Vietnam, S'pore sign MOU to boost cooperation

Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (left) and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan after signing the agreement on the Vietnam-Singapore Cooperation Centre yesterday.
Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (left) and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan after signing the agreement on the Vietnam-Singapore Cooperation Centre yesterday.PHOTO: MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Agreement to enhance collaboration in human resource development

Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan yesterday signed an agreement that will enhance bilateral cooperation in human resource development.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) covers the principles for the operation of the Vietnam-Singapore Cooperation Centre (VSCC), which is an enhancement of an existing training centre in Hanoi under the Initiative for Asean Integration.

The VSCC will coordinate a wider range of development assistance from various Singapore agencies, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said.

Mr Minh, who is a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam, is on an official visit to Singapore at the invitation of Dr Balakrishnan, just before the Asean Foreign Ministers' Meeting and related meetings this week.

Yesterday, he called on President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

They reaffirmed the excellent relations between Singapore and Vietnam, marked by the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year, MFA said.

"Both sides expressed their commitment to strengthen economic and financial cooperation under the Singapore-Vietnam Strategic Partnership which is in its fifth year."

"They also discussed regional developments, including Asean and the importance of deepening economic integration through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)," MFA added.

Vietnam is one of 11 countries in the CPTPP, which was signed in March. It is also one of 16 countries negotiating the RCEP that many hope can be concluded this year.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Minh met Dr Balakrishnan, who hosted him and his wife, Ambassador Nguyen Nguyet Nga, to breakfast.

They noted the strong economic and people-to-people relations between both countries, underpinned by warm ties between their leaders, MFA said, adding: "DPM Minh welcomed more Singapore investments and assured that Vietnam would provide a pro-business environment in Vietnam."

Dr Balakrishnan and Mr Minh also agreed that there was potential to enhance air connectivity between Singapore and Vietnam, and within the region.

In a Facebook post, Dr Balakrishnan said: "Happy with the excellent state of bilateral relations. We enjoy good cooperation on all fronts.

"Looking forward to the work in the week ahead with Vietnam and fellow Asean brethren to build an innovative and resilient region," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2018, with the headline 'Vietnam, S'pore sign MOU to boost cooperation'. Print Edition | Subscribe