Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Madam Tran Nguyet Thu meet Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Madam Naraporn ChanoCha in Bangkok on Wednesday. (Photo: VNA)
Vietnam and Thailand on Wednesday agreed to strengthen their relations, signing five documents that will open a new, stronger chapter in the Strategic Partnership for peace, stability and mutual prosperity.
The statement was made during the official visit of Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc to Thailand, the first to the Southeast Asian country by a Vietnamese President in 24 years.
In a joint statement signed between the two countries in the Thai capital Bangkok on Wednesday, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and President Phuc expressed their determination to strengthen relations in all areas, including security, trade, investment, sustainable development and people-to-people relations, to reduce external factors impacting developing countries amid ongoing geopolitical challenges.
The two leaders welcomed continued growth in bilateral trade, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, and agreed they are now on track to achieve the bilateral trade target set at US$25 billion by 2025.
Both leaders agreed that the two countries simplify import-export procedures and facilitate cross-border trade and transit of goods to third countries while addressing investment obstacles and exploring new opportunities, especially in the digital economy and e-commerce.
Thailand is currently the eighth largest foreign investor in Vietnam, with a combined value of over US$13 billion as of 2021.
PM Prayut also welcomed the growing interest of Vietnamese investors in Thailand and expressed his hope to see more investment from the country in Thailand.
The two leaders also expressed their desire to further advance the Strengthened Strategic Partnership through the 'Three Connects' strategy in supply chains, grassroots economies and sustainable growth strategies.
Addressing regional issues
The two leaders said their countries would work closely to promote ASEAN's unity, centrality and efforts in addressing emerging issues.
They reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation in and above the South China Sea (known as East Sea in Vietnam). They recognised the benefits of having the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability, and prosperity.
They reiterated their commitment to and support for resolving all disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, following international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, with full respect for legal and diplomatic processes.
They underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety.
They were encouraged by the progress of the substantive negotiations towards the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) consistent with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, within a mutually agreed timeline.
Thailand is Vietnam's largest trading partner in ASEAN, with a turnover of $19 billion in 2021. The Southeast Asian nation ranks 9th out of 139 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with 670 projects totalling US$13 billion in investment.
Cooperation in defence, security, culture, education and people-to-people exchanges has also expanded. Currently, there are 100,000 Vietnamese citizens in Thailand.
On Wednesday, Vietnam and Thailand signed five documents, including a Plan of Action on Implementing the Thailand – Vietnam Strengthened Strategic Partnership 2022–2027; an Agreement on Mutual Judicial Assistance in Civil Matters between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and a Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of Sister City Relationship between and Khon Kaen Province and Da Nang City.
There was also a Bilateral Trade and Investment Facilitation Agreement between the Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Bank) and Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank).