At the end of 2022, Anwar Ibrahim took office as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia, with a commitment to promote national unity, mobilise all resources for socio-economic development, and turn Malaysia into a prosperous country. Malaysia's economy has maintained a positive recovery momentum, with GDP growing by 8.7% in 2022, the highest rate in the past 22 years. Malaysia has pursued a traditional foreign policy, prioritising relations with ASEAN countries and the Muslim community and balancing relations with major countries.
The relationship between Vietnam and Malaysia has continued to develop well based on the Vietnam-Malaysia Strategic Partnership, established in August 2015. The two countries have regularly made high-level exchanges and contacts and maintained effective bilateral cooperation mechanisms. The two sides have been actively implementing the Action Programme to implement the Vietnam-Malaysia Strategic Partnership for the 2021-2025 period.
Economic cooperation between the two countries has developed positively. Malaysia is Vietnam's ninth-largest trading partner in the world and Vietnam's second-largest trading partner in ASEAN. In 2022, two-way trade turnover reached 14.8 billion USD, up 17.9% compared to the previous year. Malaysia is one of the 10 countries with the largest investment in Vietnam, with 718 valid projects and total registered capital of 13 billion USD. Malaysia ranks ninth out of 80 countries and territories where Vietnam has conducted investment. Vietnam has 24 investment projects in Malaysia, with a total registered capital of nearly 860 million USD.
The cooperation in defence and security has been strengthened through the exchange of delegations, training, and exchange of information, related to the prevention of terrorism, cybercrime, and transnational crime. Cooperation in the fields of education and training, tourism, and people-to-people exchange has been vibrant again after the COVID-19 pandemic. The two countries have been actively carrying out the Memorandum of Understanding on recruitment, employment and labour repatriation, which was signed in March 2022.
Together as active members with important voices in ASEAN, Vietnam and Malaysia have been closely coordinating with each other in their views and stances, at regional and international forums, such as the United Nations, ASEAN and APEC, as well as in regional and international issues of mutual concern.
Taking place on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, the official visit to Vietnam by Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is the first official visit made not long after he took office. This shows that Malaysia always attaches great importance to Vietnam and wishes to further strengthen the Vietnam-Malaysia Strategic Partnership.
Welcoming the Malaysian Prime Minister, Vietnam proves its importance and desire to strengthen and deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries, as well as affirms Vietnam's consistent policy of prioritising the development of relations with neighbouring countries and ASEAN. This important foreign affairs activity is a step in implementing the foreign policy line of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development, and diversification and multilateralisation of foreign relations towards deepening the relations, which was determined at the 13th National Party Congress.
During the visit, the leaders of the two countries will discuss measures to further strengthen the two countries' relations, and promote multi-faceted and effective cooperation, especially in the fields of politics, diplomacy, defence-security, economics, investment, labour, education, technology, tourism, and people-to-people exchange.
The two sides also continue to enhance their coordination on regional and international issues of common concern and stance, including the East Sea/South China Sea issue, as well as promoting cooperation at multilateral organisations and forums and the free trade agreements that the two countries participate in, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Marking an important milestone in the bilateral relationship, the official visit to Vietnam by Malaysian PM Anwar Ibrahim will strengthen political trust, promoting multi-faceted cooperation between Vietnam and Malaysia, while developing the Vietnam-Malaysia strategic partnership more substantively and effectively.