The seventh political consultation between Vietnam and Thailand takes place in Hanoi on January 20 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam and Thailand held the seventh political consultation under the chair of Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung and Permanent Secretary of the Thai Foreign Ministry Busaya Mathelin in Hanoi on January 20.

The two sides shared the view that the friendship and enhanced strategic partnership between Vietnam and Thailand have attained strong and substantive strides.

In 2019, their high-level leaders continued to exchange visits, including an official trip to Thailand and the attendance in the 40th General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) there by National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan in August. They also frequently met each other at multilateral forums, especially on the sidelines of the ASEAN summits hosted by Thailand.

Cooperation mechanisms have continued proving effective, the officials said, noting that the countries successfully organised the third meeting of the joint committee on bilateral cooperation in January, the 11th meeting of the joint working group on political-security cooperation in August, and the third defence policy dialogue at the deputy ministerial level in September.

They described economic, trade and investment ties as an impressive highlight in bilateral relations. Thailand is currently the largest trade partner of Vietnam in ASEAN with bilateral trade reaching 17 billion USD in 2019. It is the ninth biggest investor in Vietnam with 558 projects worth nearly 11 billion USD.

Meanwhile, partnerships in other spheres like connectivity, tourism, science – technology, labour, culture and education have created encouraging outcomes. Notably, tourists between the two nations approximated 1.5 million last year, rising about 8 percent from 2018. Illegal fishing activities in each other’s waters were reduced considerably. Both sides are also promoting the renewal of a labourer recruitment agreement so that it can be implemented in 2020.

At the consultation, Vietnam and Thailand agreed to increase the exchange of all-level delegations; work together to prepare for the fourth joint cabinet meeting co-chaired by their prime ministers in 2020; keep stepping up cooperation in security, defence, economy, trade, investment, connectivity, transport, tourism and labour; and bolster links between the two foreign ministries on the basis of their 2015 cooperation deal.

Permanent Secretary Busaya Mathelin shared the view that the Asia-Pacific region, including Southeast Asia, is developing dynamically but also facing numerous challenges, requiring joint efforts to deal with.

She spoke highly of the success of the recent ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat hosted by Vietnam in Nha Trang city.

For his part, Deputy Minister Dung stressed in the current context, ASEAN needs to enhance solidarity, promote the realisation of the ASEAN Community, and assert its stature and central role in the regional architecture.

Besides, as members of the Mekong sub-region mechanisms, Vietnam and Thailand should increase coordination and sharing of experience with other member nations and relevant partners to substantively boost cooperation in the sub-region, he said.

He also congratulated Thailand on its successful chairmanship of ASEAN in 2019 and talked about Vietnam’s priorities and initiatives for the ASEAN chairmanship this year and non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021.

Dung also called on Thailand to support Vietnam to fulfill the roles and work closely in the common security issues of the region, including the East Sea issue and the use and management of the Mekong River’s water resources.

The eighth political consultation at the deputy foreign ministerial is set to take place in Thailand in 2021./.

VNA