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(VOV) – Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao will pay an official visit to Vietnam from September 3-5 to foster bilateral relations.
This is his second visit to Vietnam following the first in 2005 as President of Timor Leste.
Located in Southeast Asia, the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste covers an area of 15,007 square kilometres with a population of more than 1.1 million.
It lives off on agriculture production which makes up 25% of the country’s GDP and employs up to 75% of the workforce. However, it still imports rice and other staples every year to feed its population.
The Southeast Asian nation has drawn up the national development programme till 2015, with top priority given to consolidating the administrative apparatus, reducing the number of poor households, and increasing national food capacity.
It aims to achieve a 5%GDP growth rate annually in the medium term and halve the number of people living under the poverty line by 2015. Currently 40% of its population are characterised as the poor.
Timor Leste became an ASEAN observer in 2002 and joined the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 2005 and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia in 2007.
It has established the National Secretariat on ASEAN and planned to become a full-fledged ASEAN member before 2015.
Timor Leste established diplomatic ties with Vietnam in 2002. Vietnam was one of the first countries recognising Timor Leste after the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) unilaterally declared independence in September 1975.
Both countries have exchanged a number of high-level delegation visits. Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Manh Cam attended a ceremony proclaiming the Independence of Timor Leste in 2003. Foreign Minister José Ramos Horta and President Xanana Gusmao visited Vietnam in 2003 and 2005 respectively.
Recently Foreign Minister Zacarias Albano da Costa and Minister for Tourism, Commerce and Industry Gil da Costa Alvis visited Vietnam in September 2009 and President Jose Ramos-Horta paid an official visit to Vietnam in 2010,
Vietnam and Timor Leste signed a framework agreement on economic and technological cooperation and established a joint committee for bilateral cooperation during a State-level visit to Vietnam in 2010 by President Jose Ramos-Horta.
Timor Leste opened its embassy in Hanoi in April 2012 and sent its ambassador to Vietnam seven months later.
Two-way trade between Vietnam and Timor Leste reached US$34 million in 2012, mostly from Vietnamese rice and seafood exports.
Both countries have potential for cooperation in the areas of agriculture, oil and gas, aquaculture and infrastructure construction.
Vietnam’s military-run telecom group Viettel is implementing a telecom project worth nearly US$15 million in Timor Leste.
Vietnam and Timor Leste are preparing to sign a bilateral trade agreement, an agreement on investment encouragement and protection, and memoranda of understanding on healthcare and agricultural cooperation.
During his visit to Vietnam this September, PM Gusmao will hold talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung and pay courtesy visits to Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, State President Truong Tan Sang and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung.
Gusmao’s visit shows Timor Leste’s desires to boost multifaceted cooperation and share national development experience with Vietnam.