Updated : 09/19/2015 16:10 GMT + 7
At a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, visiting Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has asked Vice President of the European Commission (EC) Valdis Dombrovskis to help accelerate the signing of the EU- Vietnam free trade agreement (EVFTA).
At his talks with the EC Vice President on Friday, Deputy PM Ninh also expressed hope that the EU will share more experience in sustainable development with Vietnam, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
He added that Vietnam always strictly implement the multilateral treaties on the environment and basic conventions of the International Labor Organization to which Vietnam is a member.
The Vietnamese official confirmed that Vietnam highly appreciates the EU’s role in and contributions to Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) cooperation mechanism.
He sought the union’s support for Vietnam’s initiatives on issues of mutual viewpoint, as well as its greater contribution to ASEM’s efforts to respond to global challenges like climate change, disaster risk reduction, water resource, food and energy security, and sustainable development.
Regarding the East Vietnam Sea issue, Ninh stated that China’s illegal construction on large scale on reef islands in Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago has seriously threatened peace, stability, and aviation and maritime security, safety and freedom in the sea area.
He also pointed out that the East Vietnam Sea s home to an important maritime route connecting Europe and Asia, and at the same time caused serious impacts on the marine environment.
The Vietnamese deputy PM reiterated Vietnam’s consistent policy to solve disputes by peaceful means in accordance with international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.
Vietnam always avoids actions that complicate the situation, not using or threatening to use force, fully implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Vietnam Sea and working towards the early formation of a Code of Conduct in the East Vietnam Sea, Ninh added.
For his part, Valdis Dombrovskis said he hopes for the signing of the EVFTA within 2015 and a Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation between the two sides in 2016.
Regarding the EU’s recognition of Vietnam’s market economy status, Dombrovskis said the two sides are working on necessary technical factors toward the early recognition.
He also expressed his hope that Vietnam will allow the EU’s wood to enter its market.
Sharing concerns with Vietnam over recent construction on reef islands in the East Vietnam Sea, the EC Vice President affirmed the EU’s backing of the settlement of the East Vietnam Sea issue by peaceful ways through international law.
He also stressed that maritime security is crucial to both Asian and European countries.