Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, especially the upgrading of the relationship to a strategic partnership in August 2015, Vietnam - Malaysia ties have been developing fruitfully, Ngo Sach Thuc said, noting that currently, Vietnam is the only strategic partner of Malaysia in ASEAN.

Their cooperation in labor, education, and tourism has produced positive results. Notably, Malaysia was one of the top ten biggest Asian sources of tourists to Vietnam with some 400,000 visitors recorded in 2017.

President of the Vietnam - Malaysia Friendship Association Ngo Sach Thuc

In the field of trade, Malaysia was Vietnam’s second-largest trade partner in ASEAN in 2019 and the 9th biggest worldwide. Meanwhile, Vietnam was Malaysia’s third biggest trade partner in the region.

Ngo Sach Thuc cited statistics that showed two-way trade reached 12.5 billion USD in 2021, up 25.3% year-on-year. The figure stood at 19.2 billion USD last year, even surpassing the target of 18 billion USD set for 2025.

As of February 20, 2022, Malaysia ran 668 valid projects with a total registered capital of over 12.8 billion USD, ranking 10th out of 140 countries and territories that have invested in Vietnam.

“Substantial potential and space remain for the Vietnam - Malaysia relationship,” he stressed. “People-to-people diplomacy remains a priority to bring the two countries and cultures closer to the goal of cooperation and integration.”

Asked about the Vietnam - Malaysia Friendship Association, Ngo Sach Thuc said since its inception on June 5, 1994, the association has maintained regular contact with the Malaysian Embassy in Hanoi and the Vietnamese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and coordinated with relevant associations to organize visits for Malaysian delegations to Vietnam.

The association has also hosted a range of exchange programs and meetings to celebrate major events between the two countries, he said, adding that since the beginning of this year, it has put forth a plan for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties.

The association is working on a plan for the establishment of twinning relations between Vietnamese and Malaysian localities as part of the celebration, according to Thuc.

The association also plans to dispatch a delegation to Malaysia this year in an effort to step up people-to-people exchanges, he said.

For the Malaysian side, Ngo Sach Thuc said the formation of the Malaysia - Vietnam Friendship Association in August 2022 will open up cooperation and connection opportunities between people of the two countries in the time ahead.

Ngo Sach Thuc expressed his belief that friendship activities between Vietnam and Malaysia will be more diverse and successful this year.

He quoted the Malaysian Ambassador to Vietnam as saying during their recent working session that Malaysian investors are interested in Vietnam, considering it an ideal destination.

The ambassador pointed to ample room in Malaysia’s Halal food sector for Vietnam, which has strengths in agriculture, to optimize, Ngo Sach Thuc said.

Source: VNA