09:08 | 26/08/2017 Vietnam - Asean
(VEN) - Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited Thailand from August 17-19 at the invitation of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Tightening traditional friendship
Vietnam and Thailand officially established diplomatic relations on August 6, 1976. Relations gradually improved, especially after Vietnam officially joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1995.
Reflecting the steady development of ties between the two countries, in June 2013 Vietnam and Thailand officially upgraded their relations to a strategic partnership during the visit of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to Thailand. During the visit of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to Vietnam in November 2014, the two sides signed the action program on implementing the Vietnam-Thailand strategic partnership between 2014 and 2018, a document covering all areas of cooperation between the two countries.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s to Thailand was his first since assuming office in April 2016. During the visit, the two sides discussed bilateral cooperation activities, exchanged international and regional issues of mutual concern, and agreed on measures to promote cooperation.
PM Phuc also attended the Vietnam-Thailand Business Forum in Bangkok with the participation of heads of ministries and departments, and chairmen of Thai corporations in such fields as energy, banking, construction, science and technology.
After the joint meeting between the two senior leaders, five cooperation agreements between Vietnam and Thailand were signed.
During the visit, PM Phuc also participated in the opening ceremony of Vietnamese Goods Week in Thailand at Central Ladprao Department Store.
New land, sea routes
Thailand is Vietnam’s largest trade partner in ASEAN. By April 2017, two-way trade turnover reached US$4.3 billion, an increase of 21.5 percent compared to a year ago. Of which, Vietnam’s exports to Thailand stood at US$1.4 billion, while imports totaled US$2.9 billion.
With 458 valid projects with total registered capital of nearly US$8.2 billion, mainly focused on the manufacturing and processing sectors, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, Thailand ranks 10th among the 116 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.
Vietnamese businesses and Thai companies also signed a number of business deals. They included a memorandum of understanding between Vietnam Oil and Gas Group and the Siam Cement Public Co Ltd; PetroVietnam Ca Mau Fertilizer JSC, PetroVietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Corporation, Binh Son Refining and Petro Chemicals Co and SCG Chemicals Co Ltd; SCIC Investment Co Ltd and Kasikorn Bank Public Co Ltd.
In terms of labor cooperation, Vietnam and Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding on labor cooperation and an agreement on exchanging workers in July 2015. The two sides are currently working out the final details of an agreement upgrading the earlier one in order to soon implement an agreement.
Vietnam and Thailand also agreed to promote multimodal transport links between the two countries, including land, sea and air routes. A Thailand-Laos-Vietnam bus route, a Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam coastal route and a new direct flight between Thailand’s Chiang Mai City and Vietnam’s central province of Quang Binh were cited as examples of their cooperation.
Vietnam and Thailand are actively promoting cooperation in production and processing of agricultural products and foodstuffs, strengthening cooperation in disease prevention in fisheries and animal husbandry, and accelerating signing of new memorandum of understanding on agricultural cooperation in order to meet development needs and conditions.
The two sides discussed the issue of illegal fishing. In order to enhance cooperation, they are negotiating to set up a hotline to deal with issues arising at sea.
Cooperation between localities has also been enhanced. As of date, Vietnam’s 15 provinces and cities have signed cooperation agreements with Thai localities, such as Long An Province and Trat, Kon Tum Province and Ubon Ratchathani, and Thua Thien Hue Province and Bangkok.
At regional and international forums, the two countries regularly support each other. Thailand attaches great importance to cooperation within ASEAN and actively coordinates with Vietnam in maintaining unity within the bloc. Vietnam and Thailand have achieved important results in cooperation in various fields, contributing to creating a momentum for economic development between the two countries.