Việt Nam critical partner of New Zealand: Deputy PM Winston

June 07, 2024 - 13:20
The diplomat praised Việt Nam's sacrifices to secure its independence and current commitment to an independent foreign policy, similar to New Zealand.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters. — VNS Photo Trọng Kiên

HÀ NỘI — New Zealand considers Việt Nam a critical partner and there are a lot of activities being planned for the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties next year, New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters has told Việt Nam News.

Việt Nam was the first country that the New Zealand's senior leader visited on his Southeast Asian tour, which is also the first trip to the region since he took this position in the current coalition Government headed by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon.

The New Zealand Government leader is expected to be visiting Việt Nam as part of the commemorative activities, Winston said, adding that his visit to Việt Nam was also in preparation for that, to ensure that the celebration is done right as this "special relationship is important to us."

The trip also aims to "renew the decades old connection between our two countries," he said, adding that it is to "give a clear signal that we'd like to meet more frequently, discuss issues where we can make far more progress and far more quickly in our mutual interests."

The New Zealand diplomat also took note of connections that were not the case at the beginning of the relations, such as the CPTPP, which he called an "enlightened trading agreement", and an example of the connection that the country wants to expand on.

On the prospective fields that could be the focus in Việt Nam-New Zealand in the future, the diplomat noted that there are many examples where we can make progress, and while many of them will be dealing with information technology, data and AI, traditional fields will also matter - especially educational interactions given the large number of Vietnamese students in New Zealand, labour arrangements, and sharing agricultural and horticultural advances with each other.

He believed that New Zealand's efforts on biosecurity issues and methane-inhibiting products would be a big help to countries in Asia like Việt Nam.

The diplomat also praised Việt Nam's sacrifices to secure its independence and current commitment to an independent foreign policy, similar to New Zealand.

"We can differ, but also we can agree on so many other things, to the benefit of both of us and the neighbourhood," he said, adding that there are so many things about foreign policy concerns of Việt Nam that New Zealand shares.

During his stay in Hà Nội, the New Zealand's senior official had talks with Vietnamese foreign minister Bùi Thanh Sơn, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, and Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam (CPV) Central Committee and Chairman of the CPV Central Committee's Commission for External Relations Lê Hoài Trung, with talks focussed on progressing bilateral cooperation as well as international security challenges in the Indo-Pacific.

The Deputy PM also met New Zealand businesses based in Việt Nam and discussed the opportunities that the country presents.

He said: “Việt Nam is a country of more than 100 million people, projected to be one of the fastest-growing global economies in the next 25 years. We are ideally placed to grow our trading relationship. New Zealand is already one of Việt Nam’s largest suppliers of apples and dairy products and we are both working hard to achieve the two-way trade target of US$3 billion in 2026 agreed by our Prime Ministers earlier this year.

"The Coalition Government is seriously stepping up New Zealand's engagement with Southeast Asia, a fact reflected in the focus of the travel undertaken by the Prime Minister, myself and other senior Ministers during the first half of 2024." VNS