The first meeting of the Vietnam-Indonesia Committee for Bilateral Cooperation took place in Hanoi on July 25.

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and his Indonesian counterpart, Marty Natalegawa, co-chaired the meeting, which aimed to realise an agreement between the two Governments stated in the Vietnam-Indonesia Action Programme for the 2012-2015 period.

At the event, the two sides reviewed the implementation of the action programme, especially in politics, security, defence, economics, trade and investment.

They also put forth orientations to consolidate and raise bilateral cooperation to a new level towards a strategic partnership in the future.

The two FMs expressed their pleasure at recent positive developments in the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Indonesia .

They agreed to increase the exchange of visits at all levels and strengthen people-to-people exchanges.

The ministers spoke highly of the two countries’ security and defence cooperation since they signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation in 2010.

They agreed to suggest the two Governments speed up discussions on an agreement on regulations for joint patrols in contiguous waters and establish a communication channel between the two navies.

Minh and his Indonesian counterpart said the two countries should also strengthen trade and investment promotion activities in an effort to reach the target of 5 billion USD in two-way trade ahead of 2015.

The two sides also reached a consensus on furthering cooperation in maritime issues, fisheries, agriculture, food security and judicial matters.

They emphasised the need to pay more attention to enhancing cooperation in education-training, culture, sports and tourism.

The ministers spent time discussing cooperation between the two countries at regional and international forums, particularly in the framework of ASEAN.

They also debated regional issues of common concern, including the East Sea issue, stressing the maintenance of peace, stability, maritime security and safety in the East Sea, the respect for international laws and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the full implementation of the Declaration on Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and advancing towards a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea.

Minister Minh highly valued Indonesia ’s efforts and ASEAN FMs’ release of a six-point joint statement on the East Sea issue on July 20.

The Vietnamese and Indonesian FMs signed the minutes of the meeting, stating that the two sides agreed to hold the second session of the committee in Indonesia in 2014.

At a post-meeting press briefing, Minister Minh expressed his belief that agreements reached at the meeting will be actively implemented in the near future, helping bring the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Indonesia to a new level towards a strategic partnership.

The Indonesian FM said he wishes that the two sides will closely cooperate in developing their ties more closely, reflecting the strategic nature of this relationship.

He spoke highly of Vietnam ’s role in the year 2010 when it served the ASEAN Chair, which he said marked an important development in the process of building the ASEAN Community.

Natalegawa stressed that Vietnam and Indonesia will support and represent regional peace and prosperity and the ASEAN Community.

He said he believes that Vietnam will be a reliable partner in solving the region’s common issues, including the East Sea issue, as well as in strengthening the central role of ASEAN in the evolving regional architecture./.