They made the commitments during separate meetings with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat (AMM Retreat) that is currently underway in Singapore from February 4-6.
Meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart on February 5, Singaporean FM Vivian Balakrishnan said that the country would help Vietnam to develop a roadmap for transforming industries and improving its digital management and business capacity.
They agreed to work together to develop Vietnam’s capacity to ensure agricultural products’ safety and hygiene so that more products will be eligible to enter the Singaporean market, while promoting Singaporean investment in high technology, particularly in constructing information technology parks.
Regarding defence and security, the two ministers discussed joint operations of the two countries’ armed forces, such as joint anti-piracy patrols, search and rescue, and submarine repairs in line with the partnership in encountering terrorism and cyber security threats.
Deputy PM Minh reiterated Vietnam’s support for Singapore’s ASEAN chairmanship in 2018 and spoke highly of its focus on “resilience” and “innovation” as Chair of ASEAN this year. Both sides stressed the need to build a united and rules-based ASEAN in which all member states are obliged to promote the whole community’s common benefits.
They also agreed that ASEAN should encourage real negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).
Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh (R) meets with Malaysian FM Dato'Sri Anifah Aman on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in Singapore on February 5.
At the meeting with Malaysian FM Dato'Sri Anifah Aman the same day, the Vietnamese top diplomat proposed the organisation of activities to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of Vietnam-Malaysia diplomatic relations this year, including the promotion of bilateral consultations and the signing of agreements setting a legal basis for cooperation in specific areas.
Deputy PM Minh asked the two countries’ functional forces to expand information sharing and coordination on solving issues arising at sea, while soon reaching agreements on setting up a hotline, joint patrols and fisheries cooperation, as well as actively promoting negotiations on a delimitation of overlapping sea areas.
FM Anifah Aman committed to facilitate Vietnamese businesses in gaining a foothold in the Malaysian market, especially in the fields of food production and processing for Muslims. He said that Malaysia encourages cooperation between Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group and Malaysian companies in petroleum exploration and technical services, and is considering extending the reception of Vietnamese highly-skilled labourers to Malaysia.
Exchanging regional and international issues of mutual concern, the two ministers stressed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, and security in the East Sea, stating that ASEAN should closely coordinate with China to develop a quality and practical COC.