Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton signed the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between Vietnam and the EU at the EU headquarters in Brussels on June 27.
EU Council President Van Rompuy welcomes Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh
The signing of the PCA is described as an important development, taking the bilateral relationship to a new stage with wider and deeper cooperation on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and in line with the two sides’ priorities on socio-economic development and external affairs.
The PCA will open up opportunities for cooperation between Vietnam and the EU in areas such as science and technology, education and training, agro-forestry and fisheries, natural disaster prevention and mitigation.
It also shows both sides’ determination to further enhance cooperation in addressing global issues such as non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, fighting terrorism and organised crimes and climate change.
The same day, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton held talks as part of Minister Minh’s official visit to the EU.
Minister Minh expressed his pleasure to visit the EU and sign the PCA. He said that the visit shows Vietnam ’s determination to develop the partnership and comprehensive cooperation with the EU.
Ashton hailed the first visit to the EU by Minister Minh, saying that this will contribute to strengthening and developing friendship and cooperation between the two sides.
She affirmed that the EU attaches importance to Vietnam ’s increasing role in the region and the world and wishes to enhance bilateral cooperation and cooperation at regional and international forums.
Both sides said the official signing of the PCA and the launching of negotiations on a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU are two important events, creating a driving force to deepen bilateral cooperation in all areas in the years to come.
In this spirit, they agreed to take measures to boost bilateral cooperation such as exchanges of contacts and delegations, promoting trade and investment, exchange of experience and strategic dialogues on economics.
On cooperation between the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry and the European External Action Service (EEAS), they spoke highly of the first political consultancy meetings at deputy foreign minister level between the two sides last February in Hanoi .
They affirmed the importance of the dialogue mechanism in the democracy and human right field, saying that this is an effective mechanism to share information, increase mutual understanding and promote the Vietnam-EU ties as well as cooperation between the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry and the EEAS.
Both sides agreed to boost bilateral cooperation at international forums and organisations, especially within the ASEAN-EU cooperation framework, ASEM forum and at the UN.
Regarding the East Sea issue, the EU official affirmed the EU’s stance in solving disputes in the East Sea through peaceful measures based on the respect for international laws, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to ensure free and safe maritime navigation and security in the region.
The EU supports concerned parties to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and work toward building of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea.
Earlier, Minister Minh met with President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, expressing his wish to welcome the President to visit Vietnam at the invitation of President Truong Tan Sang.
He said the first official visit to Vietnam by President Herman Van Rompuy will contribute to furthering the relations between Vietnam and EU and showing the EU’s strong commitment to the region.
President Herman Van Rompuy affirmed that EU attaches importance to Vietnam’s role and the EU’s commitment to maintaining its official development assistance (ODA) to the Southeast Asian nation for the period after 2013.
He said he will pay an official visit to Vietnam on the occasion of attending the 9th ASEM Summit in Laos in November.
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