German Chancellor Angela Merkel said eurozone countries have the "political will" to overcome the debt crisis threatening Europe''s shaky banking sector. Merkel spoke to reporters Tuesday in Hanoi after meeting with her Vietnamese counterpart, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, as part of a two-day visit to Vietnam aimed to boost trade ties with the communist country. "Eurozone countries have the political will to overcome this public debt crisis. The root of the problem is problems with the banks," Merkel told reporters in remarks translated live from German to Vietnamese. Compared with Vietnam and other countries with young populations, Merkel added, European countries will face greater challenges as they try to reduce their public debts. Merkel and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung signed a "strategic partnership" agreement similar to ones Vietnam has signed with seven other countries including China, Russia, Japan and South Korea. Speaking at a joint press conference, Dung said there is room for the two countries to expand their trade, which stood at $5 billion last year. Germany is Vietnam''s largest European trading partner. Vietnam''s bilateral trade with China and the United States, respectively, stands at more than $30 billion and more than $20 billion. But the U.S. and the European Union often criticize Vietnam for imprisoning bloggers and activists who challenge the single-party government''s authority. "Developing human rights as well as religious freedom and freedom of the press is very important," Merkel said. Merkel who is accompanied by a German business delegation, will also visit Ho Chi Minh City where she will attend a business forum. She is scheduled to depart Vietnam on Wednesday and travel to Mongolia.