New Zealand fosters ties with Vietnam

(VOV) -New Zealand (NZ) considers Vietnam one of its key partners in the Asia-Pacific region, affirmed Foreign Minister Murray McCully.

During talks with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi on March 26, the visiting NZ diplomat praised Vietnam’s outstanding achievements in socio-economic development, external relationship expansion and international integration.

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Both host and guest expressed their satisfaction at fruitful bilateral ties over recent years, especially after the two countries established their comprehensive partnership in 2009.

They reviewed a number of positive outcomes from high-level exchange visits and the signing of important agreements, including those on double tax avoidance and natural defence cooperation.

They revealed that two-way trade in 2013 was valued at US$724 million, up 27% from the previous year, and the figure is expected to hit US$1 billion in 2015. New Zealand is currently Vietnam’s 31st largest trade partner.

The two ministers agreed to organise celebratory activities to mark the 40th anniversary of Vietnam-New Zealand diplomatic relations in 2015 and realize the 2013-2016 Action Programme, to deepen the comprehensive partnership in politics, national defence, trade, investment, agriculture, aquaculture, aviation, energy, development assistance, education and training, labour, and tourism.

Examining regional and international issues of mutual concern, both sides pledged mutual support for each other at forums such as the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), as well as in ongoing negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and within the UN cooperation framework.

They stressed the need to maintain peace, stability and cooperation in the East Sea, ensure maritime security and safety, implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and accelerate negotiations for the early formation of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the sea.

Vietnam reiterated its support for New Zealand’s candidacy for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council in the 2015-2016 term.

New Zealand voiced its support for Vietnam’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the Council in the 2020-2021 term.

They also vowed to assist each other in hosting the APEC Summit in Vietnam in 2017, and in New Zealand in 2019.

This was the third time Murray McCully paid an official visit to Vietnam, following the 2010 and 2012 trips.