Vietnam fosters strategic partnership with Australia

13/9/2022| 15:39

The official Australia visit by Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son on September 10-13 is the first ministerial visit to Australia since the two countries reopened the door following the pandemic.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son and her Australian counterpart Penny Wong co-chaired the fourth Vietnam-Australia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Canberra on September 12, VNA reported Monday.

Vietnam fosters strategic partnership with AustraliaMinister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son and her Australian counterpart Penny Wong co-chaired the fourth Vietnam-Australia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (Photo: VNA)

They affirmed determination to strengthen bilateral strategic partnership on the back of long-standing friendship and cooperation.

The two ministers shared the view that bilateral ties have been growing in various areas. Trade and investment have become a spotlight in bilateral ties with two-way trade hitting USD 9.6 billion in seven months of this year, up nearly 40% annually. Progress has been seen in anti-crimes, culture, education, tourism and labour.

They discussed ways to further deepen strategic partnership, including holding visits at all levels and celebrations for the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties next year, bolstering bilateral economic-trade-investment ties.

Son suggested Australia expand the supply of official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam in new fields of demand, make it easier for Vietnam’s agro-fisheries to enter Australia, firstly passion fruit, pomelo and fresh shrimp.

Wong promised to offer all possible support to Vietnamese firms to do business in Australia as well as step up mutually beneficial cooperation in the fields of agriculture, clean energy and ODA.

About labour cooperation, they will revise the Memorandum of Understanding on Agriculture Visa programme to suit new situation.

Vietnam fosters strategic partnership with Australia Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son (right) and Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Penny Wong (Photo: VNA). 

On the occasion, Son suggested Australia increase quota for Vietnamese citizens to Australia under the Working Holiday Visa programme, as well as create conditions for the Vietnamese community in Australia to contribute to bilateral ties.

Both sides mulled ways to consolidate ties in traditional fields such as national defence-security, education-training and tourism. They vowed to reinforce coordination in new fields like climate change response, digital transformation, digital economy, energy and food security, and workforce training.

On regional and global issues of shared concern, they consented to continue offering mutual support at multilateral organisations and forums, especially at ASEAN and the United Nations.

Wong affirmed that Australia treasures comprehensive strategic partnership with ASEAN and ASEAN’s central role in the region. She pledged to boost collaboration for the sub-Mekong region’s sustainable development within the framework of the Mekong-Australia Partnership.

Both ministers also agreed to intensify cooperation at sea to maintain peace and stability in the region and the Bien Dong Sea.

In a September 12 media release following the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Canberra co-chaired by Wong and her visiting Vietnamese counterpart, she said that Australia and Vietnam reaffirmed their strong partnership during the event.

The two countries have supported each other throughout the pandemic, she wrote, adding that Australia will provide Vietnam with a further 4.2 million adult Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine doses, in addition to the 22.2 million doses delivered to date.

“Foreign Minister Son and I had warm and productive discussions about how we can further expand our Strategic Partnership. We also discussed ways to strengthen our climate change cooperation as both countries work towards meeting our commitments to net zero emissions by 2050,” added Wong. “Australia and Vietnam will mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year. Throughout 2023 we will reflect on our relationship and look forward to what we can achieve together”.

According to VNA, two-way trade hit all-time high to over AUD 18 billion in 2021 and USD 14 billion in seven months of this year, making Australia the seventh biggest trade partner of Vietnam and Vietnam the 10th biggest trade partner of the Pacific nation. Also, Australia is currently home to about 30,000 Vietnamese students.

Vietnam fosters strategic partnership with AustraliaVietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son (Right) and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (Photo: VNA) 

The same day, Son paid a courtesy visit to Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and highlighted the strong development of the Vietnam - Australia strategic partnership across fields, saying that mutual understanding and political trust have been strengthened; and economic - trade relations have been expanded with two-way turnover exceeding USD 10 billion.

The Minister suggested the Australian government and PM Albanese continue to pay attention to promoting cooperation with Vietnam, especially in new energy and climate change response, and help Vietnam fulfil its commitments at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).

He urged the two sides to actively prepare activities to celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of the diplomatic relations, including organising high-level visits, cultural and tourism activities, and people-to-people exchange.

For his part, Australian PM Albanese highlighted the significance of FM Son’s visit to Australia, saying that it contributes to further promoting the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Australia.

He congratulated Vietnam on its important achievements in socio-economic development, as well as the country’s increasing role and position in the region, and affirmed that the Australian government always considers Vietnam a friend and an important partner in ASEAN and the region, and always attach great importance to developing the Strategic Partnership with Vietnam.

Albanese affirmed his support for the Vietnamese FM’s proposals, expressing his belief that the two sides will discuss specific measures to expand and deepen the strategic partnership between the two countries at the 4th Vietnam-Australia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

He called on Vietnam to continue promoting its role in ASEAN, contributing to further fostering the ASEAN - Australia comprehensive strategic partnership.

The Vietnamese Embassy in Australia held a ceremony marking the 77th anniversary of Vietnam’s National Day on September 12 evening with the partipation of Vietnamese FM Bui Thanh Son and Australian Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Tim Watts.

Before that, Son visited the Vietnamese Embassy and asked the embassy to continue further boosting Vietnam-Australia ties, including the exchange of delegations at all levels toward the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties next year.