Vietnamese State President Vo Van Thuong arrived in Hanoi at around 7:00 am on Sunday, concluding his four-day U.S. visit to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week 2023 in San Francisco, California at the invitation of U.S. President Joe Biden.
This marks President Thuong’s first official U.S. visit, lasting from Tuesday to Friday, since he assumed power in March this year.
|Vietnamese State President Vo Van Thuong (L) shakes hands with a U.S. representative before returning to Vietnam. Photo: Vietnam News Agency|
Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son told the press that President Thuong’s U.S. trip wrapped up with great success and helped convey key messages about Vietnam’s stance on existing challenges facing the region and the world.
President Thuong and his high-ranking Vietnamese entourage made significant contributions to the success of the APEC Leaders’ Week 2023 hosted by the U.S..
The Vietnamese head of state put forward his ideas and proposals to cope with pressing issues of the global economy, especially the requirement for a new mindset which is inclusive, harmonious, and humane.
|Vietnamese State President Vo Van Thuong (R) attends a session of the APEC Leaders’ Week 2023 in San Francisco, November 17, 2023 (U.S. time). Photo: Vietnam News Agency|
He also made specific suggestions for APEC’s missions and tasks in the new period.
His ideas and proposals were highly valued by other leaders and the business community and were featured in the meeting’s document, helping open up new directions for APEC cooperation, Minister Son said.
In addition, President Thuong proposed that Vietnam act as the host of APEC in 2027.
This proposal affirmed Vietnam’s commitment toward multilateralism, the Asia-Pacific region in general, and the APEC forum in particular.
Minister Son added that all APEC members lauded Vietnam’s practical contributions to APEC over the past two decades and affirmed their trust in the nation’s chairmanship in 2027.
|Vietnamese State President Vo Van Thuong (C) sits next to his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden (R) at a session of the APEC Leaders’ Week 2023 in San Francisco, November 16, 2023 (U.S. time). Photo: Vietnam News Agency|
Aside from attending the APEC Leaders’ Week 2023, President Thuong met with his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden and a number of U.S. officials.
The top Vietnamese official also hosted receptions for some leading U.S. companies, attended events connecting businesses and localities between the two nations, as well as addressed a meeting with U.S. scholars.
His U.S. trip contributed to efforts to implement agreements signed between top U.S. and Vietnamese officials after both countries upgraded their bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership in September this year, Minister Son continued.
Through their meetings and bilateral activities in the U.S., both sides mostly discussed issues linked to economy, trade, and investment, with the U.S. soon granting the market economy status to Vietnam and considering science-technology and innovation as breakthrough cooperation fields.
Further, President Thuong’s speech on the global situation, Vietnam’s foreign policy, and the Vietnam-U.S. ties at the Council on Foreign Relations was highly valued by the U.S. side.
|Vietnamese State President Vo Van Thuong witnesses the signing of cooperation agreements reached by ministries, agencies, localities, and enterprises between Vietnam and the U.S. in San Francisco, November 15, 2023 (U.S. time). Photo: Vietnam News Agency|
U.S. businesses evinced their high interest in the Vietnamese market and affirmed their further investment in the Southeast Asian nation, especially in the fields of hi-tech, infrastructure development, and energy.
These American firms also pledged their support for Vietnam in training highly-skilled workforces to serve digital transformation and green transition.
Multiple cooperation agreements reached by ministries, agencies, localities, and enterprises between the two nations were exchanged in the presence of the top Vietnamese official.
|Vietnamese State President Vo Van Thuong delivers a speech at a meeting on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) in San Francisco, November 16, 2023 (U.S. time). Photo: Vietnam News Agency|
In related news, as part of the APEC Leaders’ Week 2023, representatives from the U.S. and 13 other countries joined a meeting on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).
President Thuong on Thursday (U.S. time) gave a speech at the meeting, in which he put forward three major proposals for the IPEF.
He and other leaders of IPEF partner nations made a statement with the aim of developing the IPEF into an open, inclusive, flexible, long-term, and dynamic forum.
The IPEF is an economic initiative launched by the U.S. in May last year, with 14 participating member nations including the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Vietnam puts forward 4 key pillars for Mekong-Lancang Cooperation
Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son has said that he highly valued the cooperation between the country members of the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation (MLC) and put forth four priority areas for the mechanism in the future.
Minister Son proposed the four priorities while speaking at the eighth MLC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which opened in Beijing, China, on Thursday.
The event got together representatives of the six country members of MLC, including China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The meeting focused on reviewing past cooperation results and discussing new plans for the MLC.
In his speech, Son affirmed that Vietnam treasures and continues actively contributing to the close cooperation between the MLC nations.
In that spirit, Minister Son proposed the four cooperation areas that should be prioritized by all the country members in the foreseeable future.
He firstly mentioned fundamental industrial development with a gradual transition from processing and assembly to research, design, and production, based on innovation, creativity, and application and transfer of advanced technologies.
Secondly, he called on the MLC countries to boost digital transformation through policy dialogues on digital economy and cybersecurity, to cooperate in developing digital human resources, smart cities, and digitalization of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and to encourage digital infrastructure construction in manufacturing industries.
Thirdly, environmental protection and green growth transition should be stepped up through cooperation in developing a bio-circular-green economy, clean and renewable energy, and smart agriculture.
In such a transition, it is necessary to accelerate the completion and implementation of the MLC Water Resources Cooperation Action Plan for the period 2023-27, expand the scope of sharing meteorological, hydrological, and dam operation data, and strengthen coordination between MLC and the Mekong River Commission.
Lastly, the minister advised promoting trade cooperation, building smart supply chains, supporting MSMEs’ connection with multinational enterprises, and reforming the investment environment in each country.
Son’s proposals received positive response and support from many other delegates of the meeting.
In reviewing the MLC’s past operations, the meeting applauded the effective cooperation in various fields, including water resource use and management, cross-border economy, agricultural development, poverty reduction, connectivity between the MLC members, flood forecasting, and natural disaster prevention.
The MLC Special Fund has supported country members in developing over 700 projects relating to trade, agriculture, tourism, health, women empowerment, hunger eradication and poverty alleviation, water resource planning and management, and others.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi emphasized that the MLC, which was set up in 2015, is a mechanism that comes from the people and for the people, while proposing that the organization support the development strategies of country members.
All ministers agreed to consider the possibility of establishing the people-centered Mekong-Lancang Innovation Corridor as well as developing the Mekong-Lancang Economic Belt, in order to boost application of advanced technologies to economic development, strengthen infrastructure connectivity, facilitate trade and investment, promote green growth, and support clean energy transition.
The delegates pledged to foster education and tourism cooperation and expand people-to-people exchanges.
The meeting expressed their support for Vietnam to host the second MLC Ministerial Meeting on Water Resources in 2024.
The Mekong River has a total length of about 4,880km, stemming from China and flowing through all six country members of MLC.
The river’s section going through Chinese territory is called Lancang.
The Mekong is the longest river in Southeast Asia, the seventh longest in Asia, and the 12th longest in the world.
Vietnamese prime minister chairs welcome ceremony for Belarusian premier
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Friday morning hosted a welcome ceremony for his Belarusian counterpart Roman Golovchenko at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi before holding talks with the latter at the headquarters of the government.
The top Belarusian leader had arrived in Vietnam on Wednesday night.
This is his first visit to the Southeast Asian country since he took office in June 2020.
|Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh waves to children in Hanoi at a welcome ceremony for the Belarusian prime minister on December 8, 2023. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre|
PM Chinh greeted Golovchenko at the drop-off site before the two walked down a red carpet to an honorary stage to start the ceremony.
|The two prime ministers of Vietnam and Belarus attend a welcome ceremony for the Belarusian leader in Hanoi, December 8, 2023. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre|
|Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (R) and his Belarusian counterpart Roman Golovchenk are pictured walking at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, December 8, 2023. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre|
|Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (L) and his Belarusian counterpart Roman Golovchenk (R, 3rd) take a look at photos describing the two nations’ ties in Hanoi, December 8, 2023. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre|
|A general view of Vietnamese and Belarusian officials’ talks after a welcome ceremony for the Belarusian prime minister in Hanoi on December 8, 2023. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre|
After the ceremony, the two leaders strolled along a path leading to the headquarters of the government for their talks.
As part of his first Vietnam visit, the Belarusian prime minister was set to meet Vietnam’s Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong and State President Vo Van Thuong on Friday.
His entourage includes several high-ranking officials from Belarus and some representatives from major Belarusian companies.
During his meeting with the chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee on Thursday, the two witnessed the signing of cooperation deals between Hanoi and Minsk for the 2024-26 period.
Golovchenko also visited Hung Yen Province, where two projects of joint ventures between Vietnam and Belarus are being executed.
|Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko visits Maz Asia JSC in Hung Yen Province, northern Vietnam, December 7, 2023. Photo: Vietnam News Agency|
He paid a visit to the headquarters of Maz Asia JSC and planted friendship trees at the campus of Au Viet Food Import – Export and Manufacture JSC in Kim Dong District, Hung Yen Province.
PM Golovchenko said that his nation has much experience in waste treatment as well as in used tire and plastic recycling thus he expected stronger partnership with Hung Yen in these fields.
He hoped the provincial authorities would create favorable conditions for the projected expansion of Maz Asia’s automobile manufacturing and assembly plant.
On the occasion of his visit to Vietnam, Golovchenko, Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Evgeny Shestako, and the Belarusian consul general in Vietnam organized a ceremony on Thursday to open the Belarusian Consulate General in Thu Duc City under Ho Chi Minh City.
Vice-chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Vo Van Hoan received the Belarusian prime minister on the same day.
Trade, cooperation on agenda as Cambodia’s PM Hun Manet visits Vietnam next week
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet will visit Vietnam on Monday and Tuesday next week at the invitation of Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday.
This will be the Cambodian leader’s first visit to neighboring Vietnam since he took office in August.
Manet previously visited Vietnam in August last year when he was Deputy Commander-in-Chief and Commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces.
PM Chinh will chair a welcome ceremony for his Cambodian counterpart.
They will hold talks and witness the signing of cooperation agreements.
The two leaders were set to visit the Foreign Trade University in Hanoi and talk to students there.
They will also attend the Vietnam-Cambodia trade and investment promotion forum.
During his working trip, the Cambodian premier will meet with Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, State President Vo Van Thuong, and National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue.
Ties between Vietnam and Cambodia have developed stably and positively since they were established in 1967.
High-level diplomatic exchanges between the two countries have intensified, with the latest visit made by President of the Cambodian National Assembly Samdech Khuon Sudary to Vietnam earlier this month.
PM Chinh and PM Manet met for the first time when they attended the 43rd ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Indonesia in September this year.
During the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in China in October, State President Thuong had a meeting with PM Manet.
He transferred PM Chinh’s invitation for a visit to Vietnam to Manet and got the latter’s agreement.
During these meetings, the two sides agreed to boost high-level exchanges to deepen the two countries’ relations.
There is ample room for Vietnam and Cambodia to enhance their cooperation in economy and infrastructure, expert said.
The two countries’ bilateral trade reached a record of more than US$11 billion last year.
In the January-July period this year, the figure was $5.3 billion, with Vietnam earning $3 billion from exports to the neighboring country.
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