HANOI, Aug 26 (Bernama) – Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrived in Hanoi today for his inaugural official visit to Vietnam, after becoming the prime minister for second time in May last year.
The special aircraft carrying Dr Mahathir touched down at the Noi Bai International Airport at 8.20 PM local time (an hour behind Malaysia time).
Upon arrival, he was welcomed by Minister and Chief of Government Office of Vietnam Mai Tien Dung.
The three-day official visit after 21 years was at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The last time Dr Mahathir embarked on a working visit to Vietnam was in 1998 to attend the ASEAN Summit.
Dr Mahathir’s programme kicks-off tonight where he will attend a dinner with the Malaysian diaspora in Vietnam.
Tomorrow, the prime minister will attend an official welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace.
Later, Dr Mahathir and his counterpart, Nguyen Xuan Phuc will hold a restricted meeting and followed by a Malaysia-Vietnam delegation meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Both leaders are expected to discuss bilateral ties and also promote new cooperation initiatives in various fields including trade and investment as well as regional and international issues to strengthen bilateral ties and spur trade to US$15 billion (RM63 billion) next year.
After the meeting, both leaders will witness an exchange of letters for the Establishment of Malaysia- Vietnam Parliamentary Friendship Group and followed by a joint media conference.
On the same day, Dr Mahathir will hold a dialogue with Malaysian businessmen and investors involving 27 Malaysian companies operating in Vietnam.
Dr Mahathir will attend an official dinner hosted by Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister will visit the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park. On the same day, he will speak at University FPT on “Malaysia’s Preparation in dealing with IR 4.0” apart from visiting an exhibition of VinFast cars made in Vietnam.
Apart from that, Dr Mahathir will also visit Noi Bai Industrial Zone (NBIZ) in which he performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the project in 1996.
Vietnam is an important economic partner to Malaysia. Last year, the value of Malaysia-Vietnam trade stood at US$13.3 billion (RM55.7 billion).
“Malaysian exports to Vietnam exceeded US$8.48 billion (RM35.5 billion) while imports from Vietnam totalled US$4.77 billion (RM20 billion).
Malaysia is now the 11th largest trading partner to Vietnam while Vietnam is the 13th largest trading partner to Malaysia in the world and the 4th largest in ASEAN after Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.
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