SA, Vietnam to do more to elevate relations

Sunday, March 17, 2019

South Africa and Vietnam have agreed that, while cordial relations remain between the two countries, more needs to be done to expand trade opportunities.

The fourth Meeting of the South Africa-Vietnam Intergovernmental Partnership Forum for Economic, Trade, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Co-operation discussed relations between the two countries on Friday.

Hosting her Vietnamese counterpart, Deputy Minister Quoc Cuong, South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule said there is a need to reach a more balanced trade relationship between the two nations.

She said the respective government officials have worked hard to concretise cooperation so that relations can continue to grow in strength and substance. 

Mhaule spoke of the need to address issues that could constitute as barriers to market access in the respective economies.

On conservation, the Deputy Minister highlighted the importance of bilateral cooperation in the field of conservation and wildlife protection.

Meanwhile, Cuong stressed the need to deepen bilateral cooperation in the areas of defence and security so as to elevate bilateral ties to a new height of mutual trust, as well as to further enhance other areas of cooperation.

He appreciated the positive developments in bilateral relations, particularly the exchange of 14 high-level visits since the third meeting in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi in 2015. He highlighted the then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit to his country in 2016 and the visit to South Africa by National Assembly Vice President Do Ba Ty in 2017.

The two sides provided each other with an overview of the political developments in their countries and respective regions. Both sides deeply appreciated the cooperation and mutual support between the two countries at multilateral fora, particularly at the United Nations (UN).

The Vietnamese delegation congratulated South Africa on being elected as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for the 2019-2020 tenure and expressed its belief that South Africa would successfully fulfil her mandate.

They also expressed sincere thanks to the South African government for supporting their candidacy to UNSC non-permanent seat for the 2020-2021 term of office.

Mhaule said the meeting gave an opportunity to review bilateral relations and also exchange views on a range of issues of mutual interest in the respective regions and continents and forged common ground in most areas.

South Africa formally established diplomatic relations with the Southeast Asian country in December 1993. –