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Vietnam-Myanmar Friendship Association tightens relations

Minh Vu HANOI TIMES Wed, November 10, 2021

Vietnam and Myanmar relations were enhanced during hard times.

The Vietnam-Myanmar Friendship Association has elected its chairmanship and members for the 2021-2026 term as part of efforts to tighten the relations between the two countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Chu Cong Phung, former Vietnamese Ambassador to Myanmar, will continue being chairman of the association with a priority put in connecting all stakeholders to enhance the multisectoral cooperation regardless of economics, culture, education, and healthcare.

Set up in 2014, the association, which includes 30 members, will work with the Embassy of Myanmar in Hanoi and the Embassy of Vietnam in Yangonto to hold exchange activities, share information, and implement signed agreements.

They will help boost connections among associations, political, religious, and social organizations to fulfill the mission with a focus on people-to-people diplomacy, the chairman said at the meeting on November 10.

Vietnam and Myanmar established diplomatic ties in 1975. It can be said that the relations between the two countries were forged during hard times. That helps explain why their friendship and cooperation are very solid, according to Kavi Chongkittavorn, a Thai national and veteran journalist on regional affairs. 

As the chair of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Vietnam was the main driving force behind the push for the membership of Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos in the ASEM process, very much to the chagrin of the other members.

After both countries joined ASEAN, with Vietnam in 1995 and Myanmar in 1997, their relations have been further strengthened through ASEAN-led cooperative frameworks. Myanmar and Vietnam are also members of the CLMV (Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam) Summit, both are actively engaged in action plans to promote trade, investment, environmental protection, and water management.

In a broader move, they agreed to coordinate at regional and international forums like ASEAN, the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), among others.  

The two countries elevated the ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2017, opening up a new chapter for cooperation in foreign affairs, defense and security, economics, and politics.

Currently, Vietnam is the 9th largest trade partner of Myanmar and its 7th biggest investor.

In 2019, before Covid-19 flared up globally, the two-way trade hit US$1.02 billion.

Regarding investment, Vietnam poured up to $2.2 billion in 11 projects, mainly telecommunications, construction, banking as of April 2021.

In the context of Covid-19, Vietnam has offered pandemic relief to Myanmar.

SOURCE – HANOI TIMES, VIETNAM Wed, November 10, 2021

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