The two countries first established their relations many years ago. In 1947, Vietnam set up a liaison office in Yangon, which was then upgraded to the Office of Information and Communication one year later. In 1957, the office was upgraded to a consulate general.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President of Myanmar Htin Kyaw in the former’s State visit to Myanmar in August 2017

Despite facing numerous difficulties, the Government and people of Myanmar have actively supported Vietnamese people in the struggle for national salvation in the past and national development in the current period. After the liberation of the South and the national reunification of Vietnam, the two countries established their diplomatic ties on May 28, 1975 and set up embassies in each country.

Since then, the time-honored and close friendship between the two nations, which had been set up and nurtured by President Ho Chi Minh and Myanmar leader General Aung San, has been fostered by generations of Vietnamese and Myanmar leaders and people.

In August 2017, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (the present Party General Secretary and State President) paid a State visit to Myanmar, during which the two sides issued a joint statement on establishing a comprehensive partnership, marking a new milestone and creating new momentum for the two countries to develop their cooperation in all aspects.

Vietnam and Myanmar have held regular exchanges of delegations of all levels in all channels of party, government, parliament, and people-to-people contacts. They have also enhanced political trust through visits and talks between their senior leaders. Most recently, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc paid an official visit to Myanmar in December 2019. Furthermore, the two countries have maintained and developed bilateral cooperation mechanisms in an effective manner, including the Joint Committee on Bilateral Cooperation and the Joint Sub-committee on Trade.

In the context that protectionism is on the rise in the region and world, Vietnam and Myanmar have attached much importance to boosting the connectivity of the two economies. The two-way trade and investment cooperation has reaped good results in recent years with the two-way trade turnover reaching USD 860 million in 2018 and nearly USD 1.02 billion in 2019, and it exceeded the target of USD 1 billion for 2020.

Defense Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich and Senior General Min Aung, Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces Hlaing during the latter’s official visit to Vietnam in December 2019

Vietnam is now the ninth largest trade partner of and the seventh largest foreign investor in Myanmar with 18 big projects whose total registered capital is worth nearly USD 2.2 billion.

Apart from the close political-diplomatic, economic-trade-investment ties, the two countries have enjoyed positive developments in defense, security, agriculture, transportation, culture, tourism, people-to-people exchanges, and cooperation.

The two countries have frequently maintained close coordination in regional and international forums, especially in ASEAN, ASEAN-led mechanisms, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asia-European meeting (ASEM), the Non-Aligned movement, the important sub-Mekong region cooperation mechanisms, the Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam (CLMV) summits, greater Sub-Mekong regional summits, and Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Summit (ACMECS).

They have joined hands in strengthening an ASEAN of unity and self-reliance and promoting ASEAN’s central role as well as ASEAN’s role in addressing regional challenges. The two countries have also voiced support for a transparent, free, open, and inclusive multilateral trading system based on WTO-led rules and WTO reform processes.

Myanmar affirmed its support for Vietnam’s roles as ASEAN Chair 2020 and a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in the 2010-2021 period.

Even though the two countries have paid due attention to boosting their ties, their cooperative potential and each country’s strength have not yet been fully tapped.

This year, the two countries will celebrate their 45th anniversary of the diplomatic ties. It is time for them to review their relationship, seek solutions to realize their common cooperative goals, develop their ties in an intensive and more practical manner, and lift their partnership to a new height.

Translated by Mai Huong