Canada foreign minister says Vietnam important to Indo-Pacific strategy
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly has spoken about Vietnam’s importance in her country’s Indo-Pacific strategy and the prospects of bilateral cooperation.
While on a visit to Vietnam on April 13-14, she said at a press conference in Hanoi on Thursday that it was her first trip to Asia, and she had wanted to make sure that she came to Vietnam.
“We are in the midst of developing Canada’s Indo Pacific strategy, and we see Vietnam as a very strategic partner.”
The Indo-Pacific Strategy has been developed over the past few years and is expected to be released this summer.
In January Canada’s leading newspaper The Globe and Mail quoted two sources as saying the strategy related to establishing a larger diplomatic footprint in the Indo-Pacific.
Responding to a question about Vietnam’s role, Joly said the country would be extremely important to Canada’s Indo Pacific strategy and “that is why I am in Vietnam.”
“We’re here to work with Vietnam, to work with ASEAN countries. And we think it’s the best way to make sure that there’s stability in the region, and that stability will help economic development and trade.”
She said she had been amazed by the hospitality of the Vietnamese people.
Over the last 50 years Canada and Vietnam have established a strong relationship, but there is room to grow, she said.
There are very strong people-to-people ties between Vietnam and Canada, she said, pointing out that Vietnamese rank third in the number of international students in Canada, with 19,000-20,000 arriving annually.
“I’m here to make sure that we continue to be strong together, and that we can find solutions for the future to [ensure] stability in the region.”
Despite Covid, bilateral trade increased by nearly 19 percent in 2021 to US$6 billion.
In the fight against the pandemic, Canada donated 120,000 masks to Vietnam and 3.5 million Canadian dollars (US$2.77 million) for the ASEAN Covid-19 Response Fund in 2021.
Speaking about cooperation in future, Joly said Canada is looking at the impacts of climate change on Vietnam and how it can help Vietnam make the transition, and it was part of conversations she had with Vietnamese leaders.
Vietnam is willing to make sure it becomes carbon neutral by 2050, and Canada has a lot of key technologies and solutions to help, she said.
Net zero emissions can be achieved by a transition to a green economy and renewable energy, with the remaining emissions absorbed by forests and oceans.
Canada could provide Vietnam with raw materials needed for clean tech, energy for the transition such as liquefied natural gas and financing for energy projects, Joly said.
“And that would be good for Vietnamese people, it would be good for Canadians as well. Because climate change impacts the entire planet, and it is important that we focus together on that priority.”
By Phuong Vu – VnExpress.net – April 14, 2022
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