Vietnam–Myanmar: Reliable partners moving forward

Update: 16:31 | 28/05/2020
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has recently written an article on the relations between Vietnam and Myanmar on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the two countries' diplomatic ties (28/05/1975-28/5/2020). The following is the full text of the article.
vietnam myanmar reliable partners moving forward Myanmar President lauds sound relations with Vietnam
vietnam myanmar reliable partners moving forward Vietnam, Myanmar issue joint statement
vietnam myanmar reliable partners moving forward
President Ho Chi Minh visited Myanmar in February 1958.

Vietnam and Myanmar are celebrating the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties. This marks a critical milestone in the relations between the two countries, and gives us a good opportunity to look back upon our illustrious journey and together forge ahead with great confidence.

While Vietnam and Myanmar officially established diplomatic relations in 1975, the bonds between the two continental Southeast Asian nations date back much earlier. In the old days, the two countries enjoyed a long history of robust trade. Immediately following Vietnam and Myanmar’s independence, the two respective eminent leaders, President Ho Chi Minh and General Aung San, attached great importance to establishing and fostering the neighborly friendship between the two nations. Vietnam opened a liaison office in Yangon as early as 1947, and for many years, Myanmar was a vital gateway connecting Vietnam and the world. President U Nu paid a visit to Vietnam in 1954 and President Ho Chi Minh paid a reciprocal visit to Myanmar in 1958, laying a solid foundation for bilateral ties.

Over four decades of turmoil in the region and the world, the ties between Vietnam andMyanmar have remained close and faithful, and grown ever stronger, deeper and with greater substance. Among the milestones of the relationship is the establishment of the Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership in 2017.

Today, the partnership between Vietnam and Myanmar is underpinned by the values of equality, reliability and mutual respect; by the common aspiration that all the countries would grow strong, all the nations would prosper, and that there would be peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world; and by the commitment to true friendship, in times of both joy and hardship, always standing shoulder-to-shoulder in mutual empathy.

vietnam myanmar reliable partners moving forward
Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Myanmar's Minister of International Cooperation U Kyaw Tin signed the Minute of the 9th session of the Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation in Ha Noi on March 12, 2019.

Our political trust has grown stronger through the exchange of high-level visits and delegations at various levels as well as the implementation of bilateral cooperation mechanisms. In recent years, as both countries undertake reforms and adopt a open foreign policy, more bilateral visits have been taking place; the most notable are the visits to Myanmar by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (August 2017), Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (December 2019) and President of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (August 2016); the visits to Vietnam by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (April 2018) and President U Win Myint (May 2019).

Economic, trade and investment cooperation is a particular bright spot in our bilateral cooperation. Vietnam is currently one of Myanmar's top ten trade partners. Two-way trade turnover is growing rapidly from $152 million in 2010 to $1.05 billion in 2019, exceeding the $1 billion target ahead of the deadline of 2020. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first quarter of 2020 saw two-way trade turnover grew to $250.2 million, a year-on increase of 10.7%. There are currently 220 Vietnamese businesses representatives actively engaged in various sectors of the Myanmar market. Vietnam is maintaining its position as the 7th largest foreign investor in Myanmar with 18 major projects and a total registered capital of nearly $2.2 billion.

Other areas of cooperation such as security, defense, agriculture, telecommunications, energy, tourism, education and culture are all witnessing positive, dynamic growth and encouraging results. The opening of direct flights between the two countries in 2010 has helped to facilitate commerce,exchanges and cooperation in culture, tourism and sports, thereby bringing our two peoples even closer. As Vietnam and Myanmar are both striving to seize opportunities for socio-economic development, there will be fertile grounds for both sides to engage in substantive, effective and diversecooperation.

Beyond the bilateral framework, Vietnam and Myanmar are also working closely at numerous international fora, particularly under the shared roof of ASEAN, within sub-regional mechanisms in continental Southeast Asia, and at the United Nations, among others. We share common interests and visions in various regional and international issues, including those critical to each country such as safeguarding independence and self-reliance, promoting international integration, actively contributingto joint efforts for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

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Through the political trust, agreement and determination from the leaders and people of the two countries, reinforced by our complementary strengths and potentials, the relations between Vietnam and Myanmar shall continue to grow and achieve even more concrete results in all areas, bringing about tangible benefits to our two people, fostering solidarity, unity and development of the ASEAN Community, and strengthening peace, prosperity and cooperation in the region and the world. It can hence be affirmed that a new chapter in the 45-year history of the relations between Vietnam and Myanmar shall be penned by the ever-growing bonds between our two nations and continue to bear more fruits, garnering even greater achievements when moving forward.

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