SINGAPORE (VNS) — Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong met with representatives from several leading Singaporean businesses on Friday as part of his three-day official visit to the Southeast Asian country.
The General Secretary praised the contributions made by Singaporean businesses when promoting trade and investment between the two countries, while underlining Viet Nam 's commitment to helping overseas companies establish long-term business in the country.
He asked Singaporean businesses to step up cooperation with their Vietnamese partners and facilitate Viet Nam's agricultural and aquatic exports to third markets via Singapore.
He stressed that more cooperation was needed in food imports and exports, which would allow Viet Nam to assist Singapore in ensuring its food security.
Both countries need to be more active when it comes to proposing new areas of cooperation, along with traditional areas. They also need to define future potential areas where major projects like the Viet Nam-Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP) can be initiated.
The Party leader also noted that the two countries' plan of lifting bilateral ties to strategic partnership in 2013 would create a new driving force to elevate the bilateral relations, particularly economic, trade and investment linkages.
The Singaporean business executives said they were committed to working closely with the Vietnamese Government and their partners to expand their investments in the country.
They asked that the Vietnamese Government continue to provide the right conditions and support for Singaporean firms to maintain long-term business operations in Viet Nam, particularly on issues relating to land policy, recruiting personnel and developing local infrastructure.
Later, Trong visited and delivered a key speech at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, where he emphasized that Viet Nam is keen to learn from Singapore's experience introducing investment policies for education and training, as the country sees human resources as essential for national development.
"We are witnessing gigantic and profound changes brought about by the scientific and technological revolutions alongside the process of globalization and international integration," he said, stressing, "peace, national independence, democracy, cooperation and development constitute the major trend of the times; however, local wars, armed conflicts, ethnic and religious strifes, acts of intervention, subversion and terrorism, disputes over territories and natural resources, and other non-traditional security issues all continue to occur in a complicated manner."
"Singapore and Viet Nam are fortunate to be located in Southeast Asia – a dynamic region globally recognised as the area with the most potential as a powerhouse of global economic growth. The region draws the attention of big powers and economic-political centers of the world, but also contains latent destabilizsing factors, theatening common peace, security and development," Trong noted.
He went on: "This produces opportunities for development but also poses acute challenges for all countries. It requires each and every nation in the region to maintain a sense of responsibility, tighten intra-group unity and enhance co-operation with extra-regional countries and organisations with a view to promoting peace and prosperity. We will work together for Southeast Asia to increasingly become a highly inviting land for outside investors and trade partners and an attractive destination for visitors from across the globe.
"Deeply imbued with this lesson, Viet Nam has always been consistent in its foreign policy of independence, autonomy, peace, cooperation and development, multilateralisation and diversification of relations, proactive and active international integration, and preparedness to be a friend, a reliable partner and a responsible member of the international community."
"Thanks to this foreign policy, we have recorded extremely important achievements, thus unceasingly uplifting Viet Nam 's international status and broadening Viet Nam's international relations.
The process of renewal and openness has yielded great achievements of historic significance, changing Viet Nam 's physiognomy in a fundamental way. Nevertheless, we still face numerous challenges. Inherent weaknesses of the economy have revealed themselves more and more clearly due to the impact of the global financial and monetary crisis and economic downturn. This situation necessitates continued and comprehensive promotion of the renewal process in order to step by step bring the economy out of hardship into fast and sustainable development."
Referring to ASEAN's path of development over the last 45 years and toward its path ahead, Trong said, "we recognise not only advantages but also difficulties and challenges. We call for ASEAN member countries to work together in the spirit of trust, solidarity and cooperation on the basis of firmly maintaining the fundamental principles enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, holding high ASEAN's centrality in regional architectures, promoting ASEAN's proactivism in consolidating an environment of peace, stability and cooperation in the region. As an open regional grouping, ASEAN should continue to expand its mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries and partners, not in opposition to any other country or grouping. Motivated by its centrality, ASEAN should press ahead with measures so as to ensure the common peace, stability and security of the region. Against the international backdrop of today, the building of a united and strong ASEAN Community is ever more important. Moving forward toward a Southeast Asia of peace, stability, cooperation and prosperous development is our shared goal.
"Recently, we have seen rising tension in certain aspects of the situation in Southeast Asia which results from complicated developments in the East Sea ,-one of both geo-strategic and geo-economic importance to the region and the world. This is a worrisome situation. As a directly related country, Viet Nam is committed to seriously implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and Guidelines for the Implementation of the DOC signed between ASEAN and China and the Agreement on the Basic Principles for the Settlement of Maritime Issues between Viet Nam and China. The country is committed to working actively with ASEAN countries to push ahead negotiations with a view to signing with China the Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (COC), in keeping with the spirit of the Statement of ASEAN Foreign Ministers covering ASEAN's six-point Principles on the East Sea.
"At the same time, Viet Nam urges other countries to respect its legitimate interests as a coastal nation, including sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its continental shelf and exclusive economic zones as stipulated by international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982. It is our view that ASEAN countries have shared aspirations, shared interests and shared responsiblities in maintaining an environment of peace and stability in the region. A member of ASEAN, Viet Nam strictly complies with this principle enshrined in the ASEAN Charter: "Abstention from participation in any policy or activity, including the use of its territory, pursued by any ASEAN Member State or non-ASEAN State or any non-State actor, which threatens the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political and economic stability of ASEAN Member States". Viet Nam , at the same time, is committed to implementing this principle in its relations with all non-ASEAN countries, refraining from inducing or participating in any alliance with one country to oppose another. Viet Nam will spare no efforts to expand its cooperation as well as the cooperation of ASEAN with countries outside the region, especially with all ASEAN dialogue countries and big powers such as China , Russia, the US, Japan, India, etc."
Regarding bilateral ties, Trong said: "Singapore's development is an invaluable experience for Viet Nam as we have stepped up the renewal process and put in place national industrialisation and modernisation. We treasure our ties with Singapore, work hard to promote our cooperation with Singapore, and believe that the intensive, extensive, sincere and trusted cooperation between Viet Nam and Singapore serves as an important factor in the development of each of our countries, and at the same time contributes to peace, stability, cooperation and development in Southeast Asia .
"To build on the solid and in-depth cooperation of the last 40 years, and to tap the potential for cooperation which remains immense, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and I as well as other leaders of Singapore agreed to do our utmost to further develop the Viet Nam-Singapore relationship and elevate it to a strategic partnership," he emphasized. — VNS