Malaysian Prime Minister’s visit to Vietnam set to boost ties

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and his spouse will pay an official visit to Vietnam from August 26 – 28. The visit will be made at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Malaysian Prime Minister’s visit to Vietnam set to boost ties

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Photo: VNA

Malaysian Prime Minister’s visit to Vietnam next week will strengthen the existing strategic partnerships between the two South-east Asian nations, said Vietnam’s Ambassador to Malaysia Le Quy Quynh.

Quynh said the visit would also put both countries’ target to achieve USD15 billion two-way trade by 2020 — as outlined under the Vietnam-Malaysia Action Plan (2017-2019) — on track.

“This is a very important visit. This visit can help develop the relations between the two countries. I believe that the target for USD15 billion will be achievable in 2020.

“In 2015, we upgraded our relations to strategic partnership and now we have very good relations in all areas from political to defence, security, trade and education,” he told Bernama at a reception here last night to mark the country’s 74th National Day, which will be observed on September 2.

The ambassador said both countries have enjoyed great relations since they established bilateral ties in 1973, but there are still various opportunities in trade and investments that can be explored by the businesses of both countries.

“In terms of investment, Vietnam can invest in agriculture and processing in Malaysia, while Malaysia can invest in real estate and electronic factories,” he said.

Currently, Vietnam’s main exports to Malaysia are rice, coffee and electronics, while Malaysia mainly exports oil and gas, and electronic products to Vietnam.

Quynh said Vietnam-Malaysia bilateral trade in 2018 was valued at USD13.5 billion, second behind Singapore among Asean countries, and sixth overall.

Meanwhile, Malaysia is the top investor in Vietnam among Asean countries, and eighth overall, with a value of about USD13 billion, he added.

According to Ambassador Dato Shariffah Norhana Syed Mustaffa, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to ASEAN, this visit will definitely be a milestone for Malaysia-Vietnam’s bilateral relationship.

This visit is special because Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir is returning to Vietnam once again as the Prime Minister of Malaysia after a 17-year gap. In the 22 years of his first premiership (1981-2003), he visited Vietnam in 1992, 1996 and two times in 1998, during Vietnam’s chairmanship of ASEAN, she pointed out.

This upcoming visit would reaffirm the strong relationship between Malaysia and Vietnam. It would also open up many opportunities to further strengthen already close relationship in areas such as trade, investment financial sector, defence and security, agriculture, education, labour, energy, culture, youth and sports, tourism and transportation.

During his first tenure as the Prime Minister, Malaysia referred to him as the “Father of Modernization”, as Malaysia experienced a period of rapid modernization and economic growth, which include modern infrastructure projects, she stressed, adding that Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir’s visit to Vietnam highlights the importance of Vietnam as a partner to Malaysia. Furthermore, Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir has always believed in the principle of “prosper thy neighbor”. He also introduced the “Look East Policy” in Malaysia, which focuses on the cooperation with and importance of neighbors in East Asia as compared to the West in nation-development.

The upcoming visit by the Prime Minister of Malaysia to Vietnam aims to elevate the two countries’ close ties. Last year, Malaysia and Vietnam celebrated the 45th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations. The visit will contribute towards maintaining the momentum of high-level visits between leaders of both countries. Earlier, the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia visited Vietnam in 2018, followed by the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia in May this year. During this visit, Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir will meet with leaders from Vietnam, and discuss ways to further enhance the Malaysia – Vietnam Strategic Partnership signed in August 2015.

Such discussion would encompass trade and investment, economic cooperation, culture, education, agriculture, innovation, science and technology, security and defence. In addition, both sides’ common interest in strengthening the rule-based multilateral system will lead both Prime ministers into the discussion on regional and international issues of mutual interest, especially since Vietnam will be the Chair of ASEAN in 2020 and one of the non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the 2020 – 2021 term, the diplomat highlighted./.


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