Viet Nam is becoming an increasingly important security and development player in Southeast Asia. Its economic significance is growing. At the same time, Viet Nam is striving to be involved more closely in the international community and its organisations.
At the meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart Phạm Bình Minh on 20 February, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas expressed his support for a new focus in the strategic partnership, which was suspended last year following the kidnapping of a Vietnamese citizen from Germany:
We want today to reach an agreement on how we can recalibrate the Strategic Partnership between Viet Nam and Germany and flesh it out once again. In our view, a Strategic Partnership also comprises respect for common values, in particular universal human rights.
Click here for the press release.
Upswing through greater openness and reforms
The process of economic opening in the country and a resolute course of reform have resulted in a dramatic economic upswing in Viet Nam over the past two decades. Recent growth rates have regularly exceeded eight percent. Significant catalysts for growth have been the booming export sector driven by high investment from abroad and the increase in domestic consumption.
In this process, Viet Nam has kept its focus on moving towards greater integration into the global market. An important step along this path was the country’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2007. Moreover, Viet Nam is a member of the trans-Pacific free trade agreement CPTPP. A free trade agreement between Viet Nam and the European Union is about to be signed. The Federal Government is campaigning for the swift conclusion of negotiations.
Engagement for multilateralism, free trade and climate protection
Viet Nam is also playing a more active role in the international community on the political stage. It is currently applying for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2020-2021 term. Like Germany, Viet Nam is committed to multilateralism, free trade and climate protection. In these areas there is scope for closer cooperation between the two countries.
Giving substance to the strategic partnership
Viet Nam and Germany concluded a strategic partnership in 2011 to jointly pursue their interests. Germany suspended this partnership due to serious differences, specifically the kidnapping of the Vietnamese citizen Trinh Xuan Thanh in Berlin in summer 2017.
During their talks, the two foreign ministers discussed how the strategic partnership between Viet Nam and Germany could be given a new focus and substance. For the Federal Government, support for the modernisation of Viet Nam, for example through regular rule of law dialogue and discussion of the human rights situation, would be central components of this approach.