(VOV) – Vietnam and Thailand discussed a wide range of cooperation areas during their first Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation, which ended in Bangkok on Tuesday. The discussions featured links across politics, defense-security, economics, trade, investment, education, people-to-people exchanges, and regional and international cooperation. Both sides declared special attention to developing the strategic partnership that was established in June, agreeing that all-level visits and people-to-people exchanges will be facilitated in order to strengthen friendship, mutual understanding, and trust. Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul approved the 2014-2018 Vietnam-Thailand action plan which is expected to be signed at the third meeting of the Joint Vietnam-Thailand Cabinet Retreat in the near future. They vowed to work closely with relevant agencies to fulfill the goals of the plan as scheduled. They also agreed on measures to lift two-way trade to 15 billion USD by 2020.
Regarding East Sea issues, both sides agreed to close cooperation for regional peace, stability and security, including maritime security, safety and freedom in the East Sea. They reiterated that disputes must be settled by peaceful means in line with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC). Both leaders committed to working together to formulate a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) soon. A follow-up meeting is scheduled for next year.
Meeting with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra earlier the same day, Minh thanked the Thai Government and people for helping the Vietnamese community integrate into their host country. Ms. Yingluck acknowledged the significance of the meeting, calling it an important mechanism to bolster the bilateral strategic partnership. She expressed her hope that both nations will make it easier for their people to travel and trade goods, and said Thailand will contribute its efforts to peace, stability, and maritime freedom in the East Sea while suggesting more meetings between ASEAN nations to finalize the COC soon.