The visit is widely expected to mark a turning point in bilateral relations between the two countries as this has been the first visit of a Vietnamese Party General Secretary to Myanmar since Vietnamese Party General Secretary Do Muoi’s visit to the country in 1997.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong's State visit to Myanmar  aims to further strengthen their traditional relationship and multifaceted cooperation

The visit aims to bring the bilateral relations to a new height and create a new momentum for bilateral relations in all aspects.

Vietnam and Myanmar officially established diplomatic relations on May 28, 1975. Yet relations between the two nations had actually taken shape nearly three decades before. 70 years ago in 1945, when the Vietnamese people were conducting their resistance war against French colonialists, Vietnam had an information office in Yangon (Myanmar’s former capital city), which was later updated to the Vietnamese Revolutionary Government’s Representative Agency in 1948.

In 1954, the then Prime Minister of Myanmar, U Nu visited Vietnam, and President Ho Chi Minh visited Myanmar in 1958. Although facing a lot of difficulties, the Government, organizations and people of Myanmar have always rendered strong support for the Vietnamese people in their struggles against foreign invaders in the past as well as their country’s construction and defense at present.

Over the past years, Vietnam and Myanmar have continuously boosted their traditional friendly relations and multifaceted cooperation.

Regarding political and diplomatic ties, the two sides often exchange delegations of all levels and promote cooperation mechanisms. The most recently, in October 2016, the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Htin Kyaw, paid a State visit to Vietnam.

In terms of economic, trade and investment cooperation, the two sides have also agreed on 12 prioritized cooperation fields, namely agriculture, industrial trees, fisheries, finance and banking, aviation, oil and gas, mining, production of electrical appliances and devices, automobile assembly and manufacture, telecommunications, building, and trade and investment. As of February 2017, Vietnam was Myanmar’s 9th largest trade partner and the 7th largest foreign investor in the country. In 2015, the two-way trade was valued at US$ 434 million, and the figure increased to US$ 548.3 million in 2016.

To facilitate Vietnam’s investment in Myanmar, Vietnam has founded the Association of Vietnamese Investors in Myanmar. As of January 2017, Vietnam had 59 investment projects in Myanmar. Some fruitful results of the bilateral cooperation include Hoang Anh Gia Lai trade complex in Yangon, Vietnam Airlines’ Hanoi-Yangon direct air route, oil and gas exploration project, project to build a pharmaceutical factory invested by the Vietnamese pharmaceutical company Anh Sao Viet, and project to mine granite invested by the Vietnamese corporation Da River. In March 2016, the Myanmar side licensed the Bank of Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) to set up a branch in the country.

Every year, the two sides organize trade exhibition fairs in both countries to help businesses of the two countries promote their products and draw more investment from the other side.

On the subject of security and defense, the two countries are effectively implementing the mechanism of deputy-ministerial-level security dialogue between the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security and Myanmar’s Ministry of Home Affairs to share information and promote cooperation within the framework of the Agreement on Crime Prevention and Control signed between the two sides in 2014 as well as exchange ministerial-level delegations once in every two years. The two sides also signed an Agreement on Defense Cooperation in 2011, and have so far reached positive outcomes in delegation exchange and personnel training cooperation.

The two sides have also expanded bilateral cooperation on other fields, such as energy, tourism, transportation, telecommunications and agriculture.

The bilateral relations between Vietnam and Myanmar are further consolidated as the two countries have similar views on international issues and usually support each other at sub-regional, regional and international forums, such as Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam summit, Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), ASEAN and UN.

The bilateral relations between Vietnam and Myanmar, which stem from close traditional friendship between the two peoples, have now been fostered and deepened by leaders of the two countries in the spirit of friendship and mutual benefits.

The Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s State visit to Myanmar aims to further strengthen the friendly traditional relations and multifaceted cooperation as well as mutual political trust between the two countries, for peace and prosperity of each country and for peace, stability and development of the region.

Written by Editorial Board

Translated by Thu Nguyen