NA leader’s visits give strong boost to ties with Russia, Belarus

Monday, 2019-12-16 13:03:21
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Chairman of the NA’s Committee for External Relations Nguyen Van Giau
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NDO/VNA – The official visits of National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan to Russia and Belarus are expected to give a strong boost to Vietnam’s ties with those two traditional friendly countries, according to Chairman of the NA’s Committee for External Relations Nguyen Van Giau.

Talking to the press following Chairwoman Ngan’s visit, the NA official said during talks and meetings with the Vietnamese top legislator, Russian leaders all hailed the importance of the visit to Vietnam-Russia relationship, and reiterated Russia’s policy on strengthening the comprehensive strategic partnership with Vietnam.

The Russian side emphasized the good political ties between the two countries, as seen through high-level visits in the past two years, noting that mutual political trust has paved the way for cooperation in other fields, particularly in economic partnership.

In bilateral economic, trade and investment ties, cooperation on oil and gas and energy has continued to be an important pillar. Since the signing of the Vietnam-Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) free trade agreement in 2016, Vietnam-Russia bilateral trade has been rising fast, from US$ 2.5 billion in 2015 to US$ 4.5 billion in 2018, according to Vietnam’s statistics. Russia’s statistics put the 2018 figure at US$ 6.1 billion. The two countries’ goal is to raise two-way trade to US$ 10 billion.

Leaders of Vietnam and Russia also wanted the two countries to organize practical activities to mark their major anniversaries in 2020, which are the occasions to educate their people, especially young generations, to understand the good ties between the two countries.

Chairman of the NA’s Committee for External Relations Giau noted that Chairwoman Ngan was invited to speak at a plenary of the Federation Council, which was rarely seen before. In her address at the council, which was broadcast live on the council’s TV channel vmeste-rf.tv, the Vietnamese top legislator recalled the strong and valuable support of the Soviet Union in the past and Russia at present for Vietnam’s national liberation struggle and national construction and defence. She also expressed her belief that the comprehensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and Russia will continue to be strengthened and developed, contributing to each country’s prosperity.

In the framework of the visit, the NA Chairwoman and Chairman of the State Duma of Russia co-chaired the first meeting of the inter-parliamentary cooperation committee between the Vietnamese NA and the Russian Duma, which is a new cooperative mechanism established under an agreement signed between the two sides at the end of 2018. It is the highest mechanism in bilateral parliamentary cooperation and the first between the Vietnamese NA and a legislative body of another country.

At the first meeting, the inter-parliamentary cooperation committee focused on cooperation in multilateral forums, the signing and implementation of international treaties signed between the two countries, and bilateral collaboration on science-technology, defence and security.

Regarding the NA Chairwoman’s visit to Belarus, the Chairman of the NA’s Committee for External Relations noted that this is a special visit as Belarus has just completed the parliamentary election. However, the Belarusian side had made careful preparation for the visit.

According to Chairman of the NA’s Committee for External Relations Giau, Belarusian leaders shared the assessment that the Vietnamese parliamentary leader’s visit will create a strong momentum for bilateral ties.

During all meetings during Chairwoman’s Ngan’s visit, both sides noted that bilateral trade has not match their potential and aspiration, and the need to seek new directions to promote economic and trade ties. Vietnam’s statistics put two-way trade at over US$ 92 million in 2018 while Belarus’s statistics put the figure at US$153 million.

Chairwoman Ngan suggested the two sides set up joint ventures to produce goods in Vietnam, citing the inauguration in September this year of a truck making joint venture in Vietnam as a good example.

Meanwhile, the Belarusian side wanted to set up a channel for trade, and asked Vietnam to import more potassium fertilizer from Belarus.

The two sides discussed and agreed upon many specific measures to bolster their economic, trade and investment ties, aiming to raise two-way trade to US$ 500 million.

During the meetings, Chairwoman Ngan mentioned the East Sea issue and called on Belarus to support Vietnam and the ASEAN’s stance and principle on settling disputes by peaceful means without using or threatening to use force, on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, while fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and working towards the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct on the East Sea, thus contributing to maintaining peace, stability and development in the region.

Chairman Giau concluded that the official visits of NA Chairwoman Ngan to Russia and Belarus from December 8 - 14 were very successful.