In a significant development, Prime Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Vietnam’s President Vo Van Thuong have agreed to intensify cooperation in addressing the longstanding issue of illegal fishing in Malaysian waters. The leaders, meeting on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, emphasized the need for continued commitment from Vietnam in combatting illegal fishing activities, which have involved over 1,000 vessels and 10,000 crew members since 2006.
During the bilateral discussions, both leaders also tackled matters concerning the South China Sea, pledging full adherence to the Declaration of Conduct on the South China Sea and calling for the implementation of an effective Code of Conduct for the region.
Apart from addressing maritime concerns, the leaders explored avenues to enhance bilateral trade and cooperation. Anwar extended an invitation to President Vo Van Thuong for a state visit to Malaysia next year. Vietnam, Malaysia’s 12th largest global trading partner, saw a 16.4% increase in total bilateral trade in 2022, reaching US$19.44 billion.
In the realm of investments, Malaysia stands as Vietnam ’s 10th largest investor. Additionally, Vietnam sought Malaysia’s assistance in facilitating halal products from Vietnam and proposed sister-city cooperation between Vietnamese and Malaysian cities. The leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to ASEAN unity and expressed support for Laos’ Chairmanship of ASEAN in the coming year.