Providing an impetus for Vietnam-Myanmar relations

Myanmar President Htin Kyaw and his wife have begun a three-day visit to Vietnam today, October 26, at the invitation of President Tran Dai Quang. This is the first Vietnam visit made by Kyaw since he took office as the Myanmar president on March 30.

Myanmar President Htin Kyaw and his wife arrived at Vietnam's Noi Bai International Airport. 

The visit is a significant political event, affirming that the new leadership board of the two countries treasure and wish to facilitate the traditional friendly relations and multifaceted co-operation between Vietnam and Myanmar, for the interests of their respective people and for an ASEAN Community of solidarity and prosperous development.

Myanmar is located in South East Asia and bordered by China, India and Bangladesh. 

The country has a population of 51.4 million with 135 ethnic groups living together on a total area of 676.577 square kilometres, including a 2,276-kilometre coastline. 

Myanmar’s average income per capita reaches nearly US$1,250, while the dominant religion is Buddhism, followers of which account for over 89% of the population.

Myanmar has entered a new page of history as general elections were held in the country for a new parliament on November 8, 2015, completing a final step in the seven-step roadmap to develop the country which has been implemented since early 2003. 

The National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung San Suu Kyi, claimed a landslide victory in the general elections, winning 255 of the 327 seats in the Lower House, 135 of the 168 seats in the Upper House and 497 of the 644 seats in parliaments of states and regions.

 Under the leadership of the NLD, President Htin Kyaw’s administration have been successfully realising its commitments made during the election campaign and have achieved a lot of significant outcomes across all fields, including promoting national reconciliation, ensuring security and political stability, boosting economic development and expanding foreign relations. 

Positive developments have been recorded in the security situation, creating breakthroughs and favourable conditions for the national reconciliation process. 

Concerning economics, the new government is continuing to implement a number of renovation measures, opening the door to lure investment, strengthening the role of the private sector, facilitating investment in agriculture and the processing industry, and generally improving people’s lives. 

Notably, there have been several changes made to the economic development policies – both maintaining a high growth rate (over 8% annually) and moving towards long-term and sustainable development. 

Regarding foreign affairs, Myanmar’s new government pursues a foreign policy of independence and proactivity, treasuring traditional relations, including the allegiance with ASEAN, and balancing relations with powers.

Vietnam and Myanmar lie under the same roof of Southeast Asia and had enjoyed a friendly relationship from early on before establishing bilateral diplomatic ties in May 1975. 

Myanmar provided Vietnam with support and co-operation during Vietnam’s national liberation and reunification cause in the past as well as in its national construction and development process at present. 

Traditional friendly relations and multifaceted co-operation between the two countries are constantly growing. 

Both sides have conducted high-level visits and meetings to exchange experience and build political trust, and have maintained the 12 priority areas for co-operation since they were reached in April 2010. 

Vietnam is currently Myanmar’s 10th largest trade and investment partner, with two-way trade turnover at US$434 million in 2015 and nearly US$300 million in the first seven months of 2016, a 16% increase year on year. 

As of August 2016, Vietnam has been operating 50 projects in Myanmar with a total capital of more than US$693 million. 

The Association of Vietnamese Investors in Myanmar is operating actively, with a number of projects warmly welcomed by the local people.

Vietnam and Myanmar have coordinated closely and supported each other on many regional and international issues; respected the ASEAN co-operation framework and the sub-regional co-operation mechanism, including the Mekong Sub-region; and co-operated with one another at multilateral forums aiming to promote the trend of peace, co-operation and development in the region.

During President Htin Kyaw’s visit to Vietnam from October 26 to 28, the two countries’ leaders will review areas of co-operation and exchange opinions on measures to facilitate new co-operation fields of mutual concern, including politics, economics, trade, security and national defence, tourism and agriculture. 

Both sides will also discuss the acceleration of subregion connection and other international and regional issues of mutual concern, and sign a number of documents for bilateral co-operation.

The outcomes of the visit will contribute significantly to consolidating the trustful and close political relations between senior leaders of the two nations, and developing the Vietnam-Myanmar traditional friendly relations and multifaceted co-operation in a more active and practical fashion, meeting the interests of their respective people and contributing to peace, stability, co-operation and development in the region and around the world.

Nhan Dan

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