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Vietnam values traditional friendship with Belarus: Top legislator

Vietnam always attaches great importance to its traditional friendship and all-round cooperation with Belarus, said Chairwoman of the National Assembly (NA) Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan on December 12 (local time).

Holding talks with Chairman of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus Vladimir Andreichenko, the Vietnamese top legislator thanked Belarus for supporting Vietnam at the multilateral mechanisms like the United Nations (UN) and the non-aligned movement.

She took the occasion to congratulate Belarus on the country’s successful organisation of the 7th Convocation of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, and congratulate Vladimir Andreichenko for his re-election.

Vladimir Andreichenko, for his part, believed that NA Chairwoman Ngan’s official visit to his country will serve as a catalyst to further boost the traditional friendship and multi-faceted cooperation between the two parliaments and two countries as a whole.

Promoting cooperation with Vietnam is a top priority in Belarus’s foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region, he stressed, saying both sides hold huge cooperation potential as they share the same viewpoint in many international issues, and their economies share complementary natures.

Regarding economic cooperation, the Vietnamese top legislator said that two-way trade value is still modest, lagging behind the two countries’ potential and expectations. She recommended both sides to work together to take advantage of the free trade agreement between Vietnam and the Eurasian Economic Union.

The two leaders said that both sides should prioritise collaboration in the fields of Vietnam’s strengths and Belarus’s demands such as garments and textiles, wooden products, seafood, pharmaceuticals and computers, as well as Belarus’s strengths like fertiliser, machines, equipment, and automobile parts, among others.

Agreeing with NA Chairwoman Ngan’s suggestion to set up joint ventures between businesses of both sides, Vladimir Andreichenko said that Belarus will accelerate work to establish tea and coffee processing plants in Vietnam so that the products will suit the taste of Belarusian consumers.

Both sides have enjoyed effective cooperation in defence-security, they said, hoping they will continue long-term collaboration based on inked agreements, including the Vietnam – Belarus military technical cooperation for 2016-2020.

NA Chairwoman Ngan asked Belarus to further grant scholarships in IT, radio-electronics and automation for Vietnamese students, saying the Vietnamese sides stand ready to receive Belarusian military personnel who want to study Vietnamese language and join international courses at the Vietnam’s National Defence Academy.

She suggested both sides maintain personnel training courses, and exchange information about national security situation in each nation, including the fight against organised crimes, transnational crimes, high-tech crimes, and illegal immigration, among others.

At the talks, the two leaders spoke highly of the bilateral cooperation in culture, sports and tourism, voicing their endorsement for cultural exchange between the two nations through the organisation of Cultural Days in Vietnam and Belarus.

The number of Belarusian visitors to Vietnam has been on strong surge after Vietnam provided visa exemption to Belarusian citizens, NA Chairwoman Ngan said, wishing Belarus will create favourable conditions for Vietnamese nationals’ entry and exit.

She thanked the Belarusian Government, parliament and people for creating favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community to better integrate into the host nation, helping consolidate and develop cooperative ties and friendship between the two nations.

Touching on the East Sea issue, NA Chairwoman Ngan laid stress on Vietnam’s consistent stance to settle maritime disputes by peaceful measures and in line with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

She said she rejoiced at the sound cooperative ties between the Vietnamese NA and the Belarusian House of Representatives in the past time, recommending both sides maintain the exchange of high-level delegations, share experience in legislative work, and closely coordinate at multilateral forums like the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to discuss issues of mutual concern.

In its role as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) Chair in 2020, the Vietnamese NA will work to promote the partnership between AIPA and Belarusian legislative bodies, she highlighted.

She invited the Chairman of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Belarus to visit Vietnam and attend the AIPA-41 in Vietnam next year. She hoped that Belarusian businesses will also come to Vietnam on the occasion to seek investment opportunities in the Southeast Asian nation.

Meanwhile, Andreichenko said as there is huge room for both nations to develop economic and trade cooperation, the two parliaments should play a more proactive role to support the bilateral collaboration.

In a bid to increase the two-way trade value to 500 million USD per year, it is crucial to promote the implementation of initiatives within ASEAN and Eurasian Economic Union, he suggested.

He said he will attend the AIPA-41 in Vietnam, and will, together with a delegation of Belarusian businesses, seek investment opportunities in the nation.

He wished that Vietnamese enterprises will participate in the economic and trade forum scheduled in Belarus in May 2020, describing the forum as a good opportunity for businesses of both sides to study cooperative potentials.

Together with existing cooperative mechanisms, both parliaments should work on new initiatives to enhance cooperation, he said, competent committees of the two National Assemblies need to join efforts to step up cultural exchange between the two countries.

Besides, he stated that education cooperation is important to the Vietnam-Belarus relations, and Belarus is willing to support Vietnam to train experts in the fields of construction and mechanics.

He also stressed the necessity to promote cooperation at local level, hoping the draft plan on Hanoi – Minsk collaboration will be inked soon.