Vietnam - Myanmar: Continue to reach new heights

Update: 08:47 | 20/04/2018
On the occasion of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor, Union Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Presidential Office of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar paid an official visit to Vietnam, Vietnamese Ambassador to Myanmar Luan Thuy Duong wrote an article sharing her thoughts on the trip, as well as the wonderful bilateral relations between Vietnam and Myanmar. 
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At the invitation of H.E. Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor, Union Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Presidential Office of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar paid an official visit to Vietnam from 19-20 April 2018.

Vietnam and Myanmar have similarities in culture, religion, history of struggle for national independence, significant geopolitical position in Southeast Asia region as well as the endeavours toward national and regional unity and unification. Those similarities have laid a solid foundation for the longtime and deep-rooted friendship between the two countries, which were founded by President Ho Chi Minh and General Aung San - Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's esteemed father.

vietnam myanmar continue to reach new heights
Vietnamese Ambassador to Myanmar Luan Thuy Duong.

The visit of former Myanmar President Htin Kyaw to Vietnam in October 2016 helped boost the comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Myanmar. Vietnam General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong's visit to Myanmar in August 2017 marked another significant milestone as leaders of the two countries agreed to upgrade the bilateral relations to the framework of Comprehensive Cooperation Partnership.

This visit by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is to boost the traditional friendship between the two countries as well as to affirm the comprehensive cooperation in all aspects, creating a stronger foundation for the Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership.

During the visit, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi held bilateral talks and leaders of the two countries signed many important cooperation documents.

During the talks, the two leaders reviewed the development of bilateral relations and cooperation during the past years, especially since the upgrading of bilateral relations into the Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership.

To further realize the Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership, the two leaders  discussed measures to promote cooperation not only in the fields of politics, trade and investment, defense and security, but also in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, connectivity, energy, telecommunications, tourism, education and people exchange.

The two leaders also exchanged views on bilateral cooperation on regional issues and multilateral forums so that both countries could ensure the interests of the two peoples while contributing to peace, stability and development in the region as well as all over the world.

In particular, being members of ASEAN Community, the two countries agreed on the participation of two responsible members of the Association, actively contributing to the solidarity and cohesion of the ASEAN Community, as well as the central role of ASEAN in the whole area.

vietnam myanmar continue to reach new heights
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc meets with Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. (Photo: Tuan Anh)

Over the years, the exchange of visits at all levels and channels has strengthened the friendship and consolidated the mutual trust between the two countries. The two sides have enhanced the effectiveness of cooperation in all areas, bringing about practical benefits for the two peoples.

The bilateral economic cooperation has seen strong development during the past years. The volume of two-way trade in 2017 reached nearly $830 million, up 51% over 2016, exceeding the $500 million target set by the two countries. Vietnam has become the 9th largest trading partner of Myanmar.

Regarding to investment, Vietnam is currently the seventh largest foreign investor in Myanmar with 17 projects and $ 2.1 billion registered capital, accounting for 2.8% of total foreign investment in Myanmar. The most prominent project is the joint venture between Viettel Group and Myanmar partners in the telecommunications sector with the total investment of $ 1.384 billion, of which Viettel holds a 49% stake.

As of December 2017, Vietnam has 196 commercial presence in Myanmar under the forms of representative offices, branches, joint ventures and companies with 100% Vietnamese capital ...

The partnership demonstrates that the two economies can complement and benefit each other, especially as the government of Myanmar is carrying out the economic reforms in the areas of agri-business, fisheries, investment, seafood processing, tourism and services.

The two countries continue to promote and maintain bilateral cooperation mechanisms such as the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation, Joint Sub-Committee on Trade; signing the MOUs between the two countries, reviewing the cooperation during the past years, discussing the remaining issues and proposing measures to promote cooperation in the coming time. 

vietnam myanmar continue to reach new heights
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi during Trong's official visit to Myanmar on August 2017.

At the meetings of Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation, the two sides discussed specific measures to promote cooperation in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transport, energy, information, health, culture, education, sports, tourism and science and technology. 

Political Consultation have also generated some common views between between Vietnam and Myanmar on international and regional issues. The two countries regularly exchange information on issues of mutual concerns and always  stand as trusthworthy partners and friends, supporting each other in regional and international forums, such as UN, ASEAN,  Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam Cooperation (CLMV), Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS)... 

Recent developments in bilateral defense-security cooperation have also been highly appreciated, both bilaterally and multilaterally. In 2017, defense cooperation between the two countries has reached significant achievements, notably the working visit by Vietnam Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich on October 2017 and the visit to Vietnam by the Myanmar Commander in Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on March 2017, as well as the inauguration of the Mytel Telecom Joint Stock Company in Myanmar. In 2017, defense cooperation was significantly strengthened and focused on four areas: military medical cooperation, defense industry, military telecommunications and training of officers. 

Among the highlights of cultural cooperation in 2017 was the signing of the Cultural Cooperation program in 2017-2020 on the occasion of the State visit by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to Myanmar that helped create momentum for programs of cultural cooperation between the two countries. 

Vietnam and Myanmar have also signed MOUs on education cooperation. Both sides expressed their willingness to create favorable conditions for students to study in each country and wish to increase exchanges and cooperation among training and research institutions in the fields of education and vocational training. 

In the coming time, in order to effectively implement and depeen the Comprehensive Cooperation Partnership between the two countries, the close cooperation between the two governing parties, two governments, two Parliamentaries, the ministries, industries and sectors of the two sides will stand as a major pillar, pushing the two countries to sign the Plan of Action for the period 2018-2023.

The leaders of the two sides will designate relevant agencies to strengthen the effectiveness of existing mechanisms, promote the feasibility of establishing new cooperation mechanisms as well as sign more MOUs so as to facilitate and boost cooperation on all fields. 

Both sides will step up negotiations for signing the agreement on prevention and prevention of crimes; the agreement on extradition and transfer of convicted persons and the protection of confidential information between the two countries. 

Both sides will need more preferential policies in trade and investment, creating the most favorable environment for foreign investors, including Myanmar and Vietnamese investors. 

vietnam myanmar continue to reach new heights
President Tran Dai Quang meets with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi in Da Nang, November 2017.

Both sides will expand defense and security cooperation, including the exchange of military missions at all levels and the opening of a defense policy dialogue at the vice-ministerial level, the deputy chief of staff and the working group mechanism of General Director of External Relations Department; enhancing defense industry cooperation, defense enterprises, cooperation in military medical training, medical assistance, search and rescue; sports exchange; exchanges of information, consultation and mutual support on multilateral forums ... 

The two sides will reaffirm their commitment not to allow any individual or organization to use the territory of a country to act against the other. In addition, the security relationship will be more closely linked. In the coming time, the two countries will boost cooperation in exchanging young officers, teaching Vietnamese and Myanmar languages; enhancing border management and controlling the illegal immigration and preventing drug trafficking.

In addition, the cooperation between Vietnam and Myanmar in other fields such as energy-petroleum, tourism, transport telecommunications, agriculture, finance and banking will continue to be promoted. 

The two sides will promote closer financial links and will strengthen the legal system on banking, insurance, capital markets and other sub-sectors of the financial sector, including financial services. 

Both sides recognize the potentials of the agro-forestry-fishery cooperation and will soon conclude agreements on agriculture, forestry, fisheries and livestock and broaden cooperation to seek for the measures to improve the quality and added value of agricultural products such as maize, rice, beans and green beans. Two sides have committed to speed up the process of signing MOU on agricultural cooperatives and rural development at the earliest. 

The two sides will also promote cooperation in multi-mode transport including road, sea and air routes between the two countries and in the subregion, in order to successfully realize the goals set by the GMS 6 held in Ha Noi in March 2018. 

The two leaders will discuss and seek ways to further enhance cooperation in tourism, legislation, education and people's exchanges, including the exchange between young leaders and young generation as a whole; encouraging effective exchange of students at all levels. 

The importance is also attached to the role of the Vietnam-Myanmar Friendship Association and the Myanmar-Vietnam Friendship Association in promoting the exchange of people between the two countries. 

Thanks to the favorable development momentum and experiences of more than 40 years of cooperation and common efforts of both sides, the friendly and multi-faceted cooperation between Vietnam and Myanmar will continue to gain greater achievements, matching with the practical interests of the two peoples, for the sake of peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity in the region and over the world. 

At the mean time, the NLD, the Myanmar Government and the State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi have been working hard to heal the division that has existed in Burma over the past 50 years, in order to promote democracy in the newly opened and integrated country. 

The 21st Century Palong Peace conference has been marking important changes in the bulding of peace in Myanmar. Vietnam believes in Myanmar people and government in the process of national reconciliation and compromise. Vietnam is also willing to share its experiences as well as expressed the desire to learn from Burmese experiences related to ethnic issues. 

In addition to the peace process, Myanmar is promoting the process of building a united, democratic and prosperous Union; building a free and prosperous society in this country of 55 million people. Myanmar's reform process is bringing about the daily changes and development for the country. 

Vietnam and Myanmar have many things in common, including the history of reforming and opening policy as well as the integration into the world community for the past 40 years. Vietnam will share with Myanmar its experience in reform process and  support the government and people of Myanmar to fulfill their noble goals. 

Myanmar people are peace lovers with strong sense of national pride and determination. They will soon grow fastly and reach higher position in the international arena. 

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi plays a very important role in both peace and democracy processes in Myanmar. She is the most popular and beloved in Myanmar. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has sacrified her personal happiness for the political career and has become a symbol of the resilience and the devotion to her fatherland. She is likened to "the lighthouse of hope" for the people of Myanmar. 

The Government and people of Vietnam are delighted to welcome her in a visit that will contribute to the deepening of the relationship between Vietnam and Myanmar. 

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Ambassador Luan Thuy Duong

(TGVN)