Vietnam, Thailand hold the seventh political consultation in Hanoi
Both sides agreed that the friendship and strengthened strategic partnership between the two nations have made great strides, demonstrated by their senior leaders’ continued exchange visits in 2019, including an official trip to Thailand and the attendance in the 40th General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) there by National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan in August. They also regularly met each other at multilateral forums, especially on the fringes of the ASEAN summits hosted by Thailand.
Cooperation mechanisms have proved effective as the two countries successfully organised the third meeting of the joint committee on bilateral cooperation in January, the 11th meeting of the joint working group on political-security cooperation in August, and the third defence policy dialogue at the deputy ministerial level in September, they said.
The diplomats described economic, trade and investment ties as an impressive highlight in bilateral relations. Thailand is currently the largest trade partner of Vietnam in ASEAN with bilateral trade touching US$17 billion in 2019. It is the ninth biggest investor in Vietnam with 558 projects valued at nearly US$11 billion.
Partnerships in other fields like connectivity, tourism, science – technology, labour, culture and education have yielded encouraging results. It is worthy of note that tourists between the two nations approximated 1.5 million last year, up about 8% over 2018.
Illegal fishing activities in each other’s waters were reduced considerably. Both sides are also promoting the renewal of a labourer recruitment agreement, making it possible to carry out the deal in 2020.
The two sides concurred to intensify the exchange of all-level delegations, work together to prepare for the fourth joint cabinet meeting co-chaired by their prime ministers in 2020, continue bolstering cooperation in security, defence, economy, trade, investment, connectivity, transport, tourism and labour; and enhance links between the two foreign ministries on the basis of their 2015 cooperation deal.
Permanent Secretary Busaya Mathelin shared the view that the Asia-Pacific region, including Southeast Asia, is developing dynamically but also facing numerous challenges, requiring combined efforts to deal with.
She applauded the success of the recent ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat hosted by Vietnam in Nha Trang city.
For his part, Deputy Minister Dung emphasized that in the current context, ASEAN needs to reinforce solidarity, accelerate the realisation of the ASEAN Community, and assert its stature and central role in the regional architecture.
Additionally, as members of the Mekong sub-region mechanisms, Vietnam and Thailand should beef up coordination and sharing of experience with other member states and relevant partners to substantively augment cooperation in the sub-region, he said.
He also congratulated Thailand on its successful chairmanship of ASEAN in 2019 and touched upon Vietnam’s priorities and initiatives for the ASEAN chairmanship this year and non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021.
Dung also called on Thailand to support Vietnam to fulfill the roles and work closely on the common regional security issues including the East Sea issue and the use and management of the Mekong River’s water resources.
The eighth political consultation at the deputy foreign ministerial is set to transpire in Thailand next year.