|Joe Natuman, Prime Minister of the Republic of Vanuatu.— Photo un.org
HA NOI (VNS) — Vanuatu's Prime Minister, Joe Natuman, started an official five-day visit to Viet Nam yesterday at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Tan Dung.
The trip is aimed at boosting co-operation between the two countries and discussing regional and global issues.
This is the first visit Natuman and only the second by a leader of Vanuatu to Viet Nam.
Viet Nam and Vanuatu established diplomatic ties in 1982 and have since maintained sound political relations through the exchange of delegations, particularly the Viet Nam visit by Prime Minister Serge Vohor in 1997.
The two nations are part of the Francophone International Organisation and the United Nations' international forums.
Vanuatu recognised Viet Nam's market economy in June this year.
Due to geographical distance, two-way trade reached only US$2 million in 2011, with Viet Nam mainly exporting meat, beche de mer and other seafood and ceramics to Vanuatu.
About 500 Vietnamese people live in Vanuatu, some of them descendants of prisoners exiled to the islands by the French.
They are the second largest foreign expat community in the country which has a population of 267,000. — VNS