|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) shakes hands with his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad (Photo: VNA)
The following is the full text of the Joint Statement.
1. At the invitation of H.E. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, H.E. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia paid an official visit to Vietnam from 26 to 28 August 2019. The Prime Minister of Malaysia was accompanied by a high level official delegation, which included the Minister of Foreign Affairs, senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
2. The official welcoming ceremony for Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was held at the Presidential Palace on 27 August 2019. During the visit, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad held bilateral talks with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Thereafter, the two Prime Ministers witnessed the signing of the Letter of Intent on the signing of the MOU on Maritime Law Enforcement and Search and Rescue Cooperation and exchange of Letters on the establishment of the Malaysia – Vietnam Parliamentary Friendship Group. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc subsequently hosted an official dinner in honour of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad later called on H.E. Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party and President of Vietnam.
3. During the bilateral meeting, the two Prime Ministers discussed a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interests. Both sides noted with satisfaction that the excellent Strategic Partnership between the two countries has been constantly bolstered on the basis of mutual trust and extensive cooperation in all areas, particularly economics, defense, security, agriculture, socio-cultural exchange and people-to-people links, among others.
4. The two Prime Ministers agreed to maintain frequent high-level contacts and increase discussions on strategic issues through the exchange of high-level visits, as well as regular exchanges among political parties, governmental and parliamentary delegations. The two leaders also pledged to expand bilateral cooperation through the existing mechanisms and consultations platforms, including the Joint Committee for Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation (JCM) and the Senior Officials’ Strategic Dialogue (SOSD).
5. Both sides expressed satisfaction over the effective implementation of the Vietnam – Malaysia Plan of Action 2017 – 2019 in all areas of cooperation, and welcomed the discussion that has started between both sides on the new Plan of Actions (POA) for the period of 2020 – 2025.
6. The Prime Ministers welcomed the establishment of the Malaysia – Vietnam Parliamentary Friendship Group through the exchange of letters by both sides. The establishment of the Friendship Group will further strengthen parliamentary relations and cooperation between Vietnam and Malaysia.
SECURITY, DEFENSE AND LEGAL COOPERATION
7. The two Prime Ministers agreed to increase bilateral exchanges in defense through the prompt establishment of the High Level Committee (HLC) on Defence Cooperation. Both sides agreed to hold the first meeting of the HLC on Defence Cooperation that will be hosted by Vietnam in 2019.
8. Both sides also agreed to hold the first meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Transnational Crimes under the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperation in Preventing and Combating Transnational Crimes signed in 2015.
9. Both sides affirmed their commitment to enhancing further the cooperation in preventing and combating transnational and high-tech crimes, and other crimes related to drugs, piracy, terrorism and illegal immigration. Legal frameworks will be established to strengthen cooperation in this area, including expediting the negotiation of an MOU on Legal Cooperation Activities, Agreement on Cooperation in Combating Trafficking in Persons and agreement on international transfer of prisoners/sentenced persons. Both sides reaffirmed the commitment to not allowing any organisation or individual to use the territory of one country to conduct hostile activities against the other.
10. Both sides affirmed the commitment to accord due process of law in accordance with domestic and international laws, and in a fair and objective manner, to citizens of either side when placed under arrest and investigation by the other.
11. Both sides shared concerns over the issues of vessels encroachment and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The Prime Ministers reaffirmed their continued efforts to address IUU fishing including sharing of information under the existing platform of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Agricultural Cooperation Between Malaysia and Vietnam. Vietnam appreciated the humane treatment and prompt repatriation of apprehended crews and fishermen by Malaysia, and highlighted its ongoing efforts to promote public awareness on responsible fishing as well as developing mechanisms to address the challenges of IUU fishing.
12. The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the excellent progress in bilateral economic cooperation, including the double-digit growth of total trade turnover to 13.3 billion USD in 2018. Both sides should work together and make greater efforts to strengthen the strategic economic partnership between the two countries.
13. Both sides agreed to promote the mutual import and export of each country’s products, including electrical and electronics, petroleum products, chemicals and chemical products, manufactures of metal, machinery, equipment and parts, agricultural produce, palm oil, halal products, seafood, as well as garments and textiles, and raise the total trade to reach 15 billion USD or higher by 2020.
14. Malaysia appreciated Vietnam’s continued readiness to export rice to Malaysia at competitive price to the Malaysian market on the basis of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Rice Trading between VinaFood II and Bernas of Malaysia, as well as other related agreements and cooperation documents. Malaysia would provide information on halal food regulations to relevant Vietnamese authority, and both sides have agreed to facilitate the entry of products including halal products and services into each other’s domestic market.
15. Both sides agreed that the investment agencies should enhance cooperation, including by organising investment promotion activities to help investors explore the investment opportunities in both countries. The two Prime Ministers emphasised on investments in areas of high potential, such as oil and gas, information technology, smart manufacturing, artificial intelligence, Industrial Revolution 4.0, wastewater treatment, skill training, logistics, smart agriculture, food industry (halal) and textiles. Both sides encourage investors to resolve any outstanding or arising business disputes in accordance with the receiving countries’ rules and regulations.
16. The two Prime Ministers emphasised the importance of cooperation in the field of oil and gas and encourage both sides’ downstream businesses to strengthen and expand cooperation, particularly in the lubricant and petrochemical sectors.
17. Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit and welcomed the organisation of the Joint Working Group Meeting to implement the Memorandum of Understanding on Labor Recruitment and Placement signed in 2015.
COOPERATION IN OTHER AREAS
18. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Education Cooperation in March 2019. Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in education and training. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc thanked the Government of Malaysia for providing valuable trainings to Vietnamese officials through the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Program (MTCP) and hoped that the Malaysian Government would continue the program in the future.
19. Both sides agreed to enhance comprehensive connectivity and boost cultural and arts exchanges and tourism by increasing the frequency of Vietnam-Malaysia direct flights. Both sides agreed to finalise the Air Services Agreement (ASA) for signing at a suitable time.
20. Both sides also agreed to give due attention to and provide favorable conditions for the two countries’ public and non-governmental organisations, particularly the business and friendship associations, to increase exchanges and cooperation as part of the joint effort to promote cooperation in economics, tourism and culture. Both sides encouraged their respective localities to step up cooperation through the exchange of delegations at various levels and share management expertise, particularly in urban planning, transport infrastructure, and innovative entrepreneurship.
REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
21. The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the excellent cooperation between the two countries at regional and international fora, including ASEAN and ASEAN-led mechanisms, APEC, ASEM, NAM, WTO and the UN. In this spirit, Malaysia expressed its support for Vietnam’s Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2020 and non-permanent membership in the United Nation Security Council for the term 2020 – 2021. Vietnam affirmed its strong support for Malaysia’s hosting of APEC 2020.
22. Both sides agreed to bolster consultations and dialogues as mechanisms for sharing views, positions and initiatives to address regional and global challenges, including terrorism, transnational crimes, climate change, disaster risk management and mitigation, food, water and energy security related issues as well as marine plastic waste.
23. The two Prime Ministers emphasised the importance of maintaining ASEAN unity and centrality and ensuring the full and effective implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025. Both leaders expressed satisfaction at the agreement reached by ASEAN leaders on the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, which highlighted ASEAN centrality, inclusiveness, complementarity, a rules-based order consistent with international law, and commitment to regional economic integration. They reaffirmed their commitment to work with other ASEAN members in promoting a cohesive, coherent, resilient, responsive, and innovative ASEAN Community that plays a central role in the evolving regional architecture.
24. Both sides reiterated the importance of supporting free and fair trade and an open, inclusive, transparent and rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core. Both sides committed to having close coordination in the negotiation and implementation of multilateral trade agreements, with the aim of reaching a speedy conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations that takes into consideration different levels of economic development of participating countries.
25. Both sides underlined the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and the rule of law in the region, which includes the safety, security and freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea and expressed serious concerns over recent developments in the South China Sea. The two sides agreed that disputes shall be resolved through peaceful means, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with the principles of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.
26. Both Prime Ministers emphasised the importance of self-restraint, non-militarisation and observance of international legal obligations in good faith, respect for sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the coastal states, and rule of law in accordance with the 1982 UNCLOS and avoidance of activities that may escalate tensions. The two sides underlined their support for the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety and agreed to enhance efforts towards the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) that is effective, substantive, and consistent with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.
27. Both Leaders expressed satisfaction at the open and candid detailed discussion conducted in the spirit of mutual understanding and at the important outcomes achieved during Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s visit. H.E. Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia thanked the Government and people of Vietnam for the warm hospitality and gracious reception extended to the Malaysian delegation on this occasion and cordially invited Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and spouse to visit Malaysia at a mutually convenient date. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc graciously accepted the invitation.