Transcript: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s comments at a media briefing following bilateral discussions with his Vietnamese counterpart Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, Hanoi, Vietnam

Thank you Vice President Thinh, I would like to thank you and the representatives of the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. I thank you for extending such a warm welcome to me and my delegation.

This is a high powered delegation from the Republic of South Africa visiting Vietnam – a clear demonstration of the importance that we ascribe to the relationship between our two countries.

Vietnam is a very important partner of our country. To this end we have brought Deputy Ministers who are involved in a number of disciplines such as Defence, International Cooperation, Environmental Affairs, Public Enterprises, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

These are ladies and gentlemen who are chatting a way forward for South Africa to ensure that we improve the lives of our people. It is very pleasing that you have received us in the way that you have.

The relationship between South Africa and Vietnam goes back a long way. The formal establishment of diplomatic relations were preceded by long relationships at a very deep level when our country was in struggle. We received a lot of support from Vietnam for which we are grateful.

Being here means we have come to learn how you have succeeded in developing your own country.

You have been able to reduce poverty in your own country. You have been able to industrialize your country, and the success that you have achieved in Vietnam is a success that we have noticed and we would like to also get to.

Coming to learn here, all of us want to focus on a number of areas, areas of mutual interests between our two countries.

It is pleasing Vice President that the relationship between Vietnam and South Africa span a number of areas. Areas such as Defence, we are currently involved in discussions with yourselves in defence. We exchanged views in our meeting that it would be wonderful if South Africa and Vietnam could deepen their own cooperation on defence matters.

We have technology transfer that we can extend to Vietnam and we agreed that you would look at that and consider what South Africa can offer to Vietnam. Cooperation on trade issues is also quite pleasing, the trade investment between our two countries has decreased. We would obviously like to see a better balance between our two countries.

Where there is a deficit on our side, we would like that to be properly balanced where South Africa can continue to export a number of other products to your country.

In this regard we are looking at the agricultural sector, where we believe that our agricultural products can come into Vietnam, particularly beef animal can be brought into Vietnam.

That cooperation can extend beyond agriculture. It can come into mining products as well. The technology that we have in mining is quite extensive. We would like that also to be part of the area where we can cooperate.

On the education side we have been able to gain a lot from yourselves as Vietnam, you have extended scholarships to our young people to come and learn the ocean economy here, particularly when it comes to ship building, maritime area, so we thank you for that. Clearly we would like to see more scholarships being offered and this is an areas we discussed and agreed to.

So the many areas where we cooperate, are areas where we can deepen the relationship between our two countries. We are very pleased that we have a special relationship with Vietnam and this relationship can be extended even further.

One of the areas we discussed was how South Africa should look at Vietnam as the gateway into the Asian countries trade market. We also expressed a wish that Vietnam should keep South Africa as the gateway into Africa.

Lastly one of the areas we discussed was on Biodiversity. We reconfirmed our commitment to conserving wildlife. Both of our countries participated in the recent Cities conference and this re-commitment was important for us.

Vietnam, as expressed by the Vice President, is very much alive to the concerns that we have as South Africa in relation to the continued conservation of our wildlife, particularly the Rhino.

We were very pleased to hear the Vice President saying that, they as Vietnam, join us in this.

They are equally committed to conserving wildlife and are raising the level of consciousness and knowledge in the Vietnamese community about the importance of conserving wildlife.

I can say that we leave tomorrow, Vietnam, filled with a great deal of confidence, that indeed our relationship with Vietnam is getting deeper and deeper and expansive as we move on and at a trade level there is a commitment that we will broaden it and diversify trade between the two countries and that to us is pleasing. Vice President I would like to thank you for receiving our delegation in the warmest way that you have.

Thank you very much.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa.