Thursday, 8 November 2012

Thailand - Vietnamese Relations to Be Developed into Strategic Partnerships

Thailand and Vietnam have agreed to form a joint commission to develop their bilateral relations into strategic partnerships.

The agreement was reached at the second Thailand-Vietnam Joint Cabinet Retreat, held the International Convention Center in Hanoi on 27 October 2012.

The meeting was cited as a new milestone in the multi-faceted cooperation that has been taking place between the two countries.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung affirmed that the meeting had been successful. Both countries will push for achieving an increase of bilateral trade by 20 percent annually from 2012 to 2015. Their bilateral trade in 2011 amounted to 9.08 billion US dollars. Exports from Thailand were valued at 7.05 billion dollars, while imports from Vietnam came to 2.03 billion dollars.

Prime Minister Yingluck said that the joint Cabinet retreat provided an opportunity for Cabinet members of both countries to familiarize themselves with one another. It came after the first joint Cabinet retreat took place in 2004, or eight years ago.

She was pleased that Vietnam accepted an invitation to attend a meeting of rubber producing countries hosted by Thailand in December 2012. As for the rice issue, both sides shared the view that Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam should step up cooperation in rice trade and exports at both bilateral and multilateral levels in order to stabilize rice prices.

Prime Minister Yingluck said that Thailand and Vietnam would enhance energy, food, and agricultural cooperation, with emphasis on rice and rubber. Regarding political and security cooperation, they agreed to map out an action plan on cooperation in preventing transnational crime and combating terrorism.

At the second joint Cabinet retreat, the governments of the two countries signed two documents: Thailand-Vietnam Security Outlook, 2012-2016 and the Joint Statement, while members of their respective private sectors signed a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of the Thailand-Vietnam Business Council.

Thailand and Vietnam also agreed to cooperate more in tourism development, transportation links, cultural exchange, and education, especially the teaching and learning of Thai and Vietnamese languages.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Vietnam in 1976, both countries have achieved remarkable progress in broadening and deepening their friendship and cooperation in all areas. They are key members of the ASEAN family and have worked closely together to advance the ASEAN Community building process.

Vietnam was told that Thailand, as the coordinating country for ASEAN-China relations between 2012 and 2015, would actively promote peace and stability in the South China Sea.

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