The trip has not only enhanced Vietnam-Indonesia bilateral relations, which began and flourished after the 1955 Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung, West Java, but also reached the next level of cooperation, with both nations being part of ASEAN.

President Sang met President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Thursday and discussed a number of political issues, with the territorial dispute in the South China Sea at the top of the agenda.

The dispute is a strategic and critical issue as it involves four ASEAN member countries as claimant states: Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, as well as China and Taiwan. Also discussed was the support for Indonesia’s and Vietnam’s bids to be non-permanent members in the next term of the UN Security Council.

The two countries have signed 30 agreements since 1955 and both leaders added to that this week, signing three bilateral agreements: an extradition treaty on criminal matters, mutual legal assistance in law enforcement and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on agricultural cooperation.

On Friday, President Sang, along with representatives of Vietnam’s top 20 companies, met with 10 Indonesian CEOs.

The meeting was apparently part of the Friendly and Comprehensive Partnership Agreement signed in 2003 and the Strategic Partnership Action Plan 2012-2015 signed in 2011. Both agreements were the foundation for the setting of a bilateral trade target of US$5 billion by 2015.

Trade between Indonesia and Vietnam has grown over the last few years. Last year, the trade value reached $4.86 billion, compared to $4.7 billion in 2011.

Indonesia mainly imports rice, steel, textiles and footwear from Vietnam, while it exports wood, paper, electronic goods and chemicals.

Vietnam has always been a good friend to Indonesia. Both born in 1945 in the struggle against colonialism, afterward both countries stood with each other in the non-aligned movement.

It was Vietnam that offered Indonesia a helping hand when the latter was hit hard by the financial crisis in the wake of the 1965 power transfer from Sukarno to Soeharto and was in urgent need of rice to feed its people. To this day we are still importing rice from Vietnam. For this amity, we must say thank you to Vietnam, our old friend.

The Jakarta Post - June 29 2013


SBY, Sang agree to solve sea dispute peacefully

The first official visit by Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang highlighted the importance of a strategic bilateral partnership and a peaceful resolution to the South China Sea dispute.

“We agreed to realize a strategic partnership that would bring real benefits to both countries, as well as internationally,” Yudhoyono told a joint press conference after the meeting at the State Palace, Jakarta, on Thursday.

The issue regarding the territorial dispute in the South China Sea, or as Vietnam calls it the East Sea, was also up for discussion.

Four ASEAN member states and China all lay claim to areas in the South China Sea. Many fear the disputes could lead to armed conflict.

“We talked about the issue in order to solve the problem peacefully. The spirit is to have a peaceful resolution,” Yudhoyono said.

The two leaders hope to realize what has been agreed by ASEAN and China, moving from the Declaration on the Conduct DoC of parties in the South China Sea to a Code of Conduct CoC on the South China Sea, which would be advantageous for all parties.

According to Yudhoyono, the two countries would support each other’s bids to be a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council next term.

In additional to over 30 agreements signed since diplomatic ties were first established in late 1955, an extradition treaty on criminal matters, mutual legal assistance in law enforcement agreement and a memorandum of understanding on agriculture cooperation were all signed.

Both countries, following a Friendly and Comprehensive Partnership Agreement in 2003 and a Strategic Partnership Action Plan 2012-2015 in 2011, set a bilateral trade target of US$5 billion by 2015.

Trade between Indonesia and Vietnam has increased over the last few years. Last year, trade value reached $4.86 billion, compared to $4.7 billion in 2011.

Indonesia mainly imports rice, steel, textiles and footwear from Vietnam, while it exports wood, paper, electronic goods and chemicals.

Sang, along with representatives from Vietnam’s top 20 companies, is set to have direct meetings with 10 Indonesian CEOs on Friday.

Indonesia’s PT Semen Gresik has bought a 70 percent stake in Vietnam’s biggest cement company, Thang Long, for $157 million.

By Ina Parlina - The Jakarta Post - June 28 2013