|Chairwoman of Việt Nam National Assembly on May 13 held talks with Chairman of the National Council (Upper House) of Bhutan Tashi Dorji, who is in Việt Nam for an official visit and to attend the 16th UN Day of Vesak. — VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đức
HÀ NỘI — Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân yesterday held talks with Chairman of the National Council (Upper House) of Bhutan Tashi Dorji, who is in Việt Nam for an official visit and to attend the 16th UN Day of Vesak.
This is the first official visit to Việt Nam by a high-ranking Bhutan leader since the two countries set up diplomatic ties in 2012, Ngân said.
The Vietnamese top legislator expressed her belief that the visit will help enhance the friendship between the two states and their peoples.
For his part, Dorji congratulated Ngân for being Việt Nam’s first female NA leader and expressed his good impressions of Vietnamese land and people.
He lauded Việt Nam’s organisation of the 16th UN Day of Vesak 2019 which is taking place at Tam Chúc Buddhism Cultural Centre in Kim Bảng District of northern Hà Nam Province from May 12-14.
NA Chairwoman Ngân briefed her guest on Việt Nam’s socio-political-economic situation, saying the country’s economy grew 7.08 per cent last year, the highest pace since 2008.
Last year, the number of foreign tourists to the country hit a record high of 15.5 million. Besides, Việt Nam has become a destination of foreign investors, with 26,000 projects valued at US$334 billion from 126 countries and territories worldwide.
In trade, Việt Nam ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific, signed and implemented 12 free trade agreements (FTAs) and is negotiating four others.
The Vietnamese NA leader congratulated Bhutan for the achievements the country has gained, including having the highest Gross Happiness Index in the world.
At the talks, the two leaders agreed that since the two countries set up relations in 2012, bilateral co-operation has been growing but is yet to match potential.
Dorji said that Việt Nam and Bhutan share many similarities in culture and religion, especially Buddhist values and a love for peace. Therefore, the two sides can share experience in national development and expand partnership in various areas
Amidst modest bilateral trade, the two countries should foster collaboration through chartered flights, encouraging localities to strengthen their connections, while fostering affiliations between the two national tourism agencies, he stated.
Alongside, Bhutan should give more favourable conditions for Vietnamese firms to seek business opportunities in the country, especially in areas of Bhutan’s demand such as agricultural machinery and tourism.
The Vietnamese top legislator said Việt Nam is willing to share experience with Bhutan in economic development, especially agriculture, rural development, education and social welfare.
She proposed the two sides soon sign an agreement on visa exemption for diplomatic and official passport holders, while considering the appointment of Honorary Consuls in each country to act as bridges for bilateral friendship.
Speaking highly of Việt Nam’s achievements, Dorji stressed the country has risen to stardom as a good economic development model in the region despite various challenges.
He suggested Việt Nam and Bhutan promote bilateral cooperation in agriculture as Bhutan sees Việt Nam as a role model in agricultural development, particularly mechanisation of agriculture.
Regarding tourism, he said that Bhutan, with a total population of 700,000, focuses on high-quality tourism, and has policies to limit the number of foreign visitors to protect the environment.
However, as the country looks to welcome more Vietnamese nationals, he expressed his hope that the Tourism Council of Bhutan and the Việt Nam National Administration of Tourism will work together to promote co-operation.
At the talks, he briefed Vietnamese NA Chairwoman Ngân on Bhutan’s parliament, with three tenures since 2008, while expressing its desire to learn from countries in the region, including Việt Nam.
The Vietnamese top legislator, for her part, highlighted that since its establishment more than seven decades ago, the Vietnamese National Assembly has had many reforms and affirmed its increasing role in the country’s political life.
The same day, NA Chairwoman Ngân hosted a banquet for a high-ranking delegation from Bhutan, led by Tashi Dorji. — VNS