Looking back the process of cooperation between Tien Giang province and Myanmar partners on the 45th anniversary of establishing the diplomatic relations
Union of Myanmar or Burma as the other previous name is a country in Southeast Asia. Its former capital city was Yangon and nowadays it is Naypyidaw from January of 2006. Myanmar is bordered by China (2,185 Km), Laos (235 Km), Thailand (1,800 Km), India (1,463 Km), Bangladesh (193 Km) and the long coastal line (2,276 Km) (the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal). Its natural area is 676,578 km2; the population is about 56 million. There are 135 nationalities and ethnic groups with the most populous nationality as Burma occupying 68% of the total number, San - 9%, Karen - 7%, Rakhine - 4%, Chinese - 3%, Indian - 2%, Mon - 2% and other nationalities - 5%. Religion: Buddhism occupying 89%, Muslim - 4%, Christianity - 4% and other religions. Language is Burmese. Independence Day (National Day) is on 4/01/1948. Date of establishing the diplomatic relations with Vietnam is on 28/5/1975.
In terms of administration body Myanmar constituted the federal mechanism with 7 states and 7 administrative regions being the same as state. Regarding the political system, the most powerful agency is State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) chaired by President Than Shwe. SPDC is also constituted at every state or administrative region and at the local government. The head of the Central Government is Prime Minister Thein Sein. The cabinet of the Central Government is consisting of 35 members, all of whom are army generals. The legislature was firstly elected in 1990 with 485 candidates.
Vietnam and Myanmar both are members of ASEAN. Myanmar very early established the diplomatic relations with Vietnam since 1947, by which we opened the permanent representative office in Yangon. During the years of war for national independence and the country unification as well as the period of reconstruction and protection of country the Administration and the people of Myanmar actively supported Vietnam in spite of facing many difficulties and challenges. In terms of exchanging the high ranking delegations, in November of 1954, Prime Minister Unu took visit trip to Vietnam; and in February of 1958, President Ho Chi Minh also took a trip to Myanmar. After the date of the country unification both sides decided to level up the consular relations to embassy level; and officially established the diplomatic relations on 28/5/1975.
Since the time of setting up the relations, generally, there have been some remarkable progresses in the cooperation between Vietnam and Myanmar and bringing benefits to both sides. In August of 2017, on the occasion of the visit trip to Myanmar led by General Secretary, President Nguyen Phu Trong, both sides signed the common declaration of leveling up to "Comprehensive Partnership". According to the declaration, the relationship between Vietnam and Myanmar is identified in the new framework as the comprehensive partnership in all the fields, of which there are 5 backbones: i) Politics ii) Security and defense iii) Economics iv) Culture, Social affairs and People exchanges v) Regional and global cooperation.
Since the time of setting up the comprehensive partnership, both sides gained many positive results both in expansion and deepening the mutual relationship thanks to visits and meetings of high ranking delegations, signing many cooperation agreements in politics, economics, culture - social affairs, education - training... Looking back the process of the mutual cooperation during 45 past years there are some remarkable achievements as follows:
- In terms of politics, both sides have created trust between two incumbent parties and administrations. For the past two years, many high ranking delegations took visit trips to each other, typically as: General Secretary, President Nguyen Phu Trong's visit trip to Myanmar in August, 2017 as mentioned above; Vice President U Henry Van Thio's trip to Vietnam in March, 2018; Adviser to Myanmar State, Madame Daw Aung San Suu Kyi - April, 2018; President U Win Myint joining the UN VESAK Ceremony in May, 2019; and recently, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc's official trip to Myanmar from December 16th to 18th, 2019. Besides, there have been many other delegations led by Ministers, Vice Ministers of both countries (Diplomatic, Security, Defense, Industry and Trade, Science and Technology, Information and Telecommunication, Education and Training, Culture, Sports and Tourism...). Following those, the Vietnam National Assembly and National organizations as: Union of Friendship Associations, Women Union, Farmer Union also took their trips to Myanmar for strengthening the cooperation, including the delegations of provinces, cities, universities and regional army headquarters...
- Regarding economics and commerce, according to data of the Vietnam competent agencies, the mutual trading turnover has remarkably increased from 152 million USD in 2010 to approximately 860 million USD in 2018 and reached 1.2 billion USD in 2019; and early overcame the level of 01 billion USD in 2020 as planned with main exported products as means of transportation and their components, various kinds of mobile phones and their components, raw material for garments, shoes, machineries, equipment... and imported fruits and vegetables, normal metal, rubber, fisheries, wood and wooden products... The Vietnam investment in Myanmar has risen up over 2.1 billion USD with 25 projects, being ranked 7th among 50 countries and territories having investment in Myanmar. For the past three years from 2016 until 2019, the number of Vietnamese enterprises which have invested projects in Myanmar increased double times (From around 100 units in 2016 it has risen up 200 units by the end of 2019). The type of investment is also diversified: Joint venture, 100% investment capital, representative office, branch... and covered in many fields as construction, industrial production, finance - banking services, IT, telecommunication, tourism, services of delivering goods for people's use...
- In reference to culture and social affairs there are many identical features between Vietnam and Myanmar. Like Vietnam, Myanmar people save much time for worship, respect family values and festivals and ceremonies. Thanks to activities of cultural exchanges Myanmar people have opportunity to understand more about Vietnam; and vice versa, Vietnamese people also know more about the traditions, practices and living styles of Myanmar people. All of these have contributed in promoting tourism development and attracted more visitors to come to each country as well. In the other side, based on this foundation people of both countries have opportunity to connect and intensify the economic and trading cooperation due to their feelings of being friendlier and having trust in each other.
- In terms of security and defense, both armies have carried out much cooperation as young officer exchanges, opening training courses of foreign language and army medical services, defense industry, bettering management of border areas, fighting terrorism, illegal immigration, human trafficking, drug and cross-national crimes.
Regarding Tien Giang province, the cooperation between the province and Myanmar partners is still limited during the recent years, mostly taking place in export and import and tourism. According the data provided by Department of Industry and Trade, the trading turnover of 2019 has reached about 2.7 million USD, of which the export value attained about 1.1 million USD, increasing by 50% compared to 2018 with main products as rice, garments, shoes and bag; and the import was 1.6 million USD, increasing 10 times compared to 2018 with main products as raw materials for garments, bronze tube production, plastic seed. In terms of tourism, the number of Myanmar tourists coming to the province is still small, mostly Vietnamese visitors took their tours to Myanmar for worship objectives. There are some provincial companies to come to Myanmar for seeking opportunity to do investment and business; however, there have not been any ones to register for their investment released by Department of Planning and Investment. When citing the cooperation with Myanmar partners in the upcoming time, practically, there are many potentials and strengths needed to explore in terms of import and export of fruits, fisheries, promoting tourism and attracting investment of Tien Giang businesses to Myanmar.
With the itinerary of 45 year of cooperation and both being members of ASEAN, if two economies enter the close cooperation it will actively contribute in building the ASEAN economic community as strong as expected in the coming time. Privately, in terms of Tien Giang province, it is very necessary to strengthen the cooperation with Myanmar partners in the future time because it is an emerged market with 65 million people and under the well progress of development. It is sure that Myanmar will be a potential market for key products of the province in the trend of diversifying the market as desired by the Tien Giang businesse community./.
Translated by the Department of Foreign Affairs