|Vietnamese Ambassador to Myanmar Luan Thuy Duong
Progress has been made across all five pillars of the partnership, namely political cooperation, defence and security cooperation, economic cooperation, socio-cultural, and people-to-people exchange, and regional and international cooperation, she said.
The ambassador cited statistics that showed two-way trade reached US$548.3 million in 2016, surpassing the goal of US$500 million.
In 2017, the bilateral trade hit US$828.3 million, showing a year-on-year rise of 51 percent.
Meanwhile, Vietnam became the seventh largest foreign investor in Myanmar with 70 projects worth around US$2 billion.
Among the effective projects are: Hoang Anh Gia Lai Complex Centre in Yangon, direct flights between Vietnam and Myanmar operated by Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet Air, a branch of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), and the telecommunication network of Viettel in Myanmar (Mytel).
To date, more than 200 Vietnamese enterprises have made their presence in Myanmar in various forms such as representative office, branch, joint venture and company with 100 percent of Vietnamese capital.
The bilateral cooperation in defence and security has been deepened in an effective and practical manner with new content for cooperation such as exchanges of young officers, training in Vietnamese and Myanmar languages, military medicine, defence industry, border management, illegal migration control, and fighting smuggling.
Vietnam and Myanmar have also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on culture and education cooperation, creating a momentum for cooperation programmes and exchanges in those fields.
During the official visit to Vietnam in April 2018 by Myanmar State Counsellor, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister of the Office of the President of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi, the two countries defined more clearly the direction of cooperation at present and in the future.
The two countries have emphasised the exchange of delegations at all levels and channels, including the Party, Government and National Assembly, with the party channel to be an important pillar.
Vietnamese and Myanmar leaders have also expressed their determination to boost cooperation in trade-investment, security-defence, and agro-forestry-fishery in addition to finance and banking, education, health, justice, energy, oil and gas, tourism, transportation and telecommunication.
The two countries will soon sign a plan of actions for 2018-2023 to deploy their comprehensive cooperative partnership effectively.
The historical and cultural similarities are an advantage for the two nations to promote people-to-people exchanges, cultural cooperation and community building.
However, the Vietnamese ambassador took note that challenges and obstacles still remain in the process of promoting the partnership between Vietnam and Myanmar, one of which is the sensitive issues in their cooperation in politics and defence.
From the bilateral aspect, both countries must take care to observe the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs while sharing experience in stabilising political situation, ensuring security, and promoting economy.
From the multilateral aspect, as ASEAN members, Vietnam and Myanmar must ensure that their bilateral relations do not interfere with multilateral cooperation and vice versa.
At the same time, the complexity of Myanmar’s internal politics forces the Government to concentrate most of its resources on dealing with it, thus it will be a great challenge to maintain a stable diplomatic policy.
Thirdly, given the current complex situation in the region and the world, when the crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State is being internationalised and the East Sea issue is threatening the sovereignty of Vietnam, both countries are bearing a lot of pressure from the outside. Therefore, the two countries need to trust each other, share views and information more often and provide mutual support at regional and international forums to ensure the sustainable development of their ties.
Myanmar is among the first countries to establish friendly ties with Vietnam. In 1947, Vietnam set up its first liaison office in Yangon. The two sides agreed to upgrade the liaison office to an information and propaganda office in 1948, and to Consulate General in 1957. On May 28, 1975, the two countries officially established diplomatic relations.