Vietnam-New Zealand Relations
The bilateral relations at glance
The Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and New Zealand established diplomatic relations on 16 June 1975. But it was not until May 2003 Viet Nam officially opened its own Embassy in Wellington. On the other hand, in 1995, New Zealand opened its Embassy in Ha Noi, and Trade New Zealand (now New Zealand Trade and Enterprise) established a commercial office / Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City.
Cooperation and contact between our two countries has flourished in recent years, boosted by Viet Nam's rapid economic growth and its deepening regional and global integration into the Asia-Pacific region and global economy. The bilateral relationship now features regular high level political visits, expanding trade and business links, ongoing development assistance (ODA) and expanding cooperation in newer areas such as science and technology, two-way investment, education links and trade in services. These fresh opportunities consolidate some lasting, traditional ties such as the New Zealand Aid Programme's "English Language Teaching for Officials" (ELTO) Programme, which has seen over 400 mid-level and senior Vietnamese officials spend extended time in New Zealand since the early 1990s.
In September 2009 the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Viet Nam Central Committee H.E. Mr Nong Duc Manh and New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key issued a Joint Statement establishing a bilateral Comprehensive Partnership. Under the Comprehensive Partnership, both countries commit to taking our bilateral relationship to a new level in a range of different sectors including trade and business, science and technology, agriculture, education, defence, policing, development assistance and customs cooperation. An Action Plan for 2013-2016 (the second such Action Plan) containing specific initiatives to help implement the Partnership was signed by New Zealand Ambassador to Viet Nam, Haike Manning, and Viet Nam Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh in Hanoi in August 2013.
Political exchanges and parliamentary links
Regular senior leaders' visits in both directions have occurred over the past several years.
In May 2005 Prime Minister Phan Van Khai marked the 30th anniversary of New Zealand/Viet Nam diplomatic relations by a visit to New Zealand. President Nguyen Minh Triet visited as Head of State in September 2007, and Deputy Prime Minister (and then Minister of Education) Nguyen Thien Nhan in February 2008. In September 2009, General Secretary Nong Duc Manh's visit added to this pattern of high-level contact. Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also visited Auckland and Wellington in April 2012.
Prime Minister John Key reciprocated by coming twice to Viet Nam in 2010, including a bilateral visit in July to commemorate 35 years of bilateral diplomatic relations. Viet Nam's role in 2010 as Chair of ASEAN and the EAS saw Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Murray McCully and other New Zealand ministers also visit Viet Nam that year. Minister McCully returned to Viet Nam in November 2012 and March 2014.
Contact between respective parliaments/legislatures has also increased. Members of Viet Nam's National Assembly led by Chairman Nguyen Van An visited New Zealand in July 2004. Since then, several Vietnamese Parliamentary and other delegations have visited New Zealand to study topics such as governance and the role of the Ombudsman, defence and security, science and technology, education, economic policy, judicial systems and indigenous peoples' policies. A New Zealand/Viet Nam Parliamentary Friendship Group, designed to forge greater links and understanding between our two parliaments was established in July 2007. The New Zealand Speaker of Parliament Hon Dr Lockwood Smith visited Viet Nam in April 2009, and the Vice-President of the National Assembly Dr Uong Chu Luu visited New Zealand in June 2010.
Major Vietnamese visits to New Zealand
Feb 2004: Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien
May 2005: Prime Minister Phan Van Khai (30th anniversary of diplomatic relations)
Oct 2006: Vice President Mme Truong My Hoa
Sep 2007: President of Viet Nam, HE Mr Nguyen Minh Triet,
Feb 2008: Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Education and Training Hon Nguyen Thien Nhan
Sep 2009: General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Viet Nam, H.E. Mr Nong Duc Manh
Jan 2010: Vice Minister of Science & Technology, Mr Nguyen Quan
Feb 2010: Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Doan Xuan Hung
Feb 2010: Vice Minister of Industry & Trade, Mr Nguyen Thanh Bien
Mar 2010: Vice Minister of Transport, Mr Nguyen Hong Truong
Mar 2010: Vice Minister of Defence, Lt Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh
Jun 2010: Vice Chairman of National Assembly, Dr Uong Chu Luu
Jul 2010: Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, HE Mme Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan
Feb 2011: Vice Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Mr Nguyen Thanh Hoa
Mar 2012: Party Secretary / PPC Chair of Da Nang, Mr Nguyen Ba Thanh
Apr 2012: Deputy Prime Minister and Politburo Member HE Mr Nguyen Xuan Phuc, accompanied by Minister of Justice HE Mr Ha Hung Cuong, Prosecutor-General HE Mr Nguyen Hoa Binh and Inspector-General HE Mr Huynh Phong Tranh
Jul 2012: Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Diep Kinh Tan
Nov 2012: Vice Minister of Defence, Senior Lt Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh
Mar 2013: Minister of Defence and Politburo Member HE General Phung Quang Thanh
Sep 2013: Hanoi Party Secretary Mr Pham Quang Nghi
Major New Zealand visits to Viet Nam:
Oct 2003: Rt Hon Helen Clark, Prime Minister
May 2004: Hon Trevor Mallard, Minister of Education
Jul 2004: Hon Phil Goff, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Nov 2005: H.E. Dame Silvia Cartwright, Governor-General
Jun 2006: Hon Phil Goff, Minister of Trade (APEC)
Nov 2006: Rt Hon Helen Clark, Prime Minister (APEC Leaders Meeting)
Feb 2008: Hon Rick Barker, Minister of Veterans' Affairs/Civil Defence
Mar 2008: Hon Chris Carter, Minister of Education/Ethnic Affairs
Apr 2009: Hon Lockwood Smith, Speaker of Parliament, & cross-party MPs
Jan 2010: Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Mar 2010: Major General Rhys Jones, New Zealand Chief of Army
July 2010: Rt Hon John Key, Prime Minister
July 2010: Hon. Murray McCully (ASEAN Regional Forum)
Aug 2010: Hon Tim Groser, Minister of Trade (ASEAN-CER Economic Ministers Meeting)
Oct 2010: Hon Wayne Mapp, Minister of Defence (ASEAN Defence Mins +)
Oct 2010: Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key and Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs (including EAS Summit)
Oct 2011: Police Commissioner Howard Broad (Interpol General Conference)
Sept 2012: Chief of NZ Navy, Rear Adm. Tony Parr
Nov 2012: Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Aug 2013: Governor General of New Zealand, Lt Gen the Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae
Sept 2013: Hon Bill English, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence
Nov 2013: Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, Minister of Defence
Mar 2014: Hon Steven Joyce, Minister of Economic Development and Minister of Education
Mar 2014: Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs
In addition to these bilateral exchanges, leaders, ministers and officials of both countries meet regularly in multilateral and regional fora. These include the United Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Community (APEC), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF, where New Zealand has dialogue partner status), and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).