VN, S Africa seek expanded ties

Update: September, 08/2017 - 09:00
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh (right) with South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in Hà Nội on September 7. — VNA/VNS Photo Phương Hoa
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam attaches great importance to the traditional friendship with South Africa, the only African country with which it has a partnership for cooperation and development, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh said on Thursday in Hà Nội during talks with South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said she was happy to visit Việt Nam on the occasion of the 100th birthday of O.R Tambo, the African National Congress (ANC) late President, who came to Việt Nam in 1978 to learn about the country’s experience in national liberation.

The two sides agreed to continue increasing delegation exchanges at all levels, especially high level ones, and to encourage the strengthening of people-to-people exchanges to foster solidarity and mutual understanding.

Việt Nam hopes for a visit by South African President Jacob Zuma in 2018, said Minh.

Both sides affirmed their determination to reach annual two-way trade value of $2 billion and discussed measures to attain the target.

Minh proposed that South Africa consider increasing imports of Việt Nam’s farm produce, processed food, footwear, garment and wood. He also suggested that the two sides sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in mining, making it easier for the export of coal to Việt Nam to meet the country’s demand, especially for thermal plants.

Regarding agriculture, after the success of a project sponsored by South Africa and conducted by Việt Nam for raising the productivity of rice and vegetable growing in Guinea from 2008 to 2014, the two sides are considering additional trilateral cooperation models in other African nations.

The Vietnamese FM and Minister Mashabane also discussed measures to promote cooperation in national defence, security, law, education-training and science-technology. In addition, both sides committed to supporting each other at multilateral forums.

FM Phạm Bình Minh thanked South Africa for backing Việt Nam’s bid to run for a non-permanent member’s seat at the United Nations Security Council in 2020-21 and expressed his hope that the country will also support Ambassador Phạm Sanh Châu’s candidacy for the General Director’s position of UNESCO in 2017-20.

They also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concerns, agreeing to foster cooperation between ASEAN and the Southern African Development Community, the two developing regional organisations in Asia and Africa. — VNS