|Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (right) receives Việt Nam’s Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and his wife during his official visit to New Zealand. — VNA/VNS Photo Thống Nhất|
AUCKLAND — Việt Nam and New Zealand on Tuesday issued a Joint Statement on advancing the comprehensive partnership toward the strategic partnership during Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s official visit to New Zealand on March 11-14.
The following is the full text of the joint statement.
JOINT STATEMENT ON ADVANCING THE COMPREHENSIVE PARTNERSHIP TOWARD THE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIỆT NAM AND NEW ZEALAND
At the invitation of the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam, His Excellency Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, paid an official visit to New Zealand on 12-14 March 2018.
An official welcome ceremony in honour of Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc took place at Government House in Auckland on 13 March, followed by official talks and an official lunch with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. On the same day, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc called on Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, the Right Honourable Trevor Mallard. Earlier, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc gave remarks at the Việt Nam – New Zealand Business Forum and received a number of New Zealand senior business leaders. During this visit, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc visited University of Waikato and Plant and Food Research.
Political co-operationThe two sides noted recent exchanges of high-level visits, including the state visit to Việt Nam by the Governor General of New Zealand, the His Excellency Lieutenant General the Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae in August 2013; the official visit to New Zealand by the Prime Minister of Việt Nam, His Excellency Nguyễn Tấn Dũng in March 2015; the official visit to Việt Nam by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Right Honourable John Key in November 2015; and the visit to Vietnam by the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern to attend the APEC Summit in November 2017. The two Leaders agreed to further intensify frequent high-level visits in both directions, as well as to maintain bilateral co-operation mechanisms, including the Joint Commission on Trade and Economics, Bilateral Defence Dialogue and Political Consultations, to exchange views on issues of mutual concern, such as climate change, regional architecture, consular services and co-operation on human rights issues, among others.
Noting the positive momentum in the relationship since the establishment of the Comprehensive Partnership in 2009, the two Prime Ministers agreed to advance the Comprehensive Partnership and assigned relevant ministries and branches of both sides to actively and effectively realize the Plan of Action 2017-2020 as well as to expeditiously conclude talks and consultations by 2019 on a Strategic Partnership elevation in the near future as mutually agreed.
Defence and security
The two sides acknowledged the recent positive developments in bilateral defence co-operation such as the signing of the New Zealand-Việt Nam Three Year Defence Co-operation Action Plan 2018-2021 and the Peacekeeping Operations Training and Co-operation Implementing Arrangement, as well as high-level defence visits in both directions. The two leaders also welcomed further broader security and defence cooperation, including in military industries and research, cyber security, anti-terrorism, countering drug-trafficking and money laundering, and illegal migration. Both sides agreed to discuss existing and other possible legal corridors for co-operation in these areas.
Trade and investment
The Prime Ministers noted that trade between the two countries is now at a historic high with two-way trade in goods and services reaching a record US$1.24 billion in 2017, representing a 32 per cent increase over 2016 and a tripling of goods trade since 2009. The two Leaders expressed confidence that the target of $1.7 billion in two-way trade could be reached by 2020 accordingly. They welcomed the signing of the Arrangement on Economic and Trade Co-operation on this occasion, and requested the early convening of the 6th meeting of the Joint Commission on Trade and Investment.
Both sides committed to individual and joint actions to reduce barriers to bilateral trade, especially for agricultural products. The establishment of a dedicated Agricultural Counsellor in the New Zealand Embassy later this year was noted as an important step in this regard. The announcement of the Import Health Standard Export Plan for Rambutan and the signature of a Food Safety and Quality Management Co-operation Arrangement during the visit were further signs of positive cooperation. The Leaders noted that Customs cooperation and the proposed Customs joint work programme would also further facilitate trade between the two countries.
The two Prime Ministers noted that investment between the two countries had yet to reach its potential. Both Leaders agreed to encourage investment, including in areas such as high-tech agriculture, green and renewable energy and infrastructure.
The Prime Ministers welcomed the positive impact made by New Zealand’s development aid to Việt Nam, highlighting flagship projects in dragon fruit commercialisation, safe vegetable production, dam safety, scholarships and English language training. Up to NZ$29 million would be invested by New Zealand in the three year period up to July 2018. The two Leaders committed to substantial cooperation in the years ahead, sharing New Zealand skills and technologies to make a practical difference in areas of Vietnamese priority such as agriculture, disaster risk management, knowledge and skills, and renewable energy; and to build stronger and lasting connections between the two countries’ government agencies, universities, research institutes, businesses and NGOs. The Prime Ministers agreed to an enhanced annual consultation mechanism on development cooperation led by the Việt Nam Ministry of Planning and Investment and its New Zealand counterpart.
On this occasion, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced two new projects, namely, a three-year partnership supporting Vietnamese farmers and food processors to modernise production, generate safer food and improve incomes (NZ$1.5million); and a pilot renewable energy project supporting the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Việt Nam with the tools to develop the wholesale electricity market enabling greater efficiency and renewable energy uptake (NZ$0.5 million).
The Leaders welcomed the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding between Plant and Food Research New Zealand and Generalexim of Việt Nam to improve avocado production in Đắk Nông province and a new project to reduce pre- and post-harvest loss through safely reducing rodent damage on rice crops between Landcare Research of New Zealand and Việt Nam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Both projects were facilitated by New Zealand’s Government to Government Partnerships Office.
Education and training
The Prime Ministers noted that education and training co-operation between New Zealand and Việt Nam is strong, expanding rapidly and is one of the pillars of both today’s relationship and future Strategic Partnership. The two Leaders appreciated the signing of the renewed Strategic Engagement Plan on Education 2018-2020, and set the target to increase the number of Vietnamese students in New Zealand by 30 per cent by 2020 facilitating further student exchanges, university-to-university joint programmes and other cooperation in both countries.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc welcomed the regular promotion and operation of the Working Holiday Scheme and expressed Việt Nam’s readiness to receive New Zealand citizens under this Scheme.
Connectivity and people-to-people contacts The two Prime Ministers noted that tourism between both countries is growing rapidly with Vietnam visitors to New Zealand expanding by over 32 per cent and New Zealand tourists to Việt Nam by more than 19 per cent in the last year, boosted by the establishment of direct flights by Air New Zealand between Auckland and HCM City in 2016. Both Leaders called for the expansion of air links and to further promote travel between the two countries. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed the inclusion of New Zealand in Việt Nam’s e-visa programme as a very positive step streamlining entry for New Zealand tourists, following New Zealand’s implementation in 2016 of e-visas for Việt Nam visitors.
The two sides recognise the success of the Vietnamese community in New Zealand and highly value their contribution to the development of Việt Nam and New Zealand as well as to the better promotion of bilateral relations.
Regional and international co-operation
Both countries continue to work closely in multilateral and regional forums, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+) process, and the East Asia Summit (EAS), in order to enhance regional prosperity, address regional security challenges and enhance co-operation on issues of mutual interest.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reiterated New Zealand’s support for Việt Nam’s candidature for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2020-21 term, and extended an offer to share advice and experience gained from New Zealand’s successful term in 2015-16 with Việt Nam.
New Zealand and Việt Nam recognise the critical importance of deepening regional economic integration and supporting trade liberalisation across the Asia-Pacific region to ensure the prosperity of both countries. Both Leaders welcomed the signature of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on 8 March 2018 in Chile and reiterated their commitment to swift ratification and implementation of the agreement in the coming months. Both Leaders reaffirmed their interest in achieving a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial outcome in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement negotiations. The two sides agreed to continue co-operation to further fossil fuel subsidy reform.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern conveyed congratulations to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc for Việt Nam’s successful hosting of APEC in 2017 and welcomed Việt Nam’s offer to share its experience to support New Zealand’s preparations to host APEC in 2021.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc welcomed the growing cooperation between ASEAN and New Zealand, especially in areas which help ASEAN successfully build up the ASEAN Community. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reiterated New Zealand’s strong support for ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture. In the important year of 2020, when Việt Nam alternatively chairs ASEAN, ASEAN and New Zealand will commemorate the 45th anniversary of establishing a Dialogue Partnership and the 5th anniversary of Strategic Partnership, and Việt Nam welcomed any New Zealand initiatives to enrich these milestones.
Both sides emphasized the importance of maintaining peace, security and stability in the South China Sea through implementation of international legal obligations in good faith, respect for legal and diplomatic processes, peaceful resolution of disputes, and maintenance of freedom of navigation and overflight in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Both Leaders encouraged the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety as well as the swift conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.
Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc expressed his gratitude to the Government and people of New Zealand for the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation. Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc extended an invitation for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to pay an official visit to Vietnam at a mutually convenient time. Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc also forwarded the invitation of President Trần Đại Quang for the Governor General of New Zealand, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy to pay a state visit to Việt Nam at her convenience. — VNS