Thursday,  Nov 15, 2018,12:59 (GMT+7) 0 0
Vietnam, France pledge to bolster strategic partnership
The Saigon Times Daily
Saturday,  Nov 3, 2018,15:11 (GMT+7)

Vietnam, France pledge to bolster strategic partnership

The Saigon Times Daily

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe (L) shakes hands with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the headquarters of the Government Office in Hanoi on November 2 – PHOTO: VGP

HCMC – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his French counterpart, Édouard Philippe, committed to expanding the Vietnam-France strategic partnership during their talks in Hanoi on November 2, as part of the French leader’s ongoing visit to Vietnam, reported the Vietnam News Agency.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe began his three-day official visit to Vietnam, at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, on Friday.

The two government leaders agreed to increase contacts and exchanges of delegations, especially high-level ones, while promoting the role of coordination and direction mechanisms for bilateral cooperation, and forging stronger partnerships in politics, economy, defense, science and technology, culture, and education and training.

The leaders affirmed that economic collaboration remains a priority in bilateral ties, stressing the need to speed up major joint projects and encourage the relationship between Vietnam and the European Union.

Also, Prime Minister Philippe voiced his support for the early ratification of a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the bloc, and underlined France’s commitment to maintaining development cooperation with Vietnam in the future.

Further, both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in building e-government and modernizing State administrative governance, which is a new and promising area for cooperation.

They also pledged to create favorable conditions for their businesses to improve their partnerships in a wide range of Vietnam’s priority fields, such as infrastructure, energy, aviation and aerospace, healthcare, science and technology, communications, adaptation to climate change, and smart city development.

Additionally, they noted the significance of cooperation in education and training, including the development of the University of Science and Technology of Hanoi, to become a facility operating at international standards.

The two sides agreed to expand ties in culture, stressing their determination to turn cultural institutions of each country into centers for cultural cooperation and exchange, including the Vietnamese Cultural Center in France and the French Institute in Vietnam.

They also shared the hope to strengthen partnerships in security and defense, as well as increase visits of French military ships to Vietnam, and support Vietnam in joining United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Additionally, the two prime ministers agreed to improve coordination in ensuring the success of the 11th conference on cooperation between Vietnamese and French localities, scheduled for early April next year in the French city of Toulouse.

They pledged to work closely at multilateral forums, especially the UN and the Francophonie, while supporting each other in developing relations between France and Asia Pacific countries, as well as between Vietnam and EU members.

The two sides will also promote collaboration in coping with global challenges, especially climate change.

The leaders stressed the significance of maintaining peace and stability, and bolstering regional and international cooperation. They reiterated their commitments to maintaining navigation and aviation freedom, and solving disputes in the East Sea through peaceful measures, in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

After their talks, they witnessed the signing of two business agreements worth over US$10 billion, along with dozens of other cooperation agreements covering training, e-government development, healthcare, adapting to climate change, environmental protection, urban management, aviation, and energy.

This includes the purchase by Vietjet Air, Vietnam’s leading budget airline, of 50 Airbus A321neo planes worth US$6.5 billion, and CFM Leap engines valued at US$5.3 billion.

Earlier Friday, Philippe met with Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan. Today, he visits the former battlefield of Dien Bien Phu, where the French army was defeated in 1954.

Philippe said he and his delegation, which includes some French veterans, will pay respects to fallen French and Vietnamese soldiers who fought for their countries. “Instead of bringing us back to the past, allow us, I think, to build a serene common future,” he said.

Data from the Ministry of Industry and Trade indicates that bilateral trade between Vietnam and France has seen positive growth, with Vietnam enjoying a continuous trade surplus since 2010.

France is an important European partner for Vietnam, with their trade value exceeding US$4.6 billion last year, marking an 11.6% rise against 2016. The figure includes US$3.3 billion worth of Vietnamese exports to France, and US$1.3 billion in French imports, both increasing by over 11% year-on-year.

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