete and effective implementation of and, through existing bilateral cooperation mechanisms, to periodically review the Strategic Partnership.-VNA