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Positive outlook for Vietnam-Indonesia cooperation

December 21, 2020 | 08:04

Cooperation between Vietnam and Indonesia is expected to grow stronger in the future, with Indonesia currently the largest economy in the region and Vietnam posting the second fastest economic growth in Southeast Asia this year.

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A workshop reviews 65 years of Vietnam-Indonesia relations in Hanoi. Photo: KBRI Hanoi

Indonesia was the first country in Southeast Asia to officially diplomatic relations with Vietnam 65 years ago.

In 2013, the two sides upgraded their relationship to a strategic partnership. Currently, Vietnam is the only strategic partner of Indonesia in Southeast Asia. As such, the joint strategic partnership has become the catalyst for the cause of peace and prosperity in the region, according to VOV.

The bilateral relations are currently at their highest level thanks to the thriving strategic partnership. The two countries signed the Action Plan for the 2014-2018 period, which was later extended by the Action Plan for the 2019-2023 period. The document covers the different fields of co-operation, with diplomacy and politics considered the most prominent areas.

Vietnam and Indonesia share similar culture and history of struggling for national independence and self-reliance, whilst playing an important role in Southeast Asia and the region. The two countries’ relationship was built on a solid foundation laid by President Ho Chi Minh and President Soekarno.

Both nations are reliable strategic partners of each other, with the maintenance of regular meetings between their senior leaders, as well as close co-operation frameworks between ministries, sectors, and localities,” Vietnamese Ambassador to Indonesia Pham Vinh Quang was cited by VOV as saying.

With regard to economic co-operation, the initial five years of the Action Plan saw two-way trade increase by 60 percent from US$5.6 billion in 2014 to US$9.1 billion in 2019.

In line with the Action Plan for the 2019-2023 period, the two countries agreed to set a commercial target of US$10 billion by 2020. However, the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected this target.

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Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam Ibnu Hadi. Photo: VNA

Indonesian Ambassador to Vietnam Ibnu Hadi affirmed that this goal is achievable as the two countries have successfully overcome the pandemic and strived for economic recovery.

According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, total bilateral trade turnover reached a sum of US$5.73 billion over the first nine months of this year, a year-on-year decline of 12.35 percent.

Indonesia's export value to the country during the reviewed period hit US$3.76 billion, a drop of 7.12 percent from last year’s figure of US$4.04 billion. In addition, Indonesia's import value from the nation stood at US$1.97 billion, down by 20.84 percent to US$2.49 billion in 2019.

Furthermore, political and economic co-operation, and cultural, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges are among the most important pillars of the bilateral relationship. This is attributable to joint efforts to promote understanding among their citizens.

At present, the Vietnamese community in Indonesia counts approximately 300 people who are living in major cities such as Jakarta, Bandung, Bali, and Yogyakarta.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian community in the country stands at roughly 900, with most living in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. In general, those communities have made certain contributions to their host nations.

In addition, Vietnam’s national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and budget carrier VietJet Air have launched direct flights to Indonesia in an effort to help enhance the bilateral trade and co-operation.

In 2019, the number of Indonesian tourists to Vietnam increased by 21.3 percent to 108,000, whilst as many as 80,000 Vietnamese travelers visited Indonesia.

Ambassador Hadi stated, “There were four direct flights between the two countries over the past two and three years to bring people from both nations closer together via travel, education, visits, and trade exchange. Although flights were suspended during the COVID-19 period, the bilateral relationship was maintained across multiple fields like education, economics, and social affairs.”

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Photo: dreamstime.com

This year represents a remarkable period for the bilateral ties as the two countries are celebrating the 65th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, whilst there are plenty of opportunities to further their co-operation since both are non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Moreover, Vietnam has assumed the ASEAN Chairmanship 2020.

According to Ambassador Hadi, the COVID-19 pandemic has generated both challenges and opportunities for the bilateral cooperation. He said Vietnam represents a success story in the fight against COVID-19 and has led the ASEAN region in overcoming the crisis in its capacity as ASEAN Chair.

The development of the joint strategic partnership will therefore contribute to enhancing ASEAN's centrality, serving as a catalyst for solidarity and unity within the bloc, while helping to maintain peace and stability, and promote prosperity throughout the region and the world at large./.

At a recent workshop held by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and the Embassy of Indonesia, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung also stressed the similarities shared by the two countries as well as their time-honoured friendship.

Indonesian Deputy Foreign Minister Mahendra Siregar said apart from the close political ties, bilateral cooperation in other spheres has proven effective.

Indonesian Ambassador Ibnu Hadi said the establishment of the strategic partnership in 2013 has lifted the bilateral ties.

The delegates shared the view on the necessity to bolster the two nations' pragmatic cooperation in the context of the complex developments of the international situation, the COVID-19 pandemic and an array of security issues.

They suggested Vietnam and Indonesia optimise their cooperation potential as well as advantages of the fourth Industrial Revolution to bring the bilateral relations forward, according to VNA./.

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