Vietnamese, German Presidents hold talks
President Vo Van Thuong held talks with visiting German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Hanoi on January 23 following a welcome ceremony featuring a resounding 21-gun salute.
Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and their spouses pose for a photo__Photo: VNA

President Vo Van Thuong held talks with visiting German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Hanoi on January 23 following a welcome ceremony featuring a resounding 21-gun salute.

President Thuong conveyed his belief that the visit would significantly contribute to fortifying the friendship and political trust shared between the two nations, creating a driving force for the bilateral strategic partnership and for the benefit of their people.

He affirmed that in its foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralization and diversification of external relations, Vietnam always values and prioritizes the development of relations with Germany.

President Steinmeier expressed a desire to elevate all-around cooperation with Vietnam, especially in trade and investment, energy transition, labor and vocational training, and development cooperation while working closely together to contribute to peace and global and regional cooperation issues.

Both leaders expressed satisfaction with the robust development of the Vietnam-Germany relationship over the past nearly five decades, particularly after they established a strategic partnership. Mutual political trust has been enhanced through the exchange of all-level delegations and coordination at multilateral forums. Germany has been the leading economic partner of Vietnam in Europe and Vietnam is one of Germany's major trade partners in Southeast Asia. Bilateral trade has tripled in the past decade to reach around USD 12 billion in 2023, and Germany is the fourth largest EU investor in Vietnam.

The two sides agreed to further strengthen political trust through the exchange of delegations at various levels and the effective implementation of bilateral cooperation mechanisms, including the strategic dialogue, the Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation, the Government Consultation on Development Cooperation; as well as the Vietnam-Germany strategic action plan for the 2023-25 period.

The leaders rejoiced at the positive results in education-training coordination, particularly the effective operation of the Vietnam-Germany University (VGU). The German President wished for continued collaboration to ensure the further success of the VGU, particularly in attracting more Vietnamese students, while President Thuong asked Germany to continue helping Vietnam in the training of high-quality human resources and the expansion of the VGU's activities.

Regarding economic cooperation, the two sides pledged to continue to fully and effectively implement the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and facilitate market access for each other's strong products. President Steinmeier lauded Vietnam as a reliable economic partner and expressed a desire to enhance economic ties, particularly in terms of investment.

The host urged Germany to expedite the ratification procedures for the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) and push the early removal of the European Commission (EC)'s yellow card warning on Vietnamese seafood. He also sought Germany's continued support through official development assistance (ODA) in energy, environment, and vocational training.

Mentioning climate change response, Steinmeier affirmed Germany's readiness to assist Vietnam through technology, experts, and financial assistance within the framework of the Joint Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), thus helping Vietnam fulfill its commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, as announced at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

Host and guest also agreed to beef up joint work in national defense-security, sci-tech, justice, agriculture and cultural exchange, toward the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties in 2025.

President Thuong proposed that Germany continue to care for and support the Vietnamese community in the country, a sentiment affirmed by President Steinmeier, who recognized the community's successful integration and positive contributions to the host society.

On the international front, the two countries will coordinate and support each other at regional and multilateral forums, such as ASEAN-Germany, ASEAN-EU cooperation, and the United Nations frameworks.

On the East Sea issue, the two leaders reiterated the importance of maintaining peace, stability and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea, and settling disputes through peaceful means in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They expressed support for substantive and effective negotiations on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) between ASEAN and China.

Following the talks, the two Presidents witnessed the signing of an agreement on migrant labour cooperation between the Vietnamese Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs and the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.- (VNA/VLLF)

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