Vietnam has actively contributed to promoting cooperation between ASEAN and its partners, especially the European Union, said a senior Vietnamese official who accompanied Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to the eighth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM 8) in Brussels, Belgium, from Oct. 4-5.

Deputy Foreign Minister Doan Xuan Hung, in an interview with Vietnam News Agency correspondent on Oct. 5, said European members to the meeting praised Vietnam’s active role as ASEAN Chair in 2010 and applauded the bloc’s efforts in developing a strong, dynamic and sustainable community, and paid attention to potentials for cooperation between the two continents within the Mekong River cooperation framework.

According to the deputy minister, during the ASEM-8 PM Dung spotlighted important contributions made by the ASEAN bloc in general and Vietnam in particular to issues of the ASEM’s concern.

“PM Dung made a number of suggestions for sustainable development, such as intensifying experience sharing and assistance to designing of sustainable development models and strategies, ensuring social security for disadvantaged and vulnerable people, and promoting on-going sustainable development programmes at sub-regional and regional levels in the two continents,” Hung said.

“His two initiatives to organise ASEM forums on green growth and social security networks were highly valued by the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and the Republic of Korea, and approved unanimously at the meeting,” Hung further said.

Vietnam joined important events towards the ASEM-8, including the cultural exhibition “Way to Asia – 2,500 years of Asia-Europe Exchange” . The country brought to the display more than 30 antiques, many of them are valuable and of historical and cultural significance such as a Dong Son bronze drum, Cham-pa stone statues dated back to the tenth century, and Buddhist statues from the 11th -12th centuries.

Vietnam’s participation in the event helped foreign friends to better understand the country which has a long history and culture imbued with national identities. Significantly, it takes place when Vietnam is celebrating the millennium anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi, he added.

During the two short days of the ASEM-8, the Vietnamese delegation were busy with an agenda of six sessions and 20 meetings with top leaders of ASEM countries.

The concrete agreements made at the meetings were important to Vietnam ’s relations with partners and its development policies, laying a foundation for comprehensive and long-term relations with European members, he said.

Vietnam has initialled the EU-Vietnam Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which is considered as the framework for the development of an equal, long-term and stable partnership and comprehensive cooperation for peace and development between Vietnam and the EU.

Vietnam and the EU have also agreed to launch Free Trade Agreement negotiations soon.

Hung also highlighted results made at the ASEM-8, which took place at a time when the global economy, especially Asian and European economies started recovering after the crisis.

The ASEM leaders adopted the “ASEM Chair’s Declaration on happiness and dignity” and the “ASEM 8 Declaration on strengthening the efficiency of global economic governance”, performing a strong determination to restructure the global economy and finance.

In conclusion, the deputy minister said Vietnam’s harmonious combination between multilateral and bilateral diplomacy helped raise the country’s position and develop its relations with partners./.