HANOI, Mar 9 (AFP): Malaysia's foreign minister praised Thursday his host Vietnam as Asia's next "tiger" economy and a good partner for trade and investment.
"Vietnam will be one of the most successful countries," said Syed Hamid Albar, predicting that within five years "they are going to be a tiger of Southeast Asia, or a dragon.
"They are going to be a member of the WTO (World Trade Organisation), their economy is more open and their people are very hard-working. They have got all the right chemistry for success."
Syed Hamid was due to meet President Tran Duc Luong and Prime Minister Phan Van Khai after earlier talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Dy Nien on issues including ways to boost two-way trade from 2.2 billion dollars now.
The two ministers also discussed political and security issues, including ASEAN's approach to military-ruled Myanmar, and bilateral cooperation in tourism, education, immigration, aviation and energy, he said.
"Our national company (Petronas) is already here. We are looking at the possibility of more collaboration in the South China Sea between the two countries, whether for oceanic research or for exploitation of resources."
Communist Vietnam, which has enjoyed 7.0-8.0 per cent economic growth in recent years, is now negotiating membership of the WTO. Hanoi will host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit later this year.