Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan on May 13 held talks with Chairman of the National Council (Upper House) of Bhutan Tashi Dorji, who is in Vietnam for an official visit and to attend the 16th UN Day of Vesak.
|Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan on May 13 held talks with Chairman of the National Council (Upper House) of Bhutan Tashi Dorji, who is in Vietnam for an official visit and to attend the 16th UN Day of Vesak__Photo: VNA|
This is the first official visit to Vietnam by a high-ranking Bhutan leader since the two countries set up diplomatic ties in 2012, Ngan said.
The Vietnamese top legislator expressed her belief that the visit will help enhance the friendship between the two states and their peoples.
For his part, Dorji congratulated Ngan for being Vietnam’s first female NA leader and expressed his good impressions of Vietnamese land and people.
He lauded Vietnam’s organization of the 16th UN Day of Vesak 2019 which is taking place at Tam Chuc Buddhism Cultural Centre in Kim Bang District of northern Ha Nam Province from May 12-14.
NA Chairwoman Ngan briefed her guest on Vietnam’s socio-political-economic situation, saying the country’s economy grew 7.08 per cent last year, the highest pace since 2008.
Last year, the number of foreign tourists to the country hit a record high of 15.5 million. Besides, Vietnam has become a destination of foreign investors, with 26,000 projects valued at USD 334 billion from 126 countries and territories worldwide.
In trade, Vietnam ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific, signed and implemented 12 free trade agreements (FTAs) and is negotiating four others.
The Vietnamese NA leader congratulated Bhutan for the achievements the country has gained, including having the highest Gross Happiness Index in the world.
At the talks, the two leaders agreed that since the two countries set up relations in 2012, bilateral cooperation has been growing but is yet to match potential.
Dorji said that Vietnam and Bhutan share many similarities in culture and religion, especially Buddhist values and a love for peace. Therefore, the two sides can share experience in national development and expand partnership in various areas.
Amidst modest bilateral trade, the two countries should foster collaboration through chartered flights, encouraging localities to strengthen their connections, while fostering affiliations between the two national tourism agencies, he stated.
Alongside, Bhutan should give more favorable conditions for Vietnamese firms to seek business opportunities in the country, especially in areas of Bhutan’s demand such as agricultural machinery and tourism.
The Vietnamese top legislator said Vietnam is willing to share experience with Bhutan in economic development, especially agriculture, rural development, education and social welfare.
She proposed the two sides soon sign an agreement on visa exemption for diplomatic and official passport holders, while considering the appointment of Honorary Consuls in each country to act as bridges for bilateral friendship.
Speaking highly of Vietnam’s achievements, Dorji stressed the country has risen to stardom as a good economic development model in the region despite various challenges.
He suggested Vietnam and Bhutan promote bilateral cooperation in agriculture as Bhutan sees Vietnam as a role model in agricultural development, particularly mechanization of agriculture.
Regarding tourism, he said that Bhutan, with a total population of 700,000, focuses on high-quality tourism, and has policies to limit the number of foreign visitors to protect the environment.
However, as the country looks to welcome more Vietnamese nationals, he expressed his hope that the Tourism Council of Bhutan and the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism will work together to promote cooperation.
At the talks, he briefed Vietnamese NA Chairwoman Ngan on Bhutan’s parliament, with three tenures since 2008, while expressing its desire to learn from countries in the region, including Vietnam.
The Vietnamese top legislator, for her part, highlighted that since its establishment more than seven decades ago, the Vietnamese National Assembly has had many reforms and affirmed its increasing role in the country’s political life.
The same day, NA Chairwoman Ngan hosted a banquet for a high-ranking delegation from Bhutan, led by Tashi Dorji.- (VNS/VLLF)