Vietnam, Indonesia agree to maritime boundary | india | Hindustan Times
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Vietnam, Indonesia agree to maritime boundary

Vietnam and Indonesia signed an agreement on Thursday after 25 years of negotiations over their maritime boundary in a potentially oil-rich area of the South China Sea.

india Updated: Jun 26, 2003 14:59 IST

Vietnam and Indonesia signed an agreement on Thursday after 25 years of negotiations over their maritime boundary in a potentially oil-rich area of the South China Sea.

The accord was inked in Hanoi by Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien and his Indonesian counterpart Wassan Wirajuda in the presence of the heads of state of the two ASEAN countries, Tran Duc Luong and Megawati Sukarnoputri.

Luong and Megawati, who arrived in Vietnam on Wednesday on the last stop of an Asian tour that has taken her to Bangladesh, Mongolia and Japan, also agreed on a framework to boost bilateral political and economic cooperation.

"Most important is the signing of the deal between Vietnam and the Republic of Indonesia on a friendly, comprehensive partnership entering the 21st Century," Luong said.

"This document provides the guidelines, directions and principles for Vietnam-Indonesia relations in the future so it is an agreement of great significance."

The two nations also inked a bilateral "counter-trade" agreement and a visa exemption accord. Diplomats refused to reveal any further details.

Speaking at the signing ceremony in the Presidential Palace, Megawati, dressed in a purple blouse and matching skirt, hailed the "continental shelf border agreement" over which bilateral negotiations began in 1978.

"This concluded a long process of negotiations for more than 20 years. In this regard I wish to thank the government of Vietnam for its cooperation that led to its successful conclusion," she said.

The area involved is located in the southern part of the South China Sea, east of the Malaysian peninsula and north of the island of Borneo.

Following the agreement, Indonesia is expected to proceed with plans to exploit suspected oil and gas reserves in the waters around the Natuna islands, according to sources close to the visiting delegation.

Megawati said she hoped the implementation of the series of agreements "will intensify our bilateral relations and cooperation in the future."