Indonesia, Vietnam to Battle Corruption

JAKARTA ~ Indonesia and Vietnam agreed this week to cooperate in efforts to eradicate corruption, Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said after the nation’s two leaders held talks.

Vietnam’s visiting Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono witnessed on Wednesday the signing of an agreement to work together to fight corruption, Wirayuda said.

“This is technical cooperation … The cooperation we want to promote is an exchange of experience in the eradication of corruption,” he told reporters.

Dung, who arrived here on the first leg of a swing through five members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has won praise at home for his tough stance on corruption.

Yudhoyono was elected president in 2004 on an anti-corruption platform, but critics have said the fight has been slow and not impartial.

Dung and Yudhoyono, who made no comments to the press after the meeting, also witnessed another agreement signed on tourism and culture, Wirayuda said.

The two countries were also keen to boost bilateral trade, which stood at US$1.7 billion in 2006, as well as to develop ties in energy now that they had agreed on their maritime border in the South China Sea, he said.

Defense and security links would also be boosted, he added.

Dung, who was reelected as premier on July 25, was welcomed on arrival by Yudhoyono in an official ceremony that included 19 cannon shots.

The Vietnamese leader was scheduled to lay a wreath at a cemetery and meet with members of the Indonesian chamber of commerce and industry on Thursday before flying to his next destination, the Philippines.

He was to return to Vietnam before heading to Singapore, Myanmar and Brunei.

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