Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Rajak agreed to upgrade the existing Vietnam-Malaysia comprehensive partnership to a strategic partnership level at their talks in Kuala Lumpur on August 7.
At the talks, both PMs spoke highly of the development in both width and depth of the bilateral relations, and discussed how to further enhance the ties in a practical and effective manner.
In terms of politics, they agreed to intensify the exchange of high-ranking delegations, expand cooperation through the Party and National Assembly channels and people-to-people exchanges, and soon design an action programme for 2015-2018 to implement contents of the strategic partnership.
For defence and security, the two sides reached a consensus on the early establishment of a deputy ministerial-level defence dialogue mechanism and the signing of a memorandum of understanding on joint patrol, hotline contact, search and rescue coordination, and pirate prevention. They affirmed to strictly implement the commitment of not allowing any individual and organisation to use each country’s territory to conduct actions against the other.
Both agreed that economic-trade cooperation is the highlight of the bilateral relations. Malaysia is a leading trade partner of and the eighth largest investor in Vietnam. The two government leaders vowed to foster trade growth within the framework of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the ASEAN Economic Community, while speeding up the signing of a Government-level memorandum of understanding on rice trade for 2015-2020.
They also agreed to push the implementation of specific projects in the key sectors of oil and gas, liquefied gas, electronics, consumer goods and food processing.
The PMs saw eye to eye on the need for a cooperation mechanism at the deputy foreign ministerial level to address sea- and ocean-related issues and the establishment of a hotline on illegal fishing, and cooperating in joint patrol at bordering and overlapping sea areas.
They also exchanged opinions extensively on regional and international issues of mutual concern, agreeing to boost unity and maintain the central role and common voice of ASEAN in big matters relating to security and the interests of each country and the region, especially in the context that the ASEAN Community will come into being by the end of this year.
The PMs shared concerns over recent developments in the East Sea, which have negatively affected trust as well as peace, security and stability in the region.
They reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, maritime and aviation safety and freedom in the East Sea and tackling all disputes on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations on the Law of the Sea.
It is essential for the parties involved to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, restrain themselves and avoid any actions that accelerate tensions in the region, including coercing or using force to unilaterally change the status quo, and work towards the formation of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea, the two PMs said.
PM Dung appreciated Malaysia’s point of view and positive contributions as a country also claiming sovereignty in the East Sea and as the Chair of ASEAN in 2015.
After the talks, the two PMs signed a joint statement on the Vietnam-Malaysia strategic partnership framework.
They also witnessed the signing of cooperation documents on licencing in principle for CIMB bank, labour cooperation and cooperation between Petro Vietnam and Petronas.
At a joint press conference later, PM Najib Rajak affirmed that the decision to elevate bilateral ties to strategic partnership will open up a new era in the two countries’ relations.
PM Nguyen Tan Dung said the Vietnam-Malaysia strategic partnership will not only create new driving forces for bilateral cooperation but also contribute positively to the ASEAN Community and to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.
On the evening the same day, PM Dung met with leading Malaysian enterprises and attended a banquet hosted by the Malaysian counterpart.