PM Chính’s Singapore, Brunei visits aim to make ASEAN more cohesive: deputy FM

February 08, 2023 - 17:07
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Đỗ Hùng Việt emphasised that relations between Việt Nam and the two countries the PM will visit are based on many similarities in politics, economy, culture, and people-to-people exchanges.
Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính and his wife leave Nội Bài International Airport to start the official visits to Singapore and Brunei on Wednesday. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang

HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính’s official visits to Singapore and Brunei carry the message of working more closely with ASEAN for a more cohesive, stable and prosperous Southeast Asia, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Đỗ Hùng Việt has said.

In an interview with the press ahead of the PM’s trip from February 8-11, Việt stressed that the relations between Việt Nam and the two countries are based on many similarities in politics, economy, culture, and people-to-people exchanges.

He added that this is also the first official visit by a Vietnamese government leader to Singapore in five years and Brunei in nearly 16 years.

The visits are expected to deepen the strategic partnership with Singapore, an important economic partner of Việt Nam, and the comprehensive partnership with Brunei, a promising economic partner, according to the official.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Đỗ Hùng Việt. VNA/VNS Photo

He said that the visit to Singapore will open up a series of events celebrating the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership.

According to Việt, PM Chính and high-ranking leaders of Singapore and Brunei are scheduled to discuss and reach an agreement on many orientations and measures, including new breakthroughs, to deepen relations across spheres, particularly in economy, trade, investment, security, national defence, education and training, and science and technology.

The visits will contribute to expanding cooperation in new fields like innovation, digital economy, green economy, sustainable development, and clean energy.

Vietnamese ministries, agencies, and localities are also expected to sign important cooperation documents with partners from the two countries, including a governmental-level memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a digital economy and green economy partnership between Việt Nam and Singapore, and an action plan implementing the Việt Nam-Brunei comprehensive partnership for 2023-2027.

There will also be cooperation activities between ministries, agencies, and localities in education and training, national defence and security, urban infrastructure development, and maritime and seaports.

Various trade and investment promotion activities, with the participation of leading groups from Singapore, Brunei, and others, will be held, Việt said, adding that PM Chính will chair business forums and meet representatives from many big groups and businesses, including meetings with investment funds, banks and financial groups of Singapore and other countries, and major energy firms of Brunei.

The Deputy FM believes that the visits will contribute to furthering the Việt Nam-Singapore strategic partnership and the Việt Nam-Brunei comprehensive partnership, helping to strengthen the solidarity within ASEAN, and promoting peace, stability, cooperation, and the development in the region and the world.

In a recent interview with Vietnam News Agency, the Vietnamese Ambassador to Brunei, Trần Văn Khoa, said the official visit of PM Chính to Brunei is significant.

It will be the first visit of a state leader to Brunei in 16 years, which is expected to create a strong momentum to deepen further the comprehensive partnership between Việt Nam and Brunei, a partner with great economic potential and a country where Việt Nam became the seventh member of the ASEAN in July 1995, he said.

The visit also has special meaning as the relationship between the two countries develops prosperously. They have recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of their diplomatic relations (1992-2022).

During the visit, the leaders will map out directions for bilateral cooperation across all fields, contributing to the effective implementation of the comprehensive partnership.

Two-way trade between Việt Nam and Brunei hit US$725.8 million in 2022, up 134 per cent year-on-year, surpassing their leaders' goal of $500 million set for 2025.

In the near future, the two sides have the demand to boost joint work in promising areas such as agro-forestry-fisheries, Halal food, construction, infrastructure and joint ventures.

As of December 2022, Brunei ranked 26th out of the 141 countries and territories investing in Việt Nam with 157 valid projects valued at $971 million, mostly in industry, manufacturing and processing, construction and real estate.

The southern province of Đồng Nai was the biggest recipient of its investment capital, followed by Bình Dương, Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu, Long An, Thái Bình and Phú Thọ.

The two nations offered mutual liaison within ASEAN and at regional and global forums.

They also stepped up sea and ocean cooperation, including fisheries activities and aquaculture, while recording progress in oil and gas coordination with the launch of a PetroVietnam Drilling branch in Brunei.

Việt Nam and Brunei have great potential in oil and gas coordination. Photo

Memoranda of understanding on agriculture and aquaculture were also signed by the two Governments in May 2013. The meeting of the joint working group on aquaculture was held in Brunei in 2014, in Hồ Chí Minh City in 2015 and in Brunei in 2017.

The two sides inked an MoU on education cooperation in April 2014 and another on tourism collaboration in November 2011. They offer visa waivers to their citizens holding ordinary passports for travel, and are negotiating to extend visa exemption period for ordinary, diplomatic and official passport holders.

As of November 2022, there were close to 300 Vietnamese living in Brunei, including students pursuing doctorate education at the University of Brunei Darussalam, and over 200 workers. — VNS