The forum took place in South Africa’s capital Pretoria on March 14 and 15 under the co-chair of Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Cuong and South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Reginah Mhaule.

Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Cuong and South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Reginah Mhaule  sign the meeting's minutes.

At the forum, Vietnamese and South African ministries and sectors reviewed bilateral cooperation since their third meeting, which was held in Hanoi in 2015 and discussed measures to capitalize on the countries’ potential in the coming years.

The sides agreed to maintain delegation exchanges at all levels, and mutual support and cooperation at international organizations and multilateral forums, particularly the United Nations.

They shared the view on the need to strengthen bilateral partnership in economy, trade, and investment and to soon sign a memorandum of understanding on boosting joint work in mineral resources, electricity power and renewable energy.

They recommended the launching of negotiations for coal export from South Africa to Vietnam, and boosting the trading of their farm produce and food products.

The South African side promised to assist the organization of events that introduce Vietnamese goods into local supermarket chains.

The two sides agreed to hold a meeting of the Vietnam – South Africa subcommittee on trade in 2019 and assigned specific agencies to carry out commercial promotion activities.

They pledged to continue with joint work in the protection, conservation and management of biodiversity, while exchanging information on seized wildlife animals, and implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The two sides vowed to negotiate towards signing an agreement on cooperation on agriculture, fishery and forestry before the end of 2020.

The sides agreed to hold their third defense dialogue in Hanoi this year, boost capacity training collaboration in military health, logistics, and defense industry, and exchange experience related to UN peacekeeping mission.

Vietnamese and South African ministry of public security reached consensus on cooperation to prevent crime, particularly drug and wildlife trafficking, while working to sign an agreement on judicial support concerning crime.

In terms of education-training and science-technology, the sides highlighted the need for more exchanges of researchers and organization of scientific seminars toward the signing of more collaboration agreements in the fields.

Vietnam suggested increasing exchanges of cultural, sport and tourism delegations, facilitating art-cultural activities and film screening in both nations, and exchanging experiences in tourism and tourism development policies.

At the forum, Reginah Mhaule expressed the hope to receive Vietnam’s support in developing ties with the Asia-Pacific region. She said she backs the ASEAN’s stance on tackling international dispute using peaceful measures in line with the UN charter and international law.

The official stated that South Africa will soon send a diplomatic note on its official support of Vietnam’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure. She also stressed her country’s willingness to help Vietnam establish relations with the African Union.

Concluding the event, the two deputy ministers said bilateral trade, current at USD 1 billion, still fall short of potential, agreeing to boosting business connectivity and people-to-people exchanges.

The next meeting was planned to take place in Vietnam in 2021.

Source: VNA