Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dang Minh Khoi. (Source: VNA)

Reporter: Could you please elaborate on noteworthy results from Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Myanmar?

Deputy FM Dang Minh Khoi: PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Myanmar has brought about good results in various fields. The results are the firm foundation for the two countries to boost their comprehensive cooperative partnership to a new height. Some of the remarkable results can be seen as follows:

Firstly, in terms of diplomatic politics, all Myanmar leaders proudly reiterated the historical tradition of the two countries’ bilateral relations since the time of the national liberation struggles conducted by the two countries under the leadership of President Ho Chi Minh and General Aung San. They emphasized that the two countries actually started their relations by exchanging high-level visits long before the formal establishment of diplomatic relations. Myanmar Prime Minister U Nu visited Vietnam in 1954 while President Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam visited Myanmar in 1958. The host also affirmed that Myanmar always considers Vietnam an important and reliable partner and hoped that the two countries will further strengthen their relations on the basis of the current comprehensive cooperative partnership to overcome common challenges. The two sides agreed to continue exchanging high-level delegations and to promote people-to-people diplomacy and cooperation between localities. On the occasion of the visit, the two sides signed and exchanged four documents, including the Action Program for the 2019-2024 Period - an important document to realize the Vietnam-Myanmar comprehensive cooperative partnership in the next 5 years. This resulted from the efforts that both sides have asserted over the past time.

Secondly, economic cooperation, trade, investment and finance are the areas that Vietnam particularly wished to promote during the visit. It can be said that since Myanmar exercised its open policy and reforms, the trade turnover between the two countries has increased rapidly, from USD 152 million in 2010 to nearly USD 860 million in 2018. It is estimated that the figure will reach USD 1.05 billion in 2019, soon surpassing the target of USD 1 billion set for 2020. Currently, Vietnam is the seventh largest investor in Myanmar with 25 major active projects with an investment of nearly USD 2.2 billion.

During the visit, Vietnam and Myanmar agreed to further simplify procedures for Vietnam’s exports to Myanmar and to reduce the number of Vietnamese import items controlled by quotas. The host promised to provide more favorable conditions for Vietnamese businesses to get access to investment and business opportunities in Myanmar, speed up license issuance, apply incentives and preferential policies for Vietnamese investors, and to appropriately consider proposals of Vietnamese enterprises on telecommunications, mining, infrastructure construction, housing, urban technical infrastructure and transportation. During the visit, the two sides also exchanged views on the possibility of the establishment of a Vietnamese Industrial Park in Myanmar to attract more Vietnamese investors to the country.

Thirdly, in terms of defense and security, the two sides will study and expand cooperation in potential areas, including the navy, military medicine, defense industry, logistics, and border management. They will also strengthen cooperation in preventing and combating transnational crimes, including drug trafficking. Vietnam and Myanmar will also soon negotiate and sign agreements on extradition, transfer of sentenced persons, and more.

Fourthly, concerning regional and international issues, Myanmar congratulated Vietnam on being elected with a majority of votes as a non-permanent member to the United Nations Security Council (UN) for the 2020-2021 term. The two countries affirmed that they will cooperate closely and support each other at international forums, especially when Vietnam takes the chair of ASEAN next year with a view to maintain solidarity, unity and the central role of ASEAN. Regarding the East Sea (South China Sea) issue, Vietnam and Myanmar reaffirmed their support for ASEAN’s common stance, laying stress on the settlement of disputes by peaceful means in respect of international laws, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982, maintaining freedom and ensuring navigation and aviation security and safety in the East Sea.

Fifthly, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the high-ranking delegation of Vietnam visited Vietnamese businesses who have invested in Myanmar, such as Mytel Telecom Company, Thaco Group, BIDV Bank and attended the inauguration ceremony of the HDBank bank office in Yangon. The visit has partly encouraged Vietnamese businesses to continue developing, creating jobs, and contributing to fastening the relationship between the two countries, for mutual benefits.

Reporter: Could you please reveal the orientation for the development of the bilateral relations in the coming time, especially when the two countries are preparing for the 45th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations?

FM Dang Minh Khoi: Next year, Vietnam and Myanmar will celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations (May 28, 1975 - 2020). However, the relationship between the two countries began long before that. Before Vietnam gained independence and before the establishment of the Vietnam-Myanmar diplomatic relations, the two countries had maintained close contact and strongly supported each other in their struggles for national liberation. At international and regional forums, the two countries have always supported each other and shared difficulties. The Vietnamese PM’s visit once more reinforced trust between the two countries, especially their traditional friendship. The visit is even more significant as it took place right before Vietnam takes the chair of ASEAN in 2020. It not only promotes bilateral relations between the two countries, but also enhances sharing and mutual support in regional cooperation, especially cooperation within ASEAN.

In order to promote the outcomes of the visit, the exchanges of delegations at all levels should be enhanced and the fine friendship and political trust between the two sides should be further strengthened. Bilateral mechanisms, especially the Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation and the Joint Sub-Commission on Trade should operate effectively and regularly. The 45th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations is a good chance for ministries, sectors and localities of the two countries to review their cooperation results and propose measures to further promote and develop the bilateral relations in a broader and more substantial manner. There should also be more cultural exchanges and dissemination about the friendship between Vietnam and Myanmar. With existing potential, trust, solidarity, friendship and high determination, I believe that Vietnam and Myanmar will have greater cooperation opportunities in the future and translate those opportunities into achievements in the coming time.

Reporter: Thank you very much!

Translated by Huu Duong