|Vietnamese President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc. —VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — The visit to Thailand by Vietnamese President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc takes place as the enhanced strategic partnership between the two countries develops fruitfully, despite impacts induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Phúc, his spouse, and a high-ranking delegation from Việt Nam will pay an official visit to Thailand and attend the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in Bangkok from November 16-19.
This is made at the invitation of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Asia-Pacific and APEC remain important priorities in Việt Nam’s foreign strategy and advocacy of fostering and advancing multilateral diplomacy, contributing to protecting and promoting security interests of APEC.
In the past, especially during the pandemic, the enhanced strategic partnership has been constantly developing.
Thailand attaches importance to and wishes to continuously consolidate and enhance its fine cooperation and friendship with Việt Nam.
President Phúc's upcoming official visit to Thailand strongly affirms Việt Nam’s commitment to lift the strategic partnership between the two countries to a new height, according to Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand Phan Chí Thành.
In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, the diplomat highlighted the significance of the trip, saying that this would be the first official visit of a State leader of Việt Nam to Thailand 24 years since then President Trần Đức Lương in 1998 and nearly 10 years after the official visit to the country by Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng in 2013.
"The visit is a new milestone in the relationship between the two friendly neighbouring countries who are also members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)," Thành said.
During the visit, President Phúc and his spouse will have a meeting with the Thai King and Queen, and he will hold talks with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. The leader will attend signing ceremonies of a number of cooperative agreements, including an action plan to implement the enhanced strategic partnership between Việt Nam and Thailand for 2022-2027.
He will also have meetings with President of the National Assembly of Thailand Chuan Leekpai and leaders of the Thai Senate and House of Representatives; and meet outstanding enterprises of both countries.
In 2021 – the year marking the 45th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties (August 6, 1976), the two countries coordinated in organising a range of meaningful activities in politics, economy and culture, while stepping up the communication work to raise public awareness of the relationship.
They also maintained high-level activities and cooperation mechanisms between Governments as well as ministries and agencies.
Thailand has remained Việt Nam’s biggest trade partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with two-way trade hitting a record US$18.8 billion last year, up 18 per cent year-on-year. In the first nine months of this year, the figure stood at $16.1 billion, a rise of 17.2 per cent from the same period last year, of which Việt Nam exported $5.6 billion worth of goods to Thailand, up 26.9 per cent.
As of September 2022, Thailand had run 670 valid projects with a total registered capital of nearly $13.1 billion, ranking ninth among the 139 countries and territories investing in Việt Nam, and second in ASEAN, only after Singapore.
The Thai projects mainly focus on processing-manufacturing, production, power, gas and water distribution, real estate, retail and wholesale.
Meanwhile, Việt Nam counts 17 projects worth $32.8 million in Thailand, ranking 33rd out of the 79 countries and territories that have poured capital in the country, mainly in processing-manufacturing, real estate, wholesale and retail.
Cooperation in other spheres including national defence and security, cross-border crime combat and education-training has also made progress.
The Thai government presented Việt Nam with 10,000 COVID-19 test kits and 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Việt Nam also provided medical equipment valued at $50,000 to Thailand.
Collaboration in labour, tourism and culture, as well as people-to-people exchanges has also made strides.
In the first half of this year, Việt Nam welcomed 39,679 visitors from Thailand, while Vietnamese tourists to Thailand numbered 130,000.
Eighteen cities and provinces of Việt Nam have set up twinning relationships or cooperative ties with Thai localities. About 100,000 Vietnamese are living, working and studying in Thailand.
The two countries have also closely coordinated at regional and international forums. Regarding the East Sea issue, Thailand has shown its support for ASEAN’s common stance on settling disputes by peaceful measures, placing importance on restoring trust and confidence between regional countries to create an environment of peace, stability and sustainable development, and accelerating the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the building of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).
The two sides are scheduled to sign a number of cooperation documents during the Vietnamese leader’s visit.
Việt Nam’s active engagement, contributions to APEC
Việt Nam officially became a member of APEC at the 10th APEC Ministerial Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on November 15, 1998, raising the forum membership to 21.
Its joining has been viewed as a milestone in the implementation of Việt Nam’s foreign policy of openness, diversification and multilateralisation of relations and international economic integration.
Over the past 24 years, Việt Nam has actively and positively contributed to APEC, for peace, stability, cooperation and connectivity in the region, and maintaining APEC’s role as a leading connection mechanism in Asia-Pacific.
Việt Nam is among the very few economies that have successfully assumed the role of APEC host (in 2006 and 2017).
The country is also among the most active members of APEC in proposing initiatives and projects, with more than 100 projects in different fields, many of them have been highly valued for their pragmatism, especially those in sustainable, inclusive development, personnel development in the digital era, digital economy, food security, climate change response, women’s empowerment and urban and rural area development, among others.
In 2016-2018, Việt Nam performed the role of the Chair and Vice Chair of 18 committees and working groups of APEC and the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).
Since playing the host of APEC 2017, Việt Nam has continued to engage and contribute to APEC cooperation, and worked to push ahead with the materialisation of important results of APEC 2017, particularly its initiative on building the APEC Vision 2040.
In 2022, Việt Nam has made further contributions to activities and common concerns of APEC, played an active role in realising the Aotearoa Plan of Action, which brings to life the APEC Vision 2040, and carried forward major outcomes of APEC 2017.
President Phúc is scheduled to attend and deliver a speech at the APEC CEO Summit and attend a number of meetings during the APEC Economic Leaders' Week in Thailand. —VNS