Vietnam and Thai Cabinets sign joint statement
The Vietnamese and Thai Cabinets met on 23rd July at a Joint Cabinet Retreat and agreed to increase bilateral trade between the two countries from $25 billion to $20 billion by 2020.
The Government Relations Department of the Thai Government reports that Memorandum’s of Understanding were signed on Labour Cooperation, the Establishment of Friendship between Kon Tum Province, Viet Nam, and Ubon Ratchathani Province, Thailand and the Establishment of Friendship between Long An Province, Viet Nam, and Trat Province, Thailand. An Agreement on Employment of Workers was also signed.
Both sides issued a joint statement on “Embarking on the 5th Decade of Vietnam – Thailand Relations: Towards a Strengthened Strategic Partnership” which is reported on the Vietnam Net website as follows:
“1. With a view to strengthening the Strategic Partnership between Vietnam and Thailand at the dawn of the 5th decade of bilateral relations, H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, and H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam co-chaired the Third Vietnam – Thailand Joint Cabinet Retreat on July 23, 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand.
2. The Vietnamese delegation at the Third Joint Cabinet Retreat was led by H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The Thai delegation at the Third Joint Cabinet Retreat was led by H.E. General Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Prime Ministry of the Kingdom of Thailand.
3. In their opening remarks, H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand emphasized the importance of the Third Joint Cabinet Retreat in setting out the directions for the 5th decade of bilateral relations with the goal to further strengthen the Strategic Partnership for peace, prosperity, and stability between the two countries and in the ASEAN region.
4. H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand expressed great satisfaction with the progress of bilateral relations and cooperation since the Second Joint Cabinet Retreat in 2012. The two sides welcomed the regular exchanges of high-level visits, the effective implementation of the Plan of Action Implementing the Vietnam – Thailand Strategic Partnership (2014 – 2018), the strengthening of political and security cooperation, the continual expansion of trade and investment cooperation, as well as the deepening of cultural, social, and educational cooperation; which helped to bring about greater strategic benefits for both countries.
5. The two Prime Ministers agreed on measures to further strengthen the Strategic Partnership between the two countries as follows:
Political, Defense and Security Cooperation
5.1 Both sides agreed that the two countries had been enjoying closer and deeper cooperation in these areas, which helped to enhance the strategic trust between the two countries; and at the same time welcomed the following progress:
a. The successful outcomes of bilateral cooperation mechanisms such as the Second Meeting of the Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation between Vietnam and Thailand, the First Foreign Ministers’ Retreat, the Seventh Joint Working Group on Political and Security Cooperation, and the First Consular Consultative Meeting. These mechanisms helped to enhance mutual trust and understanding in the spirit of the Strategic Partnership between the two countries;
b. The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, and the Memorandum of Understanding on Justice and Legal Affairs Cooperation between the Ministries of Justice;
c. The successful outcomes of bilateral defence cooperation in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation between the Ministry of National Defense of Vietnam and the Ministry of Defence of Thailand; in dialogues and consultations between the two Ministries of Defense and their services and arms; the initiative to set up the Vietnam – Thailand Joint Committee on Security between the Ministry of National Defense of Vietnam and the Ministry of Defence of Thailand; and
d. The initiatives to launch new cooperation such as the setting up of Joint Working Group to Cooperate in Addressing Illegal Fishing, and the commencement of negotiations on Extradition Treaty.
5.2 On the basis of these achievements and with the determination to constantly expand and further deepen the pillar of cooperation in politics, security and defense under the Vietnam-Thailand Strengthened Strategic Partnership, the two sides discussed and agreed on the major guidelines as follows:
a. Both sides agreed to set up as soon as possible the Vietnam-Thailand Joint Committee on Security between the Ministry of National Defense of Vietnam and the Ministry of Defence of Thailand and put it into operation;
b. Both sides agreed to intensify efforts, cooperation and coordination at all levels to stop transnational crimes, in particular antinarcotic drug trafficking, illegal migration and trafficking in persons, arms smuggling, terrorism, money laundering, international economic crime and cybercrime, and environmental and wildlife crime;
c. Both sides welcomed the possibility in organizing an annual security dialogue between the Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam and the Royal Thai Police;
d. Both sides agreed to promote the prevention of the human trafficking crimes, and facilitate the return and reintegration of victims of human trafficking in accordance with the Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) for the Identification and Return of Victims of Human Trafficking between Vietnam and Thailand;
e. Both sides reaffirmed their commitments not to allow any individual or organization to use the territory of one country to conduct activities against the other; and
f. Both sides agreed to organize all year round activities in Vietnam and Thailand in 2016 to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Vietnam – Thailand diplomatic relations; as well as to strengthen the Strategic Partnership between the two countries; including the exchange of high -level visits, the exchange of cultural activities, and the organization of seminars to promote trade and investment.
5.3 The two sides highly appreciated the vibrant development of bilateral cooperation in this area, reflecting the higher level of economic connectivity between the two countries in the context of the formation of ASEAN Economic Community by the end of 2015. In that spirit, both sides welcomed the results of the Second Meeting of the Joint Trade Committee, the adoption of the Plan of Action on Trade and Investment Cooperation between Vietnam and Thailand (2015-2020), the Third Vice Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC), and Thailand’s ratification of Annexes 6, 8, and 14 of the CBTA on March 30, 2015 which put into effect the Addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding between and among Lao PDR, Vietnam and Thailand on the Initial Implementation of the Agreement between and among the six GMS countries for the Facilitation of Cross-Border Transport of Goods and People (IICBTA) at Lao Bao – Dansavanh and Savannakhet – Mukdahan (Route No. 9) signed in February 2013, extending the EWEC to Vientiane, Bangkok, Hanoi, Laem Chabang Port and Haiphong Port. The extension would help enhance the EWEC’s economic potential and promote socioeconomic activities.
5.4 Thailand welcomed Vietnam’s consideration to participate in the International Tripartite Rubber Council.
5.5 In order to unceasingly promote the economic connectivity between the two countries in the spirit of the Strengthened Strategic Partnership, both sides agreed to encourage further expansion of trade and investment as follows:
a. Set a new target for bilateral trade value from 15 billion USD to 20 billion USD by 2020;
b. Set up an informal consultation mechanism to facilitate and promote investments including investment protection in each country to serve as an initial forum for business consultations as well as negotiations in case of business disputes;
c. Explore the use of Vietnamese dong and Thai baht on trade and investment transactions;
d. Facilitate the on-going process of the opening of Thai commercial bank branches in Vietnam and encourage the future opening of Vietnamese commercial bank branches in Thailand;
e. Accelerate the preparation of key investment projects of Thai businesses in Vietnam (including Nhon Hoi oil refinery and petrochemical complex project of PTT in Binh Dinh, thermal power plant of EGAT International Co. Ltd. in Quang Tri, petrochemical-plant of SCG in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, high-tech urban township project of Amata Group in Quang Ninh), which would help to elevate Thailand to be among the group of leading investing countries in Vietnam and promote the strategic importance of investment cooperation in the relations between Vietnam and Thailand;
f. Encourage the expansion of Thai investment in potential industrial sectors in Vietnam such as garments and textiles, chemical manufacture, petrochemical, household products manufacture, supporting industries (electronics and automotive components), agricultural and food processing, bio-energy, and tourism; and
g. Facilitate cooperation on capital market development, encourage Vietnamese enterprises to consider the Thai capital market as an option to raise capitals.
5.6 On agricultural cooperation, both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in the following areas:
a. Explore ways and means to collaborate in post-harvest technology, improving quality, and creating value-added to agricultural products, including rice and rubber;
b. Standard and quality of fresh fruits such as mango, rambutan, lychee, longan, and dragon fruit;
c. Sharing of knowledge and experiences in fishery resources conservation and management, and sustainable aquaculture development;
d. Cooperation on Food Quality and Safety Control of Fish and Fishery Products; and
e. Welcome the successful outcome of the Fifth Joint Working Group Meeting (JWG) on Agricultural Cooperation under the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives of the Kingdom of Thailand on Agricultural Cooperation.
5.7 With the determination to enhance connectivity in order to promote relating strategic cooperation areas between the two countries, both sides agreed to intensify cooperation in multi-modal transportation linkages, including land, sea, and air, between the two countries and within the sub region as follows:
a. Convene a trilateral meeting and urge all parties involved to expedite the negotiations and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Scheduled Bus Service connecting Thailand – Lao PDR – Vietnam;
b. Convene the first meeting of the trilateral joint working group between Thailand – Cambodia – Vietnam on the coastal shipping development, in Thailand in 2015; and
c. Increase flight frequencies and encourage more direct flights in new destinations in Vietnam and Thailand, including by the Thai VietJet Air.
Social, Cultural, Educational, and Labour Cooperation
5.8 The two sides expressed satisfaction that cooperation in these areas had been unceasingly broadened and diversified, which helped to promote mutual understanding and foster the traditional relations of friendship between the two countries. In order to enhance the role of the these cooperation areas within the frameworks of the Vietnam-Thailand Strengthened Strategic Partnership, both sides discussed ways and means to deepen social, cultural, and educational cooperation as follows:
a. Expedite the implementation of the Cultural Exchange Program in the period 2014 – 2016 between the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Ministry of Culture of the Kingdom of Thailand;
b. Fully support the roles and activities of the Vietnam – Thailand and the Thailand – Vietnam Friendship Associations in order to unceasingly promote the exchanges between the two peoples and foster a comprehensive and profound Vietnam-Thailand Strategic Partnership;
c. Support the activities of the Thai Center at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City, support and continue teaching the Thai language at the University of Foreign Language Studies, University of Da Nang, and the development of Thai language departments/Thai centers in Vietnam, and the Vietnamese language departments/Vietnam centers in Thailand, particularly the Vietnamese Culture and Language Center at the Pathumthep Witthayakarn School in Nong Khai Province and the Nakhon Phanom – Hanoi Friendship Center as exemplary models, in order to promote the study of the Vietnamese language and culture in Thailand;
d. Convene the 7th Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation in 2016, and urge the conclusion of the new Agreement between the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand on Cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation in 2016, in order to raise the effectiveness of bilateral cooperation in other relating areas in the spirit of the Strategic Partnership;
e. Welcome the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Labour Cooperation and the Agreement on Employment of Workers between the two countries. The two sides shall implement the MOU and the Agreement in order to bring labour cooperation into a desired framework and elevate it to a new height, to better satisfy the demand and interests of the two sides;
f. Welcome the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of Friendship between Kon Tum province and Ubon Ratchathani province, and between Long An province and Trat province;
g. Further promote sustainable and inclusive development in tourism, both at the bilateral and regional levels, for mutual benefits and pave the way for a long and lasting partnership between the two countries and the sustainable development of tourism industry in the region;
h. Expedite the conclusion of the Plan of Tourism Cooperation for the period 2015 – 2016 between the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, with an aim to exchange tourism officials and information, promote tourism and marketing, and facilitate travel, as well as enhance connectivity;
i. Continue to enhance cooperation and mutual support at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Thailand supports Vietnam’s membership of the Executive Board of UNESCO for the period 2015-2019; and
j. Thailand appreciates Vietnam’s support on the amendment of the draft decision on Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex during the 39th World Heritage Committee (WHC) meeting in Bonn, Germany. Vietnam, as a member of World Heritage Committee, agreed to support Thailand for the preparation of both Phuphrabat Historical Park and Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex inscribed as World Heritage Sites at the next WHC session in Istanbul, Turkey in July 2016.
The two sides highly appreciated the excellent cooperative relations between the two countries in regional and international fora, especially in major issues of strategic importance to the region. With the desire to bring such relations to a new height in accordance with the spirit of the Strengthened Strategic Partnership, the two sides discussed and agreed as follows:
5.9 Both sides agreed to continue to support the realization of goals under the ASEAN Community through regional cooperation under the ACMECS, particularly in the areas of environment and human resources development;
5.10 Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation and coordination at various Mekong sub regional frameworks, including Mekong-Japan Cooperation; Mekong-Republic of Korea Cooperation, Mekong – Ganga Cooperation, Lower Mekong Initiative, Mekong River Commission’ as well as Greater Mekong Sub region;
5.11 Both sides agreed that the two countries would cooperate closely with each other and with other ASEAN countries to accelerate the realization of the ASEAN Community by the end of 2015 and beyond, and to maintain the leading role and centrality of ASEAN on regional strategic issues;
5.12 Thailand expressed its appreciation for Vietnam’s outstanding coordinatorship of the ASEAN-EU Relations over the past three years. As the incoming Coordinator, Thailand looked forward to working closely with Vietnam and other ASEAN Member States to further strengthen ASEAN-EU relations for mutual benefit; and
5.13 Both sides reaffirmed the position contained in the Chairman’s Statement of the 26th ASEAN Summit. Both sides shared concerns on the situation in the South China Sea/East Sea, which has affected trust and confidence and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region and reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability as well as safety and freedom of navigation in and over – flight above the South China Sea/East Sea. Both sides emphasized the need for all parties to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of parties in the South China Sea/East Sea (DOC) in its entirety: to build, maintain and enhance mutual trust and confidence; exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities; not resort to threat or use of force; and to resolve their differences and disputes through peaceful means, in accordance with international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea, and urged that dialogues and consultations be intensified to ensure the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea/East Sea (COC).
6. The two sides welcomed the successful conclusion of the Third Vietnam – Thailand Joint Cabinet Retreat. Both sides agreed to maintain the dynamism in their Strategic Partnership as Vietnam – Thailand advance towards the 5th decade of bilateral ties. H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, expressed his sincere thanks to H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, to the Government and the people of Thailand for the warm hospitality and friendship accorded to the Vietnamese Delegation.”