|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi - The relationship between Vietnam and Germany has ceaselessly developed in both depth and breadth, and in an effective and practical manner across all fields despite historical changes, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has said.
Minh wrote an article reviewing the past and the future orientations of bilateral ties on the occasion of the 45th founding anniversary of Vietnam-Germany diplomatic ties (September 23).
He noted that Vietnam and Germany set up diplomatic relations in 1975 but links between the two nations started a long time before then. The first German diplomats were sent to Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in the middle of the 19th century to connect the two countries, he added.
On his journey to seek measures to salvage the nation, President Ho Chi Minh once stopped in Germany and later nurtured the friendship between the two nations.
Vietnam is the only Southeast Asian nation to boast special links with Germany, with more than 100,000 students and workers studying and working in the country in the 1950s, giving them a deep understanding of the German language and culture. More than 170,000 Vietnamese people from different generations now living in Germany have helped promote the diverse and unique relationship between the two countries, he said.
Over the past 45 years, bilateral ties have seen strong vitality thanks to close cooperation in the fields of politics, diplomacy, economy, and culture. Delegation exchanges have been conducted among ministries, sectors, and localities, along with diplomatic activities through Party and National Assembly channels and people-to-people contacts.
The Hanoi Declaration on the establishment of the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Germany, which was signed in October 2011 during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Vietnam, was an important milestone shaping bilateral ties over the last 10 years, the Deputy PM said.
He noted that many cooperation mechanisms between the two sides have proven effective. Meanwhile, based on a firm foundation of sound bilateral political relations, the economic partnership between the two sides has also flourished.
Germany has long been the largest trade partner of Vietnam in Europe. Two-way trade has now doubled the 2010 figure, standing at more than 10 billion USD and with growth exceeding 10 percent each year, he said.
The Deputy PM underlined that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), both of which took effect on August 1, 2020, are expected to create new and substantial opportunities for businesses of both sides.
As Vietnam’s 18th-largest foreign investor, Germany has more than 300 businesses investing over 2 billion USD in 361 projects in the Southeast Asian country.
Vietnamese enterprises, meanwhile, have 35 investment projects worth over 250 million USD in Germany, focusing on the fields of finance-banking, information technology, restaurants, and hotels.
Minh underscored that Vietnam hopes to work with Germany to fully tap the significant cooperation potential between the two countries amid the fourth Industrial Revolution.
Alongside trade and investment, development cooperation is also an important factor in bilateral relations, he said, emphasising that Vietnam treasures and remembers the precious support the Government and people of Germany gave the country during its national construction and development.
Over the last three decades, Germany has provided Vietnam with ODA of over 2 billion USD while sharing its experience in growth models as well as renewable energy exploitation, environmental protection, and vocational training, helping Vietnam complete the Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule and implement sustainable development goals.
In the field of education, the Vietnam-Germany University, capable of educating 12,000 students, has been finalised, while the teaching of Vietnamese and German in schools in the other country has been encouraged, and cultural and sports exchanges have brought people from both sides closer together, Minh wrote.
The direct air route between the two countries, which opened 15 years ago, has met demand for travel among the people of both countries.
From a multilateral standpoint, Vietnam and Germany have coordinated closely and supported each other at regional and international forums such as ASEAN, the EU, ASEM, and the UN.
Both sides have shared common viewpoints and visions on multilateralism, order, and stability on the foundation of law, as well as the observation of international law and environmental protection. Vietnam and Germany have regularly sought a common voice in the settlement of regional and global challenges, Minh said.
He noted that, in 2020, Vietnam is performing the roles of non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and ASEAN Chair, while Germany is the rotating EU Chair for the second half of 2020.
He said the two sides have agreed to promote cooperation and seize opportunities to strengthen Asia-Europe connectivity, contributing to peace and stability in the two regions and security and development around the world.
Initiatives in the prevention and control of COVID-19 manifested a cooperative spirit, he added.
“Looking back on the history of the relationship between the two countries over the last four decades and more, he said, we are happy and proud of the dynamic and practical development of the bilateral strategic partnership. The outcomes of and great potential for cooperation are important motivation for stronger and more extensive, intensive, and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries over the next decades, matching the interests and aspirations of the Governments and people of both nations and for a world of peace, stability, and prosperity,” Minh wrote.
He also expressed confidence that with joint efforts and determination as well as the continued close friendship between the two nations, all goals will become reality shortly.