Dec 31, 2019 / 22:15

Vietnam wraps up stellar 2019 with visits of notable foreign dignitaries

The year 2019 marks the visits of top leaders from countries which Vietnam has good relations with.

A number of leaders of major nations visited Vietnam in 2019 to enhance bilateral ties as Vietnam has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies in the world and will assume the chairmanship of the ASEAN in 2020.


US President Donald Trump

 US President Donald Trump, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi. Photo: AFP

The year began with the Vietnam visit by US President Donald Trump and DPRK Chairman Kim Jong Un to attend the second DPRK-USA Summit held in Hanoi on February 27-28, following the first in Singapore in June 2018.

During the visit, President Trump held talks with Vietnam’s President Nguyen Phu Trong and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, discussing measures to enhance the comprehensive partnership which covers cooperation in regional and international issues, and bilateral ties that embrace defense-security, trade, investment, and education. They witnessed the signing of contracts worth more than US$20 billion.

Before that, Trump was in Vietnam in November 2017 for the APEC summit held in Danang and an offical visit to Hanoi.

DPRK leader Kim Jong Un

 DPRK leader Kim Jong Un and Vietnam’s President Nguyen Phu Trong review the Guards of Honor. Photo: Lao Dong

Right after the DPRK-USA Summit, DPRK leader Kim Jong Un paid a state visit to Vietnam on March 1-2 at the invitation of Secretary General of the Communist Party of Vietnam and State President Nguyen Phu Trong.

Chairman Kim was the first DPRK leader to visit Vietnam after 55 years.

Brunei's Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah

 Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam and Vietnam’s President Nguyen Phu Trong. Photo: QDND

Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam paid a state visit to Vietnam on March 26-28 at the invitation of President Nguyen Phu Trong.

As both Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam are claimants in the South China Sea, the two countries reached a consensus on intensifying maritime cooperation in the comprehensive partnership. Accordingly, they pledged to boost the visit of naval ships to each country, hold joint rehearsals for search and rescue, and join hands in multilateral security-defense forums.

The two countries agreed to boost trade with a focus on agriculture.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte

 Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte and Vietnam’s PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Photo: VGP

Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte visited Vietnam on April 9-11 with an aim to boost the multifaceted relations, mostly economic ties.

The Netherlands is now the biggest European investor in Vietnam with famous names like Philips, Heineken, Unilever, and Shell.

Mark Rutte, who was accompanied by more than 70 Dutch companies, witnessed the signing of a treaty and many contracts on water management, climate adaption, offshore wind power, and food security.

The two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding on agricultural transformation cooperation in the Mekong Delta. They agreed to elevate the bilateral relations to comprehensive partnership.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

 Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Vietnam’s PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Photo: VGP

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte paid an official visit to Vietnam on June 5-6 at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc when he attended the third High-Level Dialogue on Italy-ASEAN Economic Relations in Hanoi.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison

 Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Photo: VGP

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife visited Hanoi on August 22-24 in the context that Vietnam and Australia are deepening the relationship which was upgraded to strategic partnership for more than a year.

“Our focus will be on strengthening economic, security and people-to-people cooperation between our two countries,” Morrison told Australian media.

In Hanoi, he expressed concerns about land reclamation and militarization of disputed features in the sea.

Vietnam and Australia held an annual Defense High Level Meeting at ministerial level as well as a separate Security Dialogue at vice-ministerial level, building on existing bilateral defense and security mechanisms.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad

 Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Photo: VNA

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on August 26-28 visited Vietnam where he and his Vietnamese counterpart PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc expressed “serious concern over recent developments in the South China Sea” after Beijing intensified expansionism challenging their energy assets and sea boundaries in the region.

“The two sides agreed that disputes shall be resolved through peaceful means, including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use or force,” according to the joint statement after the visit.

Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith

 Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Photo: VGP

Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and his wife lead the Lao government’s high-ranking delegation to pay an official visit to Vietnam on October 1-3.

The visit took place in the context Vietnam and Laos enjoyed a traditional friendship, special solidarity, and thriving partnership in all aspects.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen

 Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen and Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Photo: VGP

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen visited Vietnam on October 4-5 at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

In Hanoi, the Cambodian PM affirmed that the two countries will cooperate to maintain maritime and air security in the region, vowing to work for the stability and security of each country. Hun Sen said his government would allow no third party to use one country’s territory to harm others' security.

This was Hun Sen’s second visit to Hanoi after the previous one in December 2018 since Cambodia’s sixth general election in mid-2018.

During the visit, the two sides inked seven agreements including two on Vietnamese funding to Cambodian Parliament building project and a drug rehabilitation location in Preah Sihanouk province; and five memorandums of understanding on cooperation in customs, trade promotion, development of border trade, construction and handing over of a border market in Cambodian province, and the power sector.

Parliament leaders

President of the Senate of Australia Scott Ryan and Vietnam’s National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan. Photo: Cong Ly

On January 20-23, President of the Senate of Australia Scott Ryan paid an official visit to Vietnam at the invitation of National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

On March 4-8, Chairwoman of the Lao National Assembly Pany Yathotou and her entourage paid an official visit to Vietnam where she held talks with her counterpart Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

In addition, Chairman of the National Council (Upper House) of Bhutan Tashi Dorji, visited Vietnam on May 11-14 where he held talks with Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan

On May 28-30, President of the Cambodian National Assembly Samdech Heng Samrin and his entourage visited Vietnam.

On November 13-15, Chairman of the Mazhilis (lower house) of the Parliament of Kazakhstan Nurlan Nigmatulin made an official visit to Vietnam at the invitation of Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.