Wellington, July 22 NZPA - New Zealand's relationship with Vietnam and other members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) has been promoted during a visit by Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.
He and Vietnamese counterpart Pham Gia Khiem today signed an action plan to guide the bilateral relationship.
The meeting identified areas such as trade, investment, aid, education, science, technology, trans-boundary co-operation and collaboration with regional and international organisations where the two countries could work together, Mr McCully said.
"It is an ambitious document but one which will guide the relationship to ensure that the excellent bilateral cooperation that we already enjoy achieves full potential."
Vietnam was a close and valued partner for New Zealand, said Mr McCully, who is in Vietnam to attend a series of regional meetings.
Prime Minister John Key visited Vietnam this month to celebrate 35 years of diplomatic relations.
Today Mr McCully announced 100 new education scholarships for Asean countries to develop emerging leaders and civil service capabilities.
The scholarships will allow people from Asean countries to travel to New Zealand.
A young business leaders exchange programme and programmes that cover agricultural development and disaster risk management were also launched.
Mr McCully said the growing strength of New Zealand's relationship with Asean, through such initiatives, was being matched by increased trade.
Asean was now New Zealand's third-largest trading partner with two-way trade of around $10 billion last year.
Asean countries include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos. Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.