|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung meets his Portuguese counterpart Pedro Passos Coelho. — VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam and Portugal yesterday reached agreements on numerous fields of potential for future co-operation during a landmark visit by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, the first made by a Vietnamese Government leader since the two countries established diplomatic ties 40 years ago.
PM Dung began his two-day official visit to Portugal yesterday, which his Portuguese counterpart Pedro Passos Coelho said was "historic".
Coelho said the visit marked a significant milestone in their mutual relationship and was convinced that the success of the visit would increase the friendship and co-operation between the two sides to a new stage of strong, intensive and effective development.
During their talks, the two PMs discussed and concurred on numerous measures to promote their mutual relationship.
The Portuguese PM spoke highly of Viet Nam's increasing position, role and reputation in the region and the world. While congratulating Portugal for its efforts to recover and accelerate economic growth, PM Dung said that Viet Nam would like to develop comprehensive ties with Portugal.
PM Dung appreciated the active role that Portugal has played in addressing global issues. He said the two countries should continue to co-ordinate and support each other at multilateral, regional and international forums such as the United Nations, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the ASEAN-EU Co-operation.
Speaking about relations between Viet Nam and the EU, PM Coelho said that Portugal would back Viet Nam's comprehensive ties with the EU, and support negotiations for the signing of a free trade agreement with the EU to support its recognition of Viet Nam's market economy.
The two PMs agreed that the FTA, together with the framework agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA) between Viet Nam and EU, would be solid ground for the development of long-standing and in-depth ties between Viet Nam and EU in general, and Viet Nam and Portugal in particular.
The two leaders expressed their satisfaction at their bilateral economic and trade ties, which continue to grow year by year. Two-way trade increased from US$90 million in 2008 to $364 million in 2014, but was yet to reach its full potential.
The PMs agreed that they should push economic and trade co-operation and create favourable conditions for enterprises from both sides to do business in an effort to bring bilateral trade to $1 billion.
"The two sides should make efforts to co-operate in economics, trade and investment as an important pole in their mutual relationship. They should also establish practical ties in areas they hold strengths in, such as the maritime economy, energy, trade and tourism," said PM Dung.
Appreciating Portugal's initiative to organise the "Sea Week 2015" and expressing thanks for PM Coelho's invite to the opening of the "Sea Economy Forum", PM Dung stressed that "co-operation in the sea economy would be an opportunity and a field of potential for co-operation between the two countries".
In the spirit of mutual trust and understanding, the PMs exchanged views on regional and international matters of mutual interests. They asserted the importance of peace, stability, maritime safety, security and freedom at sea, and shared their concerns about the complex developments in the East Sea.
The Portuguese PM stressed that disputes should be resolved through peaceful means, without using force or threats to use forces, in line with the UN Charter as well as the basic principles of international law.
They also agreed that the two sides should boost exchanges between people, and cultural and sports exchanges, which helped strengthen the friendship, co-operation and mutual understanding between Viet Nam and Portugal.
They expressed their willingness to expand co-operation in education and training, including the teaching of the Portuguese language in Viet Nam.
The two PMs jointly chaired an international press briefing following their talks, and witnessed the signing of a number of agreements between the two countries including the "double tax avoidance between Portugal and Viet Nam", and a MoU in tourism co-operation.
PM Dung said that: "Viet Nam will always create favourable conditions for Portuguese enterprises to develop their business co-operation with their Vietnamese partners."
Regarding the prospect of co-operation in the sea economy, Dung said that as countries with long coast lines and maritime strategies, Viet Nam and Portugal agreed on the importance of the sea for mutual development, security and prosperity, and considered it a field of great potential for mutual co-operation.
The Portuguese PM also told the media that the two sides had discussed co-operation in trade, investment and culture, and agreed to take measures to boost co-operation between enterprises from both countries.
He reiterated that co-operation in the sea economy would be a priority for mutual co-operation.
In response to reporters' questions about maritime security and safety in the East Sea, PM Coelho said all differences and disputes must be settled via peaceful measures and conform with international law under the UN's surveillance.
The PMs said they were happy with their friendship and co-operation over the past four decades, however, both said they should increase exchanges at all levels, especially high-ranking delegations. On the occasion, PM Dung invited PM Coelho to visit Viet Nam.
Viet Nam and Portugal should double their efforts to make economics, trade and investment co-operation key pillars in their bilateral relations, while working together in maritime economy, navigation, energy and tourism.
PM Dung made the remarks at a meeting with Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva yesterday morning.
The two leaders agreed to enhance all-level delegation exchanges, especially among high-ranking officials. In this spirit, the Vietnamese PM passed along an invitation from State President Truong Tan Sang to the Portuguese counterpart to visit Viet Nam.
PM Dung also said the two countries should encourage people-to-people exchanges to increase mutual understanding and co-operation across all fields.
He added that Viet Nam would create favourable conditions for enterprises from both countries to forge business links.
President Anibal Cavaco Silva agreed on the proposals and welcomed the two countries' Prime Ministers attendance at a marine economics forum and a business dialogue.
The president said Portugal prioritises the development of its sea-based economy, and the country was willing to co-operate with Viet Nam in this field.
He confirmed that Portugal wanted Viet Nam to strengthen its comprehensive relations with the European Union and hoped the two sides would conclude a bilateral free trade agreement soon.
Once implemented, the trade pact was expected to boost economic ties between Viet Nam and the EU in general and Portugal in particular, he said.
In discussing regional and international issues, including the recent developments in the East Sea, President Silva said that Portugal advocated the settlement of disputes in the East Sea via peaceful means and dialogue with respect to international law. — VNS