Vietnam and New Zealand Strengthen Comprehensive Partnership, Strive for Enhanced Relations

Vietnam News Today (March 11): Vietnam and New Zealand strengthen their bilateral relations, aiming to reach new heights in their partnership. The 30th ASEAN Economic Ministers' Retreat in Laos was attended by Vietnam. The Vietnamese victims of the Red Sea attack will soon be repatriated with the help of the Ambassador. Vietnam is taking the lead in chairing the preparatory session to seek the International Court of Justice's advice on the country's obligations regarding climate change.

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Vietnam News Headlines – March 11:

Vietnam, New Zealand reinforce all-round ties, eye new levels of relations

Vietnam attends the 30th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat in Laos

Viet victims in Red Sea attack to be brought home soon: Ambassador

Forestry exports up 47% in Jan-Feb

Vietnam chairs preparatory session seeking ICJ’s advice on obligations on climate change

Vietnamese businesses join Vegetarian Food Fair in Hong Kong

“Hello Dream Day” charity event comes to disabled children in Hanoi

Youth unions of Vietnam and Belarus strengthen cooperation

Bac Giang keeps improving grassroots healthcare

Vietnam, New Zealand reinforce all-round ties, eye new levels of relations

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his New Zealand counterpart Christopher Luxon co-chaired a press conference following their talks in Wellington on March 11 morning, saying they agreed to promote all-round cooperation to raise the two countries’ relations to a new height.

PM Chinh noted that during the talks, the two sides discussed a wide range of areas of cooperation and outlined orientations for the Vietnam – New Zealand strategic partnership to continue growing strongly in the time ahead.

In particular, the countries will stabilize and consolidate the strategic trust and political-diplomatic cooperation to create a solid foundation for bilateral ties. They will enhance and expand cooperation in all the important pillars of their strategic partnership, including the economy – trade – investment, security – defense, agriculture, and people-to-people exchange. In addition, they will accelerate and make breakthroughs in the partnerships in science-technology, innovation, green economy, digital economy, environmentally friendly technology transfer, agriculture, and such emerging sectors as artificial intelligence, semiconductor, maritime economy, environmental protection, labor, and vocational training.

The two sides agreed to establish working groups to step up the fruitful implementation of cooperation deals, he said.

Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh (R) and his New Zealand counterpart PM Christopher Luxon co-chair the press conference in Wellington on March 11. (Photo: VNA)

Looking into some regional and international issues of shared concern, they agreed to coordinate closely and support each other, especially at the United Nations, the ASEAN-led forums, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). They also concurred in boosting dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation, together effectively responding to common challenges in the region, and fostering cooperation in the Mekong sub-region, the Vietnamese PM said.

Regarding the East Sea issue, he went on, the two sides reaffirmed the importance of ensuring peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the waters; not using or threatening to use force; and peacefully resolving disputes based on international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They agreed to exchange opinions and information, increase maritime cooperation, and make joint efforts to turn the East Sea into an area of peace, stability, friendship, cooperation, and development.

For his part, PM Luxon told the media that during the talks, the two sides made commitments to the building of an Asia-Pacific region of peace, stability, cooperation, and development that generates benefits for both countries and their peoples.

Vietnam and New Zealand will promote cooperation in all fields, including politics, diplomacy, economy – trade – investment, agriculture, tourism, and people-to-people exchange.

Bilateral trade has been rising continuously, by 60% over the last five years, he noted, adding that they aim to raise the trade revenue to 2 billion USD in 2024 and soon double bilateral investment through appropriate measures.

The two countries also agreed to jointly build and implement plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, the host leader announced.

He went on to say that he and his Vietnamese guest believe that there remains huge room for Vietnam – New Zealand cooperation, so the two sides should work to maximize potential, including by holding activities aiming for practical and breakthrough results in 2025 – the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, so as to elevate bilateral ties to a new level.

Both sides shared the view that with the achievements obtained so far and the determination of the two countries’ leaders and peoples, the Vietnam – New Zealand relations will keep growing strongly, substantively, and effectively to practically benefit the two peoples and contribute to peace, stability, cooperation, and development in Asia-Pacific and the world, according to Luxon.

Following the press conference, the two PMs witnessed the signing of several deals, including an agreement on educational cooperation between the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training and Education New Zealand, an agreement on economic and trade cooperation between the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and a memorandum of understanding between the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance and the New Zealand Treasury.

Delegates attending 30th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam attends 30th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat in Laos

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Sinh Nhat Tan attended the 30th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat in Luang Prabang, Laos, on March 8-9, during which he expressed Vietnam’s support for Laos’ priority economic cooperation initiatives in its ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2024. Tan said that Vietnam is committed to working closely with Laos and other ASEAN countries to fulfill set goals and plans, thus contributing to the overall success of the ASEAN 2024.

He also emphasized the importance of giving priority to recovery activities and connecting economies, especially prioritizing resources for new negotiation activities and negotiations to upgrade agreements within ASEAN and between the grouping and partner countries.

At the meeting, participating ministers approved 14 priority economic deliverables (PEDs) put forward by Laos, with a focus on three main directions recovering and connecting economies, creating an inclusive and sustainable future, and transforming toward the digital future. They also adopted the ASEAN Services Facilitation Framework (ASFF).

Delegates also exchanged other important contents for ASEAN economic cooperation such as the status of negotiations to upgrade the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), negotiations on the ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA), the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Competition, the upgrade of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as well as initiatives on sustainability in the ASEAN Economic Community.

On the sidelines of the meeting, the ministers discussed with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC), during which they noted ABAC’s priorities for 2024 as well as its recommendations to promote a favorable business environment in ASEAN in the coming time.

Viet victims in Red Sea attack to be brought home soon: Ambassador

The Vietnamese Embassy in Egypt and Djibouti is working hard to complete the necessary procedures to repatriate Vietnamese sailors working on the Barbados-flagged True Confidence cargo ship that was struck by a Houthi ballistic missile off the coast of Yemen on March 6.

Ambassador Nguyen Huy Dung said on March 10 that the survivors and the body of seafarer Dang Duy Kien, now in Djibouti city, Djibouti, are expected to be brought home as soon as possible. The embassy has coordinated with the Vietnamese Embassy in the United Arab Emirates and relevant sides in re-granting passports to the surviving crewmen – Pham Van Thanh, 39, from the northern port city of Hai Phong; Nguyen Van Tao, 36, from the northern province of Hai Duong; and Phung Van An, 33, from the northern province of Nam Dinh – as they have lost all their documents, Dung told the Vietnam News Agency in Cairo.

The diplomat added that the three would receive their new passports in the next one or two days.

According to the ambassador, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Djibouti has supported the countries whose citizens are victims of the fatal Houthi attack, including Vietnam. The Vietnamese Embassy in Egypt and Djibouti are also working together with relevant agencies in Djibouti to quickly complete the necessary papers to repatriate the deceased’s body in line with legal regulations of concerned countries and international practices, he said.

Forestry exports up 47% in Jan-Feb

Vietnam earned 2.68 billion USD from forestry exports in the first two months of 2024, up 47.4% year-on-year, according to the Department of Forestry under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The sector enjoyed a trade surplus of about 2.46 billion USD in the period. This year, the agriculture sector is striving for 15.2 billion USD in forestry exports, of which 14.2 billion USD will come from the export of wood and wood products, up 6% year-on-year.

To that end, the industry will strictly control and manage imported wood, ensure wood is of legal origin before processing, and encourage the use of raw wood sources from domestically grown forests. In addition, it will promote trade promotion activities, develop markets in new potential regions, and organize international fairs, while encouraging wood processing and exporting enterprises to link with forest growers in production chains.

Vietnamese businesses join Vegetarian Food Fair in Hong Kong

Vietnamese businesses joined some 300 exhibitors at the 10th Vegetarian Food Asia (VFA) which took place in China’s Hong Kong from March 8-10 to promote vegetarian and green lifestyles in Asia. A wide range of Vietnamese organic products were on the showcase at the fair for the first time.

According to Deputy Director of Cau Ke Tra Vinh Wax Coconut Processing Company Limited (VICOSAP) Lam Ngoc Tu, she brought to the fair 10 lines of wax coconut products, which were exported to the US, the UK, Japan, and China’s Taiwan and Hong Kong, so as to seek more vegetarian consumers. Other Vietnamese products such as coffee, cashew nuts, noodle,s and dried fruits also won the interest of Hong Kong customers.

Chief Representative of Guangdong Import-Export Association in Vietnam Kelvin Chau said that he took Vietnamese firms to the fair so that they could have opportunities to access the Hong Kong market, and through which to enter the Chinese market.

Organized for the first time in 2015, the VFA has become the largest and most comprehensive showcase of vegetarian and eco-friendly living in Hong Kong. It has drawn the participation of companies from many countries worldwide, including China, China’s Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam. At this year’s event, vegetarian, vegan, and plant-friendly guests had the chance to explore the latest vegetarian movements in Asia with various seminars and workshops. It also offered an opportunity for producers and businesses to promote connectivity to launch naturally organic products to the market to meet the increasing demand of consumers.

Amy Nguyen