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First Norway visit by a Vietnamese PM in 20 years to cement ties

Saturday, May 25, 2019, 12:52 GMT+7
First Norway visit by a Vietnamese PM in 20 years to cement ties
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg host a press conference in Oslo on May 24, 2019. Photo: Da Trang / Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has become the first premier of Vietnam to visit Norway in 20 years as both countries vow to boost ties.

Vietnam always attaches importance to developing the traditional friendship and multi-faceted cooperation with Norway, an important partner of Vietnam in Northern Europe, PM Phuc said during talks with his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg in Oslo on Friday.

He had arrived in the Norwegian capital the day earlier, becoming the first Vietnamese premiere to visit Norway since late PM Phan Van Khai’s 1999 visit.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his wife arrive in Oslo, Norway on May 23, 2019. Photo: Vietnam News Agency
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his wife arrive in Oslo, Norway on May 23, 2019. Photo: Vietnam News Agency

PM Erna Solberg expressed her belief that PM Phuc’s visit will contribute to enhancing Vietnam-Norway relations.

The leaders acknowledged strong developments in bilateral ties over the past years, agreeing to step up all-level delegation exchanges to create momentum for cooperation in various realms.

PM Phuc thanked the Norwegian government for their continuous official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam in recent years, helping the country in socio-economic development and fulfillment of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

He called on Norway to continue supporting Vietnam in such fields as environment, education, economic management, administrative reform, and bomb and mine clearance.

Despite progress in such areas as forestry, environment, fishery, renewable energy, maritime transportation and shipbuilding, bilateral trade has not lived up to the potential and strength of both countries, the leaders said.

Both PMs consented to push ahead with negotiations of a free trade agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), to which Norway is the coordinator.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc shakes hands with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Oslo on May 24, 2019. Photo: Vietnam News Agency
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc shakes hands with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Oslo on May 24, 2019. Photo: Vietnam News Agency

The two countries will encourage their businesses to expand operations in solar energy, petroleum technological services and blue economy, as well as promote trades of Vietnam’s tra fish and Norway’s salmon.

They talked about partnership in education-training and culture, and agreed to foster collaboration in new spheres regarding women, peace and security, tourism and sports, and people-to-people exchange.

PM Erna Solberg lauded the role of the 20,000-strong Vietnamese community in Norway in developing the friendship and exchange between the two peoples.

During their talks, the leaders concurred that Vietnam and Norway should strengthen their close coordination at multilateral forums, especially the United Nations.

Both countries are running for non-permanent seats at the UN Security Council, with Vietnam’s bid for the 2020-2021 term and Norway for the 2021-2022 tenure. 

They affirmed their common commitments to sustainable and inclusive development in accordance with the UN’s Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, emphasizing affiliation in forest protection, response to climate change and sea level rise, and plastic waste management.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signs a guest book in Oslo, Norway on May 24, 2019. Photo: Da Trang / Tuoi Tre
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signs a guest book in Oslo, Norway on May 24, 2019. Photo: Da Trang / Tuoi Tre

Regarding the East Vietnam Sea issue, they exchanged views on the importance of and the need to ensure peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the area.

All disputes should be settled by peaceful measures, in line with international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other relevant regional documents, they said. 

PM Erna Solberg congratulated Vietnam on its recent socio-economic achievements and praised the country’s rising regional and global role demonstrated in the hosting of recent major international events.  The Norwegian PM kindly accepted PM Phuc’s invitation to visit Vietnam again in the future, following her 2015 visit.

Norway is the second leg of PM Phuc's ongoing Europe trip from May 20 to 29, which includes stops in Russia and Sweden.

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