Deputy PM: Vietnam wants to strengthen ties with Bulgaria
08/07/2018 - 10:12
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has assured Bulgarian leaders that the Vietnamese government and people want to strengthen friendship and cooperation with Bulgaria – a trustworthy friend and partner of Vietnam over the past years. 

He has reiterated the consistent policy of Vietnam during meetings with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev and Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev during a three-day visit to Bulgaria from July 3-5.

At the meeting with the Vietnamese Deputy PM on July 3, President Rumen Radev recalled the tradition of bilateral friendship over the past nearly seven decades. He spoke highly of Vietnam’s economic achievements with a gross domestic product growth of over 6 percent in recent years, making Vietnam one of the most vibrant economies in Southeast Asia. 

He said both nations always work closely together on regional and global issues, affirming that Bulgaria supports the early signing and ratification of the European Union - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. 

Both sides agreed to further enhance their all-around ties, and the host pledged to direct Bulgarian government and relevant agencies to soon convene a meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee to discuss specific measures. 

The Bulgarian President also accepted President Tran Dai Quang’s invitation to visit Vietnam with pleasure. 

During the meeting between Deputy PM Minh and his Bulgarian counterpart Tomislav Donchev, the two officials expressed satisfaction about strengthened political ties via all-level visits, especially those at high level, and vowed to offer mutual support at multilateral forums such as the United Nations and the Asia-Europe Meeting. 

They consented to take specific measures to lift bilateral economic-trade-investment ties, including piloting joint-venture models of manufacturing for selling in Europe and other markets over the world. 

The two sides underscored the need to lift education-training cooperation and tap Bulgaria’s experience in training over 3,000 engineers and officials for Vietnam in the past. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (L) and Bulgarian President Rumen Radev

They agreed to soon hold the 24th meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee on Economic-Trade Cooperation and the fifth meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee on Science-Technology Cooperation, making it easier for the two nations’ enterprises to seek partners and explore markets. 

Talking with the overseas Vietnamese community in the afternoon the same day, Minh affirmed that Vietnam pursues the policy of rapid and sustainable economic development, active and proactive external relations to best serve national interests in tandem with firmly safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Ambassador expects stronger Vietnam-Bulgaria relations
Vietnamese Ambassador to Bulgaria Nguyen Thi Hong Oanh has voiced expectations for stronger ties with Bulgaria ahead of an official visit to the European nation by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

Ambassador Oanh said the trip from July 3 to 5, made at the invitation of Bulgarian Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, is the first official visit by a Vietnamese diplomatic leader to Bulgaria since political changes in the country in 1989.

The visit comes at a time of cooperation developing in all spheres. Notably, since 2013, leaders of the countries have affirmed that they will promote bilateral relations towards a strategic partnership.

She said the visit is a chance for the two sides to strengthen traditional connections, discuss ways to bring bilateral ties to a new level and share views on issues of common concern. 

It aims to not only realise Vietnam’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralisation and diversification of foreign relations, and being a friend and trustworthy partner in the international community, but also show that Vietnam attaches importance to countries it has traditional relations with.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh is paying an official visit to Bulgaria from July 3 to 5

Oanh noted that Bulgaria was one of the first 10 countries to establish diplomatic ties with Vietnam, on February 8, 1950. She described the 1970s and 1980s as the “golden” period in bilateral links when thousands of Vietnamese officials and experts received training in Bulgaria.

Over the years, the two sides have maintained mutual visits at all levels, especially high-ranking delegations, organised consultations on issues of common concern and cooperated at international and regional forums, particularly within the framework of the United Nations, ASEAN-EU cooperation and the Asia-Europe Meeting.

Bulgaria considers Vietnam one of its most important partners in Southeast Asia, and Vietnam can help the EU nation enhance connections with ASEAN countries. Meanwhile, Bulgaria can also assist Vietnam in tightening links with EU countries. Its leaders have often affirmed that they support the signing and ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

The diplomat highlighted progress in bilateral economic-trade partnerships, especially in recent years, but they remain modest compared to the two sides’ potential.

She also noted expanding people-to-people exchange, adding that Vietnamese who used to study and work in Bulgaria and about 1,000 expatriates in the country at present are a bridge linking the two nations.

Regarding the prospect of bilateral relations, Ambassador Oanh expressed her belief in their huge potential in all fields because since the political changes in Bulgaria in 1989, all parties in parliament have voiced support for the countries’ traditional cooperation and considered Vietnam a leading Southeast Asian partner. Leaders of Vietnam and Bulgaria have also affirmed the wish to develop bilateral ties.

The role of Bulgaria in the EU has risen considerably after holding the rotational Presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2018. Although it is a small economy with a population of about 7.5 million, Bulgaria has a strategic location and can serve as a gateway for Vietnamese goods to enter Europe, she added.

She voiced her belief that with the enormous potential and efforts of both sides, their friendship and connections will keep flourishing to meet the two peoples’ demand and interests.


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