New Zealand Highly Values Vietnam's Role and Position, Says Ambassador

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand Winston Peters has paid working visits to four Asian nations from June 5 to June 12, with Vietnam serving as his first destination. This illustrates the country's commitment to improving relations with Vietnam, according to the Vietnamese diplomat.
June 09, 2024 | 17:19
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Winston Peters, the leader of the New Zealand First, is paying his first trip to Southeast Asia since being Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of New Zealand's three-party coalition government. On this occasion, VNA reporters in Oceania interviewed the Vietnamese Ambassador to New Zealand Nguyen Van Trung regarding bilateral relations.

Vietnamese Ambassador to New Zealand Nguyen Van Trung (Photo: VNA)
Vietnamese Ambassador to New Zealand Nguyen Van Trung (Photo: VNA)

Could you explain the context, meaning, and significance of New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters' visit to Vietnam?

I believe the visit demonstrates New Zealand's new foreign policy focus, with Southeast Asia ranking as the third major partner group, after Australia and the South Pacific island countries. Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have stated this publicly on numerous occasions in policy statements.

The visit to Vietnam of Foreign Minister Winston Peters took place just over two months after Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's official visit to New Zealand, demonstrates New Zealand's appreciation for Vietnam's role and position in the region which can bring new growth momentum to the New Zealand economy through cooperation.

Furthermore, the visit provides an opportunity for the two nations' Foreign Ministries to discuss strategies to put high-level agreements into action through the periodic Foreign Ministers' Conference mechanism. The two sides will discuss measures to successfully implement the Action Plan for the 2021-2024 period, and identify priorities and new directions for the Plan for the following period, with a key milestone being the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2025.

Could you inform us about the plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2025?

The year 2025 marks a significant milestone in Vietnam and New Zealand's friendship and cooperation, celebrating 50 years of diplomatic ties (June 19, 1975 - June 19, 2025) and five years of strategic partnerships. These are also five fundamental premises, setting the foundation for the next phases of development of the two countries' relationship in the context of various global and regional movements and changes, forcing all governments to change their goals to assure security and development.

The second Vietnam-New Zealand Foreign Ministers' Meeting will allow both sides to consider in greater detail the activities that will be implemented jointly to mark this significant milestone. Activities will aim to strengthen strategic and political trust; stabilize traditional areas of cooperation such as education, human resource training, and high-tech agriculture; strengthen and expand economic, trade, security, and defense cooperation; and increase activities promoting national culture, arts, and people-to-people exchange.

There are currently about 15,000 Vietnamese citizens, workers, and students in New Zealand, who serve as an essential resource for fostering friendship and a bridge for cooperation between the two countries' peoples. In 2025, Vietnamese associations will also continue to organize a variety of activities to honor national identity and culture, strengthen solidarity and unity, contribute to the community's position, and guide the community toward recognition as an ethnic minority in New Zealand.

With a modest scale in terms of population and resources, I believe that both sides aim for practical, meaningful activities, which are suitable to the circumstances of each country in the current context.

Could you tell us what route the two countries' relations will take in the near future? What do you think of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's direction for "accelerating and breaking through" relations between the two countries during his March 2024 visit to New Zealand?

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the ties between Vietnam and New Zealand have developed stablely. Following that, the two sides experienced a fast breakthrough period. "Acceleration and breakthrough," as directed by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh during his official visit to New Zealand in March 2024, are the exact phrases that orient the strategy for developing relations between the two countries now and in the future.

Based on the strength, potential, and development demand of both sides, and the spirit of strategic cooperation with high political trust, I believe that it is necessary to make acceleration and breakthroughs in traditional cooperation areas such as trade or education - training, and high-tech transfer in agriculture.

Breakthroughs are urgently needed in areas of cooperation that will create new development drivers for the two countries, such as green economy, digital economy, environmentally friendly technology transfer, and emission reduction, especially in agriculture, energy transformation, and digital transformation.

Labor cooperation and vocational training should also be facilitated as New Zealand has strengths in training but needs human resources in many areas of the economy.

In addition, Marine economy, research, and preservation of the marine and ocean environment are potential areas of cooperation, and long-term strategies, owing to the geographical similarities between Vietnam as a coastal country and New Zealand as an island nation with extensive experience in policy and technology in seas and oceans.

The effective implementation of the new cooperation directions mentioned above will lay the groundwork for boosting relations between the two countries to a new level, as desired by the two countries' Prime Ministers during the official talks on the occasion of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's recent visit to New Zealand.

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