Other External Relations
This section provides a brief overview of Vietnam's relations with ASEAN members, Japan, Korea, Australia, South Asia, Europe, Cuba, and Latin America.
In December 1998, Vietnam hosted the sixth ASEAN summit in Hanoi. Foreign Minister Nguyen Manh Cam used this opportunity to lobby strongly for Cambodia's admission into ASEAN. ASEAN leaders, however, agreed to admit Cambodia at a later date. On 30 April a ceremony was held in Hanoi to formally welcome Cambodia as ASEAN's tenth member. Immediately after the ASEAN summit, Vietnam received the President of the Philippines, Joseph Estrada, on a two-day official visit. The former President of the Philippines, Fidel Ramos, visited Hanoi in March. The Foreign Minister of Brunei and the Philippine Defense Minister both visited Hanoi in April. In mid-year Thailand and Vietnam held the sixth session of their Joint Commission for Economic Co-operation at ministerial level. On 19 July the commanders of the Thai and Vietnamese navies signed a memorandum of understanding on joint sea patrol in the Gulf of Thailand. Vietnam received an Indonesian parliamentary delegation that same month.
In December 1998 Japan pledged a 102.3 billion yen aid package to Vietnam to assist in developing its infrastructure. Prime Minister Phan Van Khai visited Japan from 28 to 30 March 1999. In discussions Japan pledged more than 10 billion yen in tied loans. Each party extended most-favoured-nation status to the other. In April, in response to a written request from Prime Minister Khai, Japan informed Southeast Asian finance ministers that it would include Vietnam in the US$30 billion Miyazawa Plan. Vietnam was allocated US$160 million in concessional loans under this plan. In January 1999 the Republic of Korea announced that it would provide Vietnam with US$5.3 million in non-refundable development aid that year. In April, South Korea and Vietnam held the fourth meeting of their Joint Economic Co-operation Committee in Hanoi. South Korea is Vietnam's fourth largest foreign investor with 242 projects capitalized at US$3.2 billion. In July, Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Hong Soon-Young visited Hanoi for discussion on ways to expand bilateral economic ties.
In late January 1999 Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Nguyen Manh Cam paid an official visit to India to attend the ninth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Economic, Cultural, Scientific, and Technical Co-operation. On the eve of his visit it was announced that India and Vietnam had reached agreement on co-operation in nuclear energy. In May, Vietnam received the Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
In February 1999 Australia and Vietnam held the fifth meeting of their Joint Trade and Economic Co-operation Committee at ministerial level. Vietnam agreed to lift duties that discriminated against Australian dairy exports to Vietnam. Bilateral trade, which grew 39 per cent in 1998, reached US$1 billion for the first time. Prime Minister Phan Van Khai paid an official visit to Australia from 31 March to 3 April. At this time Australia announced it would increase its official development assistance to Vietnam to A$236 million for the 1998-2001 period. …