Australia to lift relations with Vietnam to new heights

VOV.VN - The Australian Government considers Vietnam as one of its key partners in the Indo-Pacific region and wants to lift bilateral relationship to a level of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne made the statement while co-chairing the second annual meeting between the Australian and Vietnamese Ministries of Foreign Affairs with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

At the virtually held meeting, Payne voiced Australia’s support for strengthening cooperation with Vietnam in the post-COVID period, especially in economic recovery efforts.

She said Australia will provide Vietnam with technical assistance in agriculture and market access, and encourage Australian businesses to increase investment in Vietnam in the areas of mutual interest such as telecommunications, infrastructure, high-tech agriculture, finance-banking, mining, and energy.

Australia will increase official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam and create conditions for Vietnamese students to return to Australia for study soon, Payne assured Minh.

The Australian diplomat congratulated Vietnam on the successful control of the COVID-19 epidemic, and extended the Australian Government’s sympathy over huge human and property losses caused by prolonged floods in some central provinces. She emphasized that Australia always stands side by side with and is ready to assist Vietnam in overcoming the consequences of natural disasters while enhancing cooperation in combating the COVID-19 epidemic.

Payne spoke highly of Vietnam’s role as ASEAN Chair 2020 and affirmed that Australia will work closely with Vietnam to ensure the success of the upcoming meetings, including the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN plus Australia summit, and a summit of countries participating in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

For his part, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh appreciated Australia’s commitments to cooperating with and supporting Vietnam in all domains, including natural disasters and epidemic prevention through access to vaccine sources, economic cooperation and ODA, as well as through UN peacekeeping operations. He welcomed Australia’s decision to establish an Australia - Vietnam Center in Vietnam.

Minh proposed that the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs work closely to promote high-level exchanges and contacts, as well as to implement cooperation mechanisms between the two countries and the two ministries.

Both sides agreed to discuss appropriate measures and mechanisms for an early resumption of flights between the two countries when conditions allow.

Expressing concerns about the East Sea situation, the two sides emphasized the importance of strengthening cooperation, maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight, and peacefully settling disputes in the sea in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The two Ministers agreed to enhance cooperation and support each other at regional and international mechanisms and forums such as the United Nations, ASEAN, EAS, and the Mekong sub-region.

Minister Payne said Australia will actively support the Lower Mekong countries through existing mechanisms such as the Friends of the Lower Mekong (FLM), and the Ayeyawady - Chao Phraya - Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) in major fields in order to increase their capacity building and achieve sustainable socio-economic development.

At the end of the meeting, the two sides signed an Action Plan to implement the Vietnam - Australia Strategic Partnership for the 2020-2023 period.

The Action Plan focuses on strengthening economic cohesion; boosting strategic defense and security cooperation; building a knowledge and innovation partnership; and deepening the strategic partnership between the two countries.