Bringing the partnership to life

German-Vietnamese relations Bringing the partnership to life

Legal certainty and transparency are needed before economic cooperation with Viet Nam can be stepped up, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said. In Berlin she received Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. They also discussed further cooperation in the fields of education and development.

Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung

Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler

Chancellor Angela Merkel said she will be happy to step up cooperation with Viet Nam, pointing to the 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The 100,000 or so Vietnamese living in Germany are a bridge between their adopted country and their country of origin, she underlined.

The Hanoi Declaration established a strategic partnership between Germany and Viet Nam in October 2011. This partnership aims to strengthen political, economic, cultural and development-policy relations.

Closer economic cooperation

"I hope that we can intensify our economic relations," declared Angela Merkel. German investment is welcome in Viet Nam. One example is investment in the construction of an underground railway in Ho Chi Minh City.

"If economic cooperation is to increase further, German businesses will need legal certainty, transparency and clarity in the placing of orders," said Angela Merkel. These are vitally important preconditions for consistent investment in Viet Nam.

Fostering further development

For cooperation between the two civil societies, human rights and freedom of opinion are also important. The Chancellor made special mention of the human rights dialogue and a rule of law dialogue between the EU and Viet Nam, which Germany is strongly supporting.

Germany is promoting the reform of Viet Nam’s legal order and to this end is engaged in what is known as the Vietnamese-German rule of law dialogue. The dialogue embraces such matters as advisory services on legislative projects in Viet Nam, the further development of the legal system and advisory services on the implementation of international conventions and regulations.

Angela Merkel and Nguyen Tan Dung also discussed further development cooperation. Since 1990 Germany has promoted projects and programmes worth more than 1.8 billion euros in Viet Nam. The Chancellor pointed to the nursing programme, to give one example, which is training Vietnamese nursing staff as geriatric nurses in Germany.

"German House" in Viet Nam

The Chancellor praised the awarding of a construction permit for the "German House" in Ho Chi Minh City as an "important symbol" and a sign that the two countries are coming closer. Shortly before their meeting Nguyen Tan Dung approved the application.

The "German House" will provide a common base for all German institutions represented in Ho Chi Minh City and interested German businesses. Agreement was reached in 2013 that it should be built.

Situation in the South China Sea

Another international point discussed by the Chancellor and the Vietnamese Prime Minister was the tense situation in the South China Sea. "It is in Germany’s interests to have freely accessible shipping channels and tension-free zones," stressed Angela Merkel.

She advocated a political solution. "We urge, and in this we are in full agreement, a peaceful solution. We could envisage discussions or international arbitration." This matter will be raised at the ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) summit in Milan on 16 and 17 October, said the Chancellor. ASEM serves as a discussion forum for European and Asian sates.

Viet Nam plays an active role within ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations). The ten members, Vietnam, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Brunei and Myanmar have agreed to push ahead with regional integration. By 2015 an ASEAN Economic Community is to be founded, with the aim of creating a common economic area, along the lines of the European Union.