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VN, NZ establish strategic partnership, express “continued concerns” over developments in East Sea

VGP – Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and New Zealander counterpart Jacinda Ardern agreed to formally elevate the two countries’ comprehensive partnership to strategic partnership during their virtual summit on Wednesday.

07/22/2020 15:20

The virtual summit between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and New Zealander Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on July 22, 2020. Photo: VGP

     >>> VN, NZ Prime Ministers hold virtual summit to discuss upgrading ties

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“The strategic partnership is aimed at further strengthening the overarching framework for engagement and cooperation between Viet Nam and New Zealand, for the benefits of our people, contributing to peace, stability and prosperity in each country, the region and the world,” read the joint statement issued following the summit.

To provide leadership and guidance to this strengthening relationship, New Zealand and Viet Nam committed to deepening bilateral political cooperation through frequent high-level exchanges between political parties, parliamentary and governmental delegations.

The two PMs highlighted trade and investment cooperation as a key component of the strategic partnership, for the direct benefit of our people and businesses. Bilateral trade in goods and services reached a new record of US$ 1.3 billion for the year ending March 2020.

The two countries committed to individual and joint actions to open markets and reduce barriers to bilateral trade, especially for agricultural, seafood, and timber products through enhancing market access, trade facilitation, information exchange, and collaboration between our customs, and agriculture, food safety, and animal health agencies.

Both sides also pledged to further enhance bilateral agriculture cooperation, including through joint research, collaboration and action on climate change in agriculture and forestry, agri-tech, technical assistance on plant health laboratory accreditation, plant breeding, food safety management and electronic certification, trade in legal timber products, and commercialization of agriculture products.

The sides re-dedicated themselves to deepening regional economic integration by resisting all forms of protectionism and promoting trade liberalization across the Asia-Pacific region, pleding unwavering support for the rules-based, free, open, transparent, and inclusive multilateral trading system, including reform of the World Trade Organization.

Regarding East Sea issue, the two PMs reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety, freedom of navigation and overflight, pursuing the peaceful resolution of disputes and respecting legal and diplomatic processes, in accordance with international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

PM Phuc and PM Jacinda Ardern express “continued concerns” over developments in the East Sea, including disruptive activities, and underscore the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoidance of actions that may further complicate the situation or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability.

The pair underscored the importance of UNCLOS dispute settlement mechanisms and called upon the parties to respect the decisions rendered by these mechanisms, reiterating the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) in its entirety as well as the swift conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct for the East Sea (COC) that is consistent with international law, particularly UNCLOS, without prejudice to the interests of third parties or the rights of states under international law.

The two PMs emphasised that UNCLOS provides the solid legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out. /.

By Ngoc Van