The consensus was reached by Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament Karu Jayasuriya during their talks in Hanoi on April 24. The talks were held following a welcome ceremony for the Sri Lankan top legislator, who is on an official visit to Vietnam from April 23-27.
The Vietnamese NA leader expressed her belief that the visit of the Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker will help deepen the friendship and traditional cooperation between the two countries and the collaboration between the two legislatures.
She informed her guest that the Vietnam NA has established the Vietnam-Sri Lanka Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group.
The two sides agreed to promote the role of the friendship parliamentarians’ groups in boosting cooperation between the two law-making bodies in particular and the two countries in general, while reinforcing the legislatures’ role in monitoring and accelerating the implementation of reached agreements.
They will also step up coordination and mutual support at regional and international forums, including the IPU.
The two legislative leaders held that Vietnam and Sri Lanka should work harder to fully realise the memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation inked in 2011, promote ties in logistics and war consequence settlement, and join hands in UN peace-keeping operations.
They called for the early implementation of the biennial security dialogue mechanism at the level of minister of public security, and more sharing of experience and information to enhance capacity of fighting cross-border crimes and terrorists in order to ensure security in each nation.
Sri Lankan Speaker Karu Jayasuria expressed his hope for affiliation between the police academies of the two countries, and the Vietnamese NA Chairwoman also voiced her support of the partnership.
Regarding economic ties, the two legislative leaders took note of the growth in bilateral trade, which reached nearly 320 million USD in 2017, saying Vietnam and Sri Lanka have substantial potential for cooperation, especially in oil and gas, infrastructure, information and communications technology (ICT), garment-textile, rubber, leather and footwear, farm produce processing and distribution, seafood, dairy production and consumption, renewable energy, and aviation and maritime transportation.
NA Chairwoman Ngan urged the two sides to effectively materialise documents signed during the official visit to Vietnam by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in April 2017, and suggested amending and signing new documents to respond to the new situation.
She called for the second meeting of the joint trade subcommittee to be held early in Vietnam in order to seek measures to remove bottlenecks hindering the bilateral trade, towards raising two-way trade revenue to 1 billion USD.
The Vietnamese chief legislator also proposed increasing investment promotion and trade connectivity, saying the two sides should seek ways to effectively implement the agreement on investment promotion and protection as well as the cooperation minutes on enhancing bilateral investment.
Host and guest agreed on the need to pay more attention to aviation links, considering this a strong and effective solution to facilitate trade and tap the tourism potential of both sides.
The Sri Lankan parliament speaker pledged to help Vietnam with technologies in farming sea cucumber and seaweed, and aquaculture, while calling on Vietnam to share experience and experts in agriculture.
Echoing his guest’s views, NA Chairwoman Ngan said the two sides should support each other and avoid competition in products they both have strength like tea, coffee and seafood.
During their talks, the leaders also discussed a number of regional and international issues of shared concern.
Regarding the East Sea issue, Ngan stressed that maintaining peace, stability, security and safety of aviation and maritime in the East Sea is the common interest of countries in and outside the region.
Vietnam advocates the settlement of disputes in the East Sea by peaceful measures, in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS), with full respect for diplomatic and legal processes as well as legitimate and legal rights and interests of concerned parties, while making efforts to preserve peace and stability in the sea, she said.
The chief legislator appealed to Sri Lanka to support the stance of Vietnam and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), especially in principled matters such as aviation and navigation freedom, international law observance and peaceful settlement of disputes.
NA Chairwoman Ngan is hosting a banquet for the Sri Lankan parliament speaker and his entourage later the same day.