Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Anifah Aman co-chair the fifth meeting of the Vietnam-Malaysia Joint Committee for Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation (Photo: VNA)
Under the co-chair of Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Anifah Aman, the two sides stressed they attach great importance to each other’s role and position in the region and share the common vision on intra-bloc and inter-regional cooperation.
The two sides affirmed they will work together to build a strong ASEAN Community with solidarity and to maintain peace, stability, security and development in the region.
Regarding political cooperation, Vietnam and Malaysia agreed to increase mutual visits at all levels between their Parties, Governments, States and parliaments, as well as promote people-to-people exchanges.
The two sides will research how to expand cooperation between the two ruling parties and coordinate to make good preparations for the State visit to Malaysia by Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in 2018 and organise activities to celebrate the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties next year.
The two sides particularly highlighted economic cooperation as a bright point in the bilateral relationship.
Malaysia is currently the seventh biggest trade partner and investor of Vietnam with two-way trade reaching USD8.4 billion in 2016. Malaysian investment in Vietnam amounted to USD12 billion as of the end of May this year.
They concurred to boost trade and investment promotion activities to facilitate goods exchange and investment flow.
Malaysia pledged to assist Vietnamese producers of agro-fisheries products in meeting quality and hygiene standards to export to the Malaysian market.
The two countries will encourage the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and Malaysia’s National Oil Company Inc. (Petronas) to explore opportunities for bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
Given the rising traditional and non-traditional security challenges, the two countries agreed to push cooperation in security and defense, and share information and policies in the field.
They consented to forge ahead with negotiations for the signing of cooperation agreements on fighting human trafficking, extradition and the transfer of convicted persons to improve the legal framework in crime prevention and combat.
Sea and ocean cooperation was also high on the meeting’s agenda, with Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh hailing Malaysia for handling issues relating to Vietnamese fishermen and vessels based on the friendship between the two countries and supporting Vietnamese ships in distress.
Minister Anifah Aman said Malaysian competent agencies will continue sharing information with Vietnam to fight pirate, provide search and rescue, and consider the establishment of a hot line and joint patrols between the two countries’ naval forces. Malaysian will also consider negotiating with Vietnam’s marine police on a cooperation agreement.
The two sides were committed to actively implementing the labour cooperation agreement signed in 2015. The Malaysian minister promised to consider Vietnam’s proposal of receiving more Vietnamese workers in some new professions such as fisheries and entertainment services. The minister also affirmed Malaysia will pay due attention to ensuring the legitimate rights and interests of overseas Vietnamese in Malaysia, including the fair trial of Vietnamese citizen Tran Thi Huong, who is a suspect in the death of a citizen of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in Malaysia.
Both nations agreed to enhance cooperation and mutual support at regional and international forums, especially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations (UN).
They emphasised the need to strengthen solidarity and maintain the central role of ASEAN in the regional security architecture and pledged to increase consultations for peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea.
The two sides called on the involved parties to restrain themselves, not to use or threat to use force, while fully respecting diplomatic and legal procedures to address any disputes via peaceful means and in line with fundamental principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
They reiterated their support for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the early formation of a practical and legally-binding Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).
Minister Anifah Aman said Malaysia supports Vietnam’s hosting of the Economic Leaders’ Meeting of the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2017, adding that Prime Minister Najib Razak will attend the event in the central coastal province of Da Nang in November.
The sixth Vietnam-Malaysia Joint Committee for Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation will be held in Malaysia in 2019./.