Joint Statement on the strategic partnership between the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and New Zealand
Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1975, and particularly following the launch of the Comprehensive Partnership in 2009, relations between Viet Nam and New Zealand have grown robustly in width and depth, both bilaterally and within regional and multilateral frameworks. Building on that momentum, and driven by our growing shared interests, common outlook, and mutual trust, we aspire to open a new chapter and take our partnership to a higher level.
Accordingly, His Excellency Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, and in conjunction with the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, co-chaired a virtual summit via video-conference to formally elevate the bilateral relationship to Strategic Partnership on 22 July 2020.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has presented the globe with unprecedented health and economic challenges, and it has underscored the importance of cooperation, collaboration, and key partnerships in building resilience and assisting recovery. In that spirit we commit to further enhancing bilateral links, with a particular focus on trade, agriculture, education, development and cooperation on regional and international matters of mutual interest, and other meaningful initiatives elaborated in a Plan of Action for the Strategic Partnership to be jointly developed over the next 12 months.
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. To provide leadership and guidance to this strengthening relationship, New Zealand and Viet Nam commit to deepening bilateral political cooperation through frequent high-level exchanges between political parties, parliamentary and governmental delegations, particularly regular meetings between Prime Ministers, and annual meetings between Foreign Ministers, Trade Ministers and Defence Ministers, held in either of our countries, in the margins of multilateral meetings, or by video-conference.
We highlight 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. To that end, we commit 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. In order to also promote investment in both directions and encourage inclusive growth, we will also foster cooperation in the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), indigenous or ethnic minorities businesses, women entrepreneurs and other important areas.
We commit to further enhancing 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. We welcome the commencement of a regular Agriculture Dialogue between officials.
We re-dedicate ourselves to deepening regional economic integration by resisting all forms of protectionism and promoting trade liberalization across the Asia-Pacific region. We pledge our unwavering support for the rules-based, free, open, transparent, and inclusive multilateral trading system, including reform of the World Trade Organization. In this regard, we reaffirm our commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), signing of a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement in 2020, and upgrading the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA). Viet Nam also expressed strong support for New Zealand as Chair of APEC 2021.
We welcome the positive impacts made by New Zealand's sustained bilateral and regional official development assistance, particularly in areas of New Zealand’s strength and Viet Nam's priority such as high-quality human resources development, climate change and economic resilience, sustainable water management, agriculture, and disaster risk management.
We emphasize that people-to-people links, particularly education and training cooperation constitutes an important element of the Strategic Partnership, and when movement of peoples can safely resume we are confident these linkages will continue to flourish; including through increasing the number of Vietnamese students in New Zealand, joint programmes between our higher education institutions, cooperation in vocational training, scholarships granted to Vietnamese youth and officials to study in New Zealand, scholarships granted to New Zealand youth to study or intern in Viet Nam, and student and teacher exchanges.
We reaffirm our commitment to closer defence cooperation as a priority in the Strategic Partnership, including through high-level defence visits, port calls, policy consultations, strategic dialogues, education and training, United Nations peacekeeping operations, intelligence exchanges, maritime security cooperation and enhanced coordination in the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus forum. Building upon the 2019 arrangement between the Ministry of Public Security of Viet Nam and the New Zealand Police, we agree to convene annual meetings between the leadership of the two agencies and explore the possibility of additional cooperation that provides a framework for preventing and combating crimes, thereby enhancing regional security and the well-being of our people. Through such joint efforts, we will make our respective communities safer.
We underscore the significance of information sharing and strengthening cooperation on a range of bilateral, regional, and international issues such as pandemics, climate change, e-government, human rights, science and technology, and countering terrorism and violent extremism. In that light, we welcome the commencement of a regular Oceans Dialogue between officials.
The new Strategic Partnership is founded on a shared commitment to international law, multilateralism, and regional economic integration, and an understanding of our converging strategic interests. We emphasise the importance of maintaining close cooperation in multilateral and regional fora in both governmental and parliamentary channels. We reaffirm our commitment to ASEAN Centrality and its role in the evolving regional architecture that is open, transparent, inclusive, and rules-based, built upon ASEAN-led mechanisms, and which safeguards the sovereignty and interests of all states, regardless of their size. New Zealand re-emphasizes its strong support for Viet Nam’s roles as ASEAN Chair for 2020 and non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for 2020-2021. We welcome the continued strengthening of the ASEAN - New Zealand Strategic Partnership and celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Dialogue Partnership and the 5th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership in 2020. Acknowledging that the prosperity and sustainable development of the Mekong sub-region is crucial to achieving the ASEAN Community Vision, New Zealand also commits to strengthening cooperation with Mekong countries in areas such as, disaster management, water-food-energy security, smart agriculture, public health and human resources development.
We reaffirm 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). We express continued concerns over developments in the South China 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. We underscore the importance of UNCLOS dispute settlement mechanisms and call upon the parties to respect the decisions rendered by these mechanisms. We reiterate the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety as well as the swift conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct for the South China 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. We emphasise that UNCLOS provides the solid legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out.
We welcome the recent signings of the below Government to Government arrangements, which indicate the breadth of our mutual interests, the dynamism of the relationship and our concrete determination to continue to strengthen our partnership now and into the future.
Arrangement between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Finance of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam with the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries on the Facilitation of Border Clearance of Agricultural, Forestry and Aquatic Products through the use of Electronic Certification;
Viet Nam New Zealand Strategic Engagement Plan on Education 2020-2023;
Memorandum of Arrangement on Financial Cooperation between the Ministry of Finance of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the New Zealand Treasury;
Arrangement between the Directorate of Vocational Education and Training, of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, and New Zealand Government to Government KnowHow relating to cooperation in vocational education and training and skills development.