Vietnamese FM praises cooperation with China

Updated: 2013-09-04 09:51

By Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)

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Cooperation with China has greatly benefited Southeast Asian countries as they weather the economic storm in the region, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said.

"The region has been faced with the adverse impacts of the global and regional economic recession," Minh told China Daily.

He was in Beijing on Aug 29 to attend a special China-ASEAN foreign ministers meeting marking the 10th anniversary of the China-ASEAN strategic partnership.

"Our cooperation has indeed helped both ASEAN countries and China in coping with the challenges and promoting our respective development, as we already had the valuable lesson of mutual assistance to overcome East Asia's 1997-98 economic and financial crisis," he said.

Given this background, the foreign minister said it is still possible to witness a "rapid expansion" of trade and economic cooperation between ASEAN and China.

ASEAN and China trade volume has increased twofold between 2010 and 2013, reaching $400 million.

The ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, which came into effect in 2010, has made a significant contribution to the booming cooperation, he said.

"It offers even greater potential for both sides with its market of nearly 2 billion people and a total GDP of up to $6 trillion."

Together with his ASEAN colleagues, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Vietnam's top diplomat, reiterated the importance of the ASEAN-China strategic partnership, praising it as "one of the most dynamic, effective and comprehensive partnerships that ASEAN has with its dialogue partners.

"We believe that ASEAN and China will surely achieve the target of $500 billion in trade by 2015, while the ACFTA (ASEAN-China Free Trade Area) is to be upgraded and the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) is formed," Minh said.

He said the two neighbors have grown closer with more interaction at various levels.

"Most importantly, we have seen frequent exchanges of high-level visits and contacts that have helped enhance both the political trust and cooperation in all areas and map out major direction for the further development of our bilateral ties," he said.

Chiefs of the two countries' ruling parties held a telephone meeting in March, and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang paid a successful state visit to China in June.

The two sides agreed to implement the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic partnership.

During a meeting on Aug 28, Wang and Minh agreed to maintain high-level contact, advance cooperation in trade, and increase cultural and youth-to-youth exchanges to lay a more solid foundation for future friendship.

Visiting Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung attended the 10th China-ASEAN EXPO in southern China's Nanning on Tuesday.

He met Premier Li Keqiang to discuss measures to further strengthen ties on Monday.

The two countries also see enhanced exchanges at the ministerial and provincial levels, the minister said.