Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s participation in the ASEAN Leaders’ Gathering on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – World Bank (WB) Group annual meetings in Bali, Indonesia, and his visit to the archipelago nation on October 11 and 12 reaped fruitful outcomes, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung said.
Speaking to the media on October 12 at the end of the trip, Dung stressed that Vietnam strongly supported Indonesia’s initiative to organise the ASEAN Leaders’ Gathering, which also attracted leaders of the United Nations, WB and IMF, since this was a very good chance to share and discuss measures to coordinate actions between ASEAN and the global organisations in realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At this event, PM Phuc noted that ASEAN continues to be a highlight of economic development and has achieved many successes in narrowing the development gap, coping with climate change, sustainably utilizing natural resources, and developing human resources.
The leader proposed IMF and WB assist ASEAN to build a macro-economic risk warning mechanism at the regional scale to help improve the bloc’s resilience. He also called for focus on the five prioritised groups: resilience improvement, infrastructure development, sustainable production and consumption, poverty reduction, and sustainable management of natural resources.
| Widodo at the press meeting following their talks in Bali on October 12
As for the Mekong countries, PM Phuc asked the WB join in and become a development partner of the Cambodia – Laos – Vietnam cooperation as well as the five Mekong nations of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, Dung noted.
PM Phuc also spotlighted Vietnam’s accomplishments in realising the 17 SDGs, reiterating that the Vietnamese Government has combined the stance on sustainable development with socio-economic development strategies and plans. This issue has been concretised in the national action plan on implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
To build on the success of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN recently held in Vietnam, the Government leader called on the global organisations to work with the grouping to carry out the forum’s proposals, especially creating a mechanism for harmonising the business climate and a framework for connecting the countries’ business incubators, connecting the education networks, and building a life-long learning system in the ASEAN countries, Deputy Minister Dung said.
Meanwhile, PM Phuc’s working visit to Indonesia this time, which followed a trip to the country by General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong in August 2017 and a tour of Vietnam by Indonesian President Joko Widodo in September this year, once again demonstrated the warm and growing relations between the two countries.
Noting important outcomes of the trip, Dung said the two sides specified numerous measures to turn economic cooperation into a pillar of their countries’ strategic partnership. They agreed to form an exchange mechanism for their Governments and businesses, and that the countries will gradually remove trade and technical barriers to facilitate their strong products’ access to each other’s markets, thus raising bilateral trade turnover to 10 billion USD at an earliest date possible.
He added that in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Vietnam and Indonesia agreed to expand cooperation in the fields of the future such as innovation economy, digital economy, clean energy, smart city, information technology, smart agriculture, and logistics. They will also support their small- and medium-sized enterprises and startups to strongly take part in bilateral economic cooperation and the regional economic network.
Many potential cooperation areas will also be promoted, the official said, elaborating that as both have sea-related advantages, they agreed to soon set up a new bilateral cooperation mechanism on sea and ocean; bolster practical cooperation in fishery and create a favourable framework for each other’s fishermen to work in a safe, sustainable and legal manner; and soon establish a hotline for swiftly dealing with any problems emerging.
They will also further enhance collaboration in education – training, particularly in assisting each other to train a new generation of labourers with knowledge and skills meeting new requirements of the digital era.
Additionally, amid complex developments in the region and the world, the countries will bolster cooperation to help successfully build a united, innovative and resilient ASEAN Community that will fully bring into play its central role in an evolving regional architecture.
Deputy Minister Dung said Indonesia affirmed its close coordination with and support for Vietnam when the latter holds the ASEAN Chair in 2020. It also repeated its endorsement of Vietnam’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021.