Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to establish a strategic partnership between the two nations during their talks in Hanoi on Oct. 11.

At the talks, PM Dung and Chancellor Merkel also discussed a wide range of measures to boost bilateral cooperation, especially in economics, investment, education and training.

Chancellor Merkel spoke highly of Vietnam ’s socio-economic development achievements, especially in poverty reduction and in fulfilling many UN Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule, as well as the country’s increasing position in the international arena.

The leaders agreed to increase the exchange of delegations at all levels and set up a Vietnam-Germany strategic monitoring group chaired by leaders of the Foreign Ministries, to boost the effective and practical implementation of strategic cooperative contents.

They also agreed to actively implement prioritised economic cooperation projects, including building Metro Route No. 2 and German House in Ho Chi Minh City .

Chancellor Merkel said Germany will continue support for Vietnam to enhance comprehensive ties with the European Union and to gain its recognition of Vietnam as a market economy. Germany will also back Vietnam in its negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU, she added.

The German Chancellor vowed to continue providing official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam , focusing on environmental protection, response to climate change, vocational training and health care.

Germany will provide more than 400 million USD in ODA and preferential loans for development cooperation projects in Vietnam , she said.

Regarding educational cooperation, Germany pledged to continue support for the building of the Vietnam-Germany University , as well as increase scholarships and create favourable conditions for Vietnamese postgraduates in Germany . Meanwhile, Vietnam will facilitate the teaching of the German language at high schools.

The two leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation and mutual support at multilateral forums and international organisations. Vietnam is ready to serve as a bridge for Germany to strengthen ties with ASEAN countries.

After the talks, the two sides signed a number of documents, including the Hanoi Joint Declaration: Vietnam-Germany Strategic Partnership for Future; and agreements between the Vietnamese and German Governments on the building of the German House in Ho Chi Minh City and financial cooperation in 2010; and a Letter of Intent between the two Ministries of Justice on continuing legal and judiciary cooperation.

Later, PM Dung and his German counterpart had a meeting with the press on the results of their talks.

On the same day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was received by National Assembly (NA) Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, who affirmed that the Vietnamese NA will do its utmost to boost the strategic partnership between the two countries for the interests of both sides as well as for peace and stability in the world.

The Vietnamese NA is willing to cooperate closely with the German Parliament and create favourable conditions for cooperation programmes between the two Governments, Hung said.

For her part, Merkel said that the German Parliament wants to strengthen cooperation with the Vietnamese NA.

The German Government wishes to expand investment and cooperation programmes in Vietnam , she said, adding that the establishment of the Vietnam-Germany strategic partnership will facilitate cooperation between the two parliaments.

Later on the day, PM Dung hosted a banquet for the Germany Chancellor and her entourage.

During her two-day visit to Vietnam, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called at the Braun Company and Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature), known as the first university of Vietnam./.