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|Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong at the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, June 2019. MCI Photo by Fyrol|
According to Vietnam News Agency, PM Phuc on May 29 discussed on the phone with his Singaporean counterpart bilateral and regional cooperation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
PM Phuc appreciated the efforts and comprehensive measures undertaken by the Singaporean Government to contain the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak and mitigate its socio-economic impacts, noting his belief that Singapore will soon be able to put the epidemic under control.
He shared Vietnam’s experience in the transition to a new “normal” when the country promotes economic development while continuing with epidemic prevention and control measures.
The Vietnamese Government leader underlined the importance of regional and international cooperation in the current context, and spoke highly of Vietnam and Singapore’s mutual support in medical supplies as well as coordination in repatriating their citizens.
He thanked Singapore and PM Lee Hsien Loong himself for contributing to the success of the Special ASEAN Summit and Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19 Response via video conference on April 14 this year.
For his part, PM Lee Hsien Loong congratulated PM Phuc on Vietnam’s decisive handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and thanked Vietnam for the generous donations of face masks and test kits to Singapore, which he said manifested the friendship and trustful partnership between the two countries.
He appreciated the role and initiatives of Vietnam as the Chair of ASEAN in 2020, which aimed at promoting intra-bloc cooperation as well as collaboration between ASEAN and its important partners in coping with and mitigating the impacts of the pandemic.
The two PMs agreed to make joint efforts to keep the impetus of the Vietnam-Singapore strategic partnership through maintaining high-level meetings and exchanges along with bilateral cooperation mechanisms, further strengthening linkages between the two economies and ensuring sustainable supply chains.
PM Phuc affirmed that Vietnam attaches importance to cooperation on food security and welcomed talks between ministries and agencies of the two countries for the early signing of a bilateral agreement on rice trade, under which Singapore will import Vietnamese rice in a stable and long-term manner.
The two PMs reached consensus on holding discussions on the early resumption of flights towards gradually reopening borders for essential travel safely between the two countries, thus creating a boost for bilateral ties in trade-investment, tourism and people-to-people exchanges in the post-pandemic period.
The Singaporean PM suggested establishing a “green lane” mechanism to facilitate travel serving essential purposes.
The two Government leaders agreed to continue coordinating and supporting each other at multilateral forums.
PM Lee affirmed that he will continue to work closely with and strongly support Vietnam so that the country successfully performs its roles as Chair of ASEAN in 2020 and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2020-2021.
PM Phuc said he values Singapore’s contributions to coordinating the ASEAN-EU relations in the 2018-2021 tenure.
The two also emphasized the importance of maintaining peace, stability, freedom and security of navigation and overflight in the East Sea. They vowed to make joint efforts to maintain solidarity and the common stance of the ASEAN, and push forward negotiations on a substantive Code of Conduct on the East Sea that is in accordance with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).
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