This is the first official visit to Vietnam by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad since taking office in May 2018. The visit marks an important milestone in the history of developing the fine cooperation and friendship between Vietnam and Malaysia, demonstrating the desire of both countries' leaders to strengthen Vietnam-Malaysia relations.
Located in the Southeast Asia, Malaysia has a population of more than 32 million, of which 60.4% are Muslim. Malaysia's political situation a year after the 2018 general election is basically stable. The Government focuses on maintaining macroeconomic stability, concentrating on the implementation of a series of election commitments, such as repealing the goods and services tax and restoring subsidies for some items. In last May, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad officially announced a new economic model called "Shared Prosperity," with the goal of ensuring basic living standards for all Malaysians by 2030, irrespective of their economic, ethnic or geographical status. Regarding foreign affairs, Malaysia attaches importance to developing relations with major countries, with priority given to relations with ASEAN and the Muslim community.
Vietnam and Malaysia formally established diplomatic relations in 1973. Over the past 46 years, the traditional and multifaceted friendly relations between the two countries have been constantly strengthened and developed. The two sides regularly exchange delegations and conduct high-level contacts, contributing to strengthening good bilateral relations. The two countries issued a joint statement on the Vietnam-Malaysia strategic partnership framework on the occasion of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's official visit to Malaysia in August 2015, and they also adopted an action programme to implement the Vietnam-Malaysia strategic partnership in March 2017, opening new pages in the history of developing the Vietnam - Malaysia relations. In 2018, the two sides joined hands to organise a series of activities to mark the 45th anniversary of their diplomatic relationship.
In recent years, security and defence cooperation between the two has been continuously promoted. Bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation has developed rapidly and stably. Malaysia is currently the eighth largest trading partner of Vietnam, while Vietnam is Malaysia's 10th largest trading partner. Bilateral trade turnover has grown well, reaching more than US$10 billion in 2017 and US$11.5 billion in 2018. In terms of investment, Malaysia ranks eighth among countries and territories investing in Vietnam. As of April 2019, Malaysia has 586 investment projects in Vietnam with a total registered capital of US$12.4 billion.
Cooperation in the field of labour is a highlight of the bilateral ties. Thousands of Vietnamese legal workers are working and living in Malaysia. Cooperation in the fields of education and training, tourism, and oil and gas has achieved positive results. The Vietnamese community in Malaysia currently has about 65,000 people living in harmony with the local society and playing the role as an important bridge for bilateral relations. Vietnam and Malaysia have a tradition of good cooperation in regional and international forums, especially within the framework of ASEAN and the United Nations. The two countries are cooperating well in promoting the ASEAN Community.
The official visit to Vietnam this time by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad takes place in the context of the bilateral relations witnessing favourable development steps, with increasingly close and reliable political relations and enhanced cooperation in other various fields. Within the framework of his ongoing visit to Vietnam, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad focuses on discussing with Vietnamese leaders on measures to deepen the bilateral relations and exchanging cooperation directions with a focus on economy, trade, investment, labour, security - defence, and people-to-people exchange, as well as discussing regional and international issues of common concern.
The official visit to Vietnam by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is an important political event to strengthen and tighten the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Malaysia. Wishing Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s official visit to Vietnam great success in deepening the promising cooperation between the two countries, meeting the aspirations of the two peoples, and contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.