Vietnam and Malaysia agreed on a number of issues during recent discussion between the countries' two PMs in Hanoi.
When Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing more than a month ago the international community bore witness to Vietnam’s ceaseless efforts to find the aircraft when it was initially suspected of coming down in the Gulf of Thailand. On his visit to Vietnam last month the Malaysian Prime Minister thanked his Vietnamese counterpart for what the country had done. But this was far from the only topic of discussion, as Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak agreed to work towards the establishment of a strategic partnership for the benefit of the two countries and for peace, stability, cooperation and development in Asia-Pacific and the world.
The two PMs agreed to lift two-way trade to $11 billion by 2015 and to facilitate business investment in their respective countries. They also agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on rice trade shortly and to accelerate cooperation in labour, agriculture, petroleum, education, and justice. Both sides welcomed the signing of an MoU on agriculture cooperation and tasked agencies to quickly implement its contents. PM Dung said that Malaysia is one of Vietnam’s top trade and investment partners and spoke highly of the country as one of its top labour export markets. Two-way trade stood at $9 billion in 2013, an increase of 67 per cent compared to 2010, while Malaysia ranks eighth among investors in Vietnam, with 451 projects worth over $10 billion. Meanwhile, more than 80,000 Vietnamese guest workers are employed in Malaysia.
Regarding regional and international issues of common concern, the two PMs affirmed that they will continue close coordination at regional and international forums, vowed to work closely with other ASEAN member countries to successfully build a strong and united ASEAN Community by 2015, and to develop the post-2015 ASEAN vision. On the East Sea issue, the two PMs emphasised the importance of maintaining peace, stability, freedom of navigation, and maritime and aviation security and safety in the East Sea. They voiced support for ASEAN’s common stance provided in the bloc’s six-point principles on the East Sea, the settlement of disputes through peaceful means with respect to international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the full and serious realisation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and efforts towards the conclusion of the Code of Conduct. The two leaders committed to promoting the central role of ASEAN in addressing issues related to peace and security in the region, including the East Sea issue. Clearly, the two neighbouring countries are getting closer than they have been in recent years.