Defence Minister Ngô Xuân Lịch (L) meets with Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence Prawit Wongsuwan in Bangkok on Wednesday. — Photo vov.vn
BANGKOK — Strengthening co-operation with Thailand, including in defence, is a priority for Việt Nam, affirmed Defence Minister Ngô Xuân Lịch at a meeting with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha in Bangkok on Wednesday.
The minister is on an official visit to Thailand from February 21-23.
Minister Lịch told the Thai PM that the Vietnamese defence ministry would continue working closely with their Thai counterparts, contributing to the two countries’ strategic partnership, which was established in June 2013.
The minister thanked the Thai Government for assisting Việt Nam in finding the graves of fallen Vietnamese soldiers in Nong Khai Province, and asked PM Chan-ocha to instruct Thailand’s ministries and localities to continue to help Việt Nam repatriate the remains of soldiers.
The Thai PM said Việt Nam and Thailand are neighbouring countries with good relations and high mutual trust, while their bilateral ties are developing across various fields, including in defence.
The two countries do not share a land border, but have maritime boundaries, he said, calling on the two sides to develop relations and promote ties with other ASEAN countries to maintain the bloc’s solidarity.
He also suggested increasing ties between the two armies and seeking new areas for co-operation.
The PM pledged to direct ministries and agencies to step up co-ordination with Việt Nam to address issues relating to fishermen, based on international law and bilateral friendly relations.
Earlier the same day, Minister Lịch held talks with Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence Prawit Wongsuwan, during which the two sides agreed to increase the exchange of visits, meetings of young officers, and co-operation between navy and air forces as well as in training.
The two sides also agreed to organise a deputy ministerial-level defence policy dialogue and set up a hotline between the two defence ministries.
They pledged to boost collaboration between marine law enforcement forces and seek affiliation in fields of mutual concern such as co-operation between border management agencies, participation in UN peacekeeping activities and humanitarian mine action.
Both sides vowed to support each other at multilateral forums, especially within the framework of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM+.
The two ministers said they will urge relevant forces of their countries to work together to teach fishermen to respect international law and laws in other countries. — VNS