Vietnam, Ireland to forge cooperation in numerous spheres

Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son and Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defence Micheál Martin agreed on orientations and measures to strengthen the relations between the two countries in the time ahead, during their talks in Ireland on February 29.

At the talks, held as part of Son’s official visit to Ireland, Martin welcomed the visit, the first to Ireland by a Vietnamese foreign minister over the past 20 years, and congratulated the Southeast Asian nation on its socio-economic achievements.

Speaking highly of Vietnam’s position and role in the region and the world, the host said Ireland views the country as a leading partner in the Asia-Pacific, and that Irish people give special sentiments to Vietnam.

For his part, Son affirmed the importance Vietnam attaches to its relations with Ireland, and its wish to enhance political trust and deepen multi-faceted cooperation between the two countries, for sustainable development, and for peace, cooperation and development in the region and the world at large.

For measures to foster the bilateral collaboration in politics and diplomacy, the two ministers consented to step up delegation exchanges and contacts at all levels, especially the high one, raise the efficiency of legislative cooperation, effectively implement cooperation mechanisms, and intensify the close coordination and mutual support at multilateral forums like the United Nations and cooperation mechanisms between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the European Union (EU).

Martin said he hopes that Vietnam will soon open its embassy in Ireland to boost the bilateral ties.

For economic, trade and investment cooperation, a pillar of the bilateral relationship, the two sides concurred to maintain their close coordination and maximise the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

Son suggested Ireland encourage its businesses to invest in Vietnam in the areas which Ireland has strengths in and matches Vietnam’s socio-economic development orientations like digital transformation, energy transition, and high-tech agriculture.

The Irish side emphasised that Vietnam is a leading trade partner of Ireland, and ample room remains for the bilateral cooperation in this field.

Martin pledged that Ireland will consider Vietnam’s suggestion about the acceleration of the ratification of the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA).

Ireland will also propose the European Commission (EC) to soon remove its “yellow card” warning on Vietnamese seafood, he said, asking Vietnam to facilitate the import of high-quality farm produce and food from Ireland. 

Son hailed Ireland’s aid projects to Vietnam over the past time, and called on the country to continue its official development assistance (ODA), especially in human resources development, support for disadvantaged groups, and the settlement of bomb and mine consequences.

In national defence and security, the two countries will promote policy consultations and UN peacekeeping training for Vietnam, further exchange expertise, and work together to fight organised, cross-border and high-tech crimes.

The ministers also agreed on measures to boost cooperation in education-training, labour, tourism and people-to-people exchange, and exchanged views on cooperation opportunities in new, potential spheres like renewable energy, digital economy, and climate change.

They touched upon regional and international issues of shared concern, and expressed their support for multilateralism and rules-based international order, saying disputes should be settled by peaceful measures in accordance with the UN Charter.

Regarding the East Sea issue, they shared the stance on ensuring peace, stability, security, cooperation and development in the region, and handling disputes by peaceful measures on the basis of international law and the UN Charter, and the respect for the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

On this occasion, the officials signed an agreement to tighten cooperation between the two ministries in the time to come.

While in Ireland, Son met with Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann (speaker of the upper house) Jerry Buttimer, and Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann (speaker of the lower house) Seán Ó Fearghaíl.

The minister stressed that Vietnam wishes to forge its parliamentary ties with Ireland, thus contributing to advancing the relationship between the two countries in the coming time.

The hosts affirmed the importance they attach to the Vietnam-Ireland relationship, and commended Vietnam’s achievements in socio-economic development, poverty reduction and social welfare.

They also noted support for a cooperation agreement between the Irish parliament and the Vietnamese National Assembly.

The two sides held that substantial opportunities remain for the two countries to expand their relations, and agreed to increase all-level delegation exchanges, including those between committees and working groups of the legislatures, while beefing up cooperation at multilateral parliamentary forums like the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP).

Son also appealed to the Irish parliament to soon ratify the EVIPA and urge the EC to soon lift the “yellow card” warning on Vietnamese seafood.

Fearghaíl lauded contributions by the Vietnamese community to Ireland’s scio-economic development, and promised to help them further integrate into the host society.

The same day, Son had a meeting with Honorary Consul of Vietnam in Dublin Patrick Gerard McKillen, during which the minister expressed his belief that the Honorary Consul will serve as an important bridge of friendship between the two countries, especially in business-to-business connectivity, education and training.