|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (left) meets with his New Zealand counterpart John Key during his official visit to New Zealand. – VNA/VNS Photo Duc Tam
WELLINGTON (VNS) — Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his New Zealand counterpart, John Key, have agreed to intensify the two countries' comprehensive partnership, ultimately building towards a future strategic partnership.
During their talks in Wellington yesterday, Key hailed the official visit as an important event especially as the two countries celebrate their 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties.
The two leaders spoke to the recent development of bilateral cooperation in politics, trade, investment, security-defence, education and culture.
Trade reached US$800 million in 2014, a 120 per cent increase since their comprehensive partnership was set up in 2009. Plans, according to both sides, are to hit $1.7 billion by 2020.
At the talks, both pledged to create the best possible market conditions for each other's goods and services.
New Zealand promised to consider the import of Vietnamese fruits such as rambutan, longan, star apple and grapefruit. It also promised to continue investing in areas of shared interest such as agriculture, energy and education-training.
The two PMs said their countries would enhance all-level delegation exchanges and diversify forms of contact to include phone conversations, fringe-meetings at high-level conferences and special envoys. They will also push the implementation of signed agreements and targets stipulated in the second phase of their 2013-16 action programme.
PM Dung expressed appreciation for the New Zealand Government's official development assistance to Viet Nam and sought closer collaboration in agriculture and rural area projects, human resource development, disaster risk management and post-war recovery.
PM Key affirmed New Zealand's continuance of technical support for improving Viet Nam's human resource capacity. He also suggested a new co-operation model called inter-governmental trade partnership.
The two sides consented to increase cultural, artistic and tourism exchange activities to enhance mutual understanding, especially as a direct air route between the nations is expected to be established shortly.
PM Key also appreciated the contributions of the Vietnamese community to the country and pledged to provide favourable conditions for them to settle, integrate, and engage in local, political and socio-economic activities.
During the talks, both sides committed to shortly conclude negotiations on free trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement.
Key thanked Viet Nam for supporting New Zealand's candidacy for a non-permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council's 2015-16 term and committed to support Viet Nam's organisation efforts for the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum.
Sharing views on regional and international issues, the two leaders underscored the importance of maintaining regional peace and stability, and called on concerned parties to resolve sea disputes in accordance with international law.
Dung invited the New Zealand Prime Minister to visit Viet Nam. John Key accepted and confirmed his visit would take place within the year.
Following their talks, the two sides issued a joint statement on strengthening the Viet Nam-New Zealand comprehensive partnership. The PMs also witnessed the signing of an agreement on food safety, animal and plant quarantine, and a protocol amendment their air services agreement.
Prime Minister Dung also met with New Zealand Governor-General Jerry Mateparae as part of his ongoing official visit to the country.
The Vietnamese leader briefed his host on the major outcomes of his talks with Prime Minister John Key, sharing delight at the growing co-operation between the two countries.
He held that there is room for Viet Nam and New Zealand to optimise their partnership for the interest of both peoples and for peace, stability and development in the region.
General-Governor Mateparae expressed his pleasure at the fruitful meeting between the two PMs, affirming his support for fostering the intensive collaboration between the two countries in an attempt to elevate bilateral ties.
Dung requested additional favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community in New Zealand, which he described as a bridge for friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
General-Governor Mateparae pledged to further assist Vietnamese nationals living and studying in his country and praised their contributions to New Zealand's development.
During his meeting with Speaker of New Zealand's House of Representatives David Carter, Prime Minister Dung highlighted that close co-operation between the Vietnamese National Assembly and its New Zealand counterpart has been an important catalyst for the growth of their comprehensive partnership.
The two sides also reached a consensus on signing an aviation transport protocol and a memorandum of understanding on food safety, added PM Dung.
Carter affirmed that the two nations' legislative bodies and parliaments will continue working together to enhance the bilateral comprehensive partnership.
The New Zealand House of Representatives supports efforts to strengthen and develop the comprehensive partnership for the sake of the two countries' peoples as well as for peace, stability and prosperity in the region, the Speaker stressed.
Carter also announced that a House of Representatives delegation will attend the 132nd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU-132) in Ha Noi later this month, aiming to make positive contributions to the important event's success. — VNS