Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (20 February) on the occasion of a visit by Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh:
Viet Nam is a key partner for us in Southeast Asia. The country has taken important steps towards economic liberalisation and reform in recent years. It is with this in mind that we are also working to ensure a speedy conclusion of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.
There have been noticeable differences between Germany and Viet Nam in the past – particularly on account of the kidnapping of Vietnamese national Trinh Xuan Thanh in Berlin. 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.
Like Germany, Viet Nam is committed to multilateralism and free trade. The country is increasingly assuming international responsibility and is working to promote climate protection. These are all areas in which Germany and Viet Nam can work more closely together in the future.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is receiving Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh for talks at the Federal Foreign Office today. Their meeting will focus primarily on bilateral relations, cooperation between the EU and ASEAN and the scope for German-Vietnamese cooperation in multilateral forums. The Foreign Ministers will also exchange views on geopolitical challenges in East and South Asia.