Lifting Vietnam - Myanmar’s friendship and multifaceted cooperation to a new height
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong begins a three-day state visit to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar today at the invitation of Myanmar’s President Htin Kyaw with the aim to deepen the two countries’ cooperation in trade and economics.
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (Photo: VNA)
The visit to Myanmar by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong is considered a milestone in the relationship between the two countries. This is also the first visit made by the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam to Myanmar after 20 years since General Secretary Do Muoi’s visit in 1997. This visit to Myanmar by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong aims to create a momentum to lift the friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and Myanmar to a new height.
Over the past years, the Government and people of Myanmar have gained important achievements in politics, economics, and external relations. Notably, the country’s political and economic reform has entered a new stage of development. In the general election in November 2015, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won an absolute victory to become the ruling party, replacing the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Since the new government headed by President Htin Kyaw was formed in April, 2016, Myanmar has achieved encouraging results in promoting national reconciliation, national development and international integration. Economically, Myanmar has made breakthrough reforms to facilitate investment and trade. Measures enacted to promote economic growth over the past years have brought positive results. Myanmar maintained a GDP growth of more than 7% per year from 2012 to 2015 and is expected to achieve a growth rate of about 8% during the 2016-2017 period.
As a member of ASEAN, the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations, Myanmar has firmly pursued its foreign policy of independence and activeness. It has established friendly political relations with countries around the world, especially with neighbouring countries and ASEAN countries in the principle of respect towards independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, and non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit. The new government in Myanmar has also stepped up its relations with the UN, the US and the EU, and at the same time promoted relations with major countries. In October, 2016, the US formally announced the lifting of US sanctions, which had been imposed on Myanmar for almost two decades. This was considered a historic step in the process of improving relations between the two countries. Many countries and international organisations hailed the first steps in the positive change process in the country of Golden Temple.
Vietnam and Myanmar share a lot of similarities in history and culture and soon established diplomatic ties. The two countries carried out many activities to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2015; maintained exchanges of high-level visits; attached importance to promoting bilateral economic, trade and investment relations, with priority given to areas where they can complement each other’s strengths. Currently, Vietnam is the ninth largest trading partner and the seventh largest investor in Myanmar. In 2016, two-way trade reached more than US$548 million, of which Vietnam’s export revenue to Myanmar reached US$462 million, up 22.2% compared to 2015. There are currently 59 investment projects from Vietnam in Myanmar. The two countries have set up a Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation and annual political consultation between the two foreign ministries. The two sides regularly exchange specific measures to promote cooperation in areas such as agriculture, banking and finance, telecommunications, transport, oil and gas, construction material production, and tourism as well as exchange measures to promote bilateral cooperation, especially the implementation of the signed high-level agreements.
Vietnam and Myanmar also cooperate closely at international forums such as the UN, ASEAN and GMS regional cooperation mechanisms; East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC); the Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam (CLMV) Summit and the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy Summit (ACMECS). The two countries shared perspectives as well as support for each other in international and regional forums. During the State visit to Myanmar made by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, senior leaders of the two countries will discuss guidelines and major directions in order to create momentum to promote the time-honoured friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and Myanmar as well as strengthen political trust and relations between the Communist Party of Vietnam and the National League for Democracy and other important political forces in Myanmar. Also on this occasion, the two sides will set up a more specific framework for cooperation in order to promote multifaceted relations between the two countries, especially in trade, investment and defense.
May Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar be a success, creating a breakthrough in order to lift the friendship and multi-faceted cooperation between Vietnam and Myanmar to a new height, meeting the interests of each country, contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and development in Southeast Asia and around the world./.