Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc held talks with visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia in Hanoi on August 27.

The Malaysian Prime Minister is paying an official visit to Vietnam on August 27 and 28 at the invitation of Prime Minister Phuc.

According to a report from the Vietnam News Agency, the two Prime Ministers agreed to further deepen the strategic partnership between the two ASEAN members.

Prime Minister Phuc congratulated Malaysia, under the leadership of Prime Minister Mahathir, on sustaining its stable growth and global competitiveness towards the goal of “Shared Prosperity 2030”.

For his part, Prime Minister Mahathir affirmed that Malaysia always attaches importance to strengthening the strategic partnership with Vietnam, which it considers a close neighbor and trustworthy partner in the region, especially within the framework of the ASEAN Community.

Both sides agreed to further facilitate visits at all levels, strengthen cooperation via party and National Assembly channels, and make effective use of bilateral cooperation mechanisms.

The Prime Minister affirmed that the Communist Party of Vietnam wants to further reinforce ties with the ruling Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) of Malaysia.

The two sides welcomed the exchange of letters between the two legislatures on the establishment of the Vietnam - Malaysia friendship parliamentarians’ group and committed support for the group in working to raise mutual understanding, making further contributions to ties between the two law-making bodies and the two nations.

They pledged to soon sign an action program to realize the bilateral strategic partnership for 2020-2025, focusing on boosting economy ties, deepening strategic cooperation in national defense and security, and strengthening partnerships in marine cooperation, innovation, science, education, and human resources.

They consented to promptly launch bilateral defense mechanisms, including a high-level committee on defense cooperation and naval consultations, while stepping up the signing of cooperation documents such as an MoU on defense cooperation, an MoU on the establishment of joint patrols and a hotline at sea, an MoU on law cooperation, agreements on the prevention and control of human trafficking and on the transfer of sentenced persons.

Host and guest shared experience in the fight against corruption and agreed to extend ties between agencies concerned, considering it one of the pillars of building a facilitating, transparent and action-minded government.

They shared the view that economic, trade, and investment relationships have been a bright spot in bilateral ties. Two-way trade between hit $11.5 billion last year, up over 13 per cent against 2017.

In order to raise two-way trade to $15 billion, Prime Minister Mahathir promised to increase investment in Vietnam in fields using modern technology and with high added value, and back Vietnam’s exports to Malaysia, particularly agriculture, forestry and fisheries and Halal products.

The two sides highlighted the significance of collaboration in improving human resources quality and expanding cultural ties and people-to-people exchange. The Malaysian Government will continue ensuring the legitimate interests of and creating favorable conditions for Vietnamese workers living in Malaysia.

On marine cooperation, the two Prime Ministers promised to share experience in building strategies for the marine economy, marine science, and sea energy. They welcomed the fact that the two sides have reached agreement on the content of an MoU on cooperation in legal enforcement and search and rescue at sea.

They agreed that the two countries will work closely together to address issues regarding seized fishermen and fishing vessels in a humanitarian spirit and in accordance with international law.

Regarding regional and global strategic and security issues of shared interest, Prime Minister Mahathir affirmed that Malaysia strongly supports Vietnam as Chair of ASEAN in 2020 and as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure.

He said Malaysia will coordinate closely with Vietnam to promote the building of an ASEAN Community of unity and uphold the bloc’s central role in the regional architecture for the sake of peace, stability, cooperation, and development based on rules.

The two Prime Ministers agreed that as two neighbors bordering the East Sea with associated security and interests, Vietnam and Malaysia will closely cooperate with ASEAN to ensure peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea.

Expressing deep concern over recent developments in the East Sea, they stressed the importance of settling disputes by peaceful means in accordance with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, with respect for diplomatic and legal processes, refraining from the use of and threat to use force, avoiding militarization, fully and seriously implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and striving for the early finalization of an effective and legally-binding Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Following the talks, the two Prime Ministers witnessed the signing of a letter of intent on the signing of an MoU on cooperation in legal enforcement and search and rescue at sea, and the exchange of letters on the establishment of Malaysia - Vietnam friendship parliamentarians’ group.

Vietnam and Malaysia established diplomatic relations on March 30, 1973, and the friendly and cooperative ties between the two countries have unceasingly developed in all spheres.

The two countries issued a joint statement on their strategic partnership framework during then-Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to Malaysia in 2015 and approved a plan of action to implement the strategic partnership in March 2017.

Economic-trade-investment cooperation is an outstanding feature of bilateral ties. The two countries are among the top 10 trade partners of each other. Vietnam’s exports to Malaysia are primarily crude oil, rice, coffee, and seafood, while it imports steel, petroleum, plant and animal oil, plastic materials, machineries, equipment, computers, and electronic goods.

PetroVietnam and Petronas Malaysia have partnered up since 1991 in oil and gas exploration, processing, and services. The two companies are implementing ten joint projects.

Regarding investment, as at April this year Malaysia had 586 investment projects in Vietnam with total registered capital of $12.4 billion, ranking it eighth among 130 foreign investors in the country. Vietnamese investors have poured $1.53 billion into 19 projects in Malaysia.

The two countries have also expanded cooperation in other fields, such as human resources, education, and tourism.