VOV.VN - Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is scheduled to pay an official visit to Vietnam on June 3-4 at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chinh, aiming to foster the strategic partnership between the two countries.
Vietnam and Australia established diplomatic relations on February 26, 1973. Bilateral relations have over the past five decades developed vigorously, especially since the two countries upgraded their relationship to the level of strategic partnership five years ago.
The Vietnam visit, the first in Albanese’s capacity as Australian Prime Minister and the third by an Australian Prime Minister, shows the Australian Government led by Albanese’s Labour Party attaches special importance to and wants to strengthen relations with Vietnam, said Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Nguyen Tat Thanh.
The visit comes hot on the heels of the Hanoi visit in April 2023 by Australian Governor-General David Hurley. Also in April 2023, Australian Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell visited Vietnam. Previously, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles visited Vietnam in November 2022, launching the first annual Defense Dialogue between the two countries. Foreign Minister Penny Wong also chose Vietnam as the first country in Southeast Asia to visit after the new Australian government was formed in May 2022.
Meanwhile, National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue visited Australia late last year – the first by a senior Vietnamese leader to Australia in the past five years. Previously, Politburo member and Head of the Central Committee's Internal Affairs Committee Phan Dinh Trac also visited Australia. In September 2022, Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son also travelled to Australia to formulate the annual working mechanism between the two foreign ministers.
It’s noteworthy that following a phone call in October, 2022, Chinh twice met Albanese on the sidelines of the 40th ASEAN Summit in November 2022, and the expanded G7 Summit in May 2023. Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong also held a meeting with PM Albanese on the sidelines of the coronation ceremony of British King Charles III in May 2023.
Those subsequent high-level meetings and visits show that both sides are making every effort to further strengthen bilateral relations.
Vietnam is one of important partners for Australia in Southeast Asia. Over the past year, Australia has proactively taken strong and comprehensive steps towards ASEAN neighbours, as evidenced by appointing a special envoy for Southeast Asia, developing a Southeast Asia economic strategy to 2040 and increasing its official development assistance (ODA) for the region after establishing the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with ASEAN.
Vietnam is an increasingly important economic and strategic partner for Australia in Southeast Asia, an area of focus for the Albanese Government, according to a media release of the Australian Government prior to the trip.
The Australian PM’s upcoming visit is of great significance as it will help to forge a closer partnership in the new period both bilaterally and multilaterally, whilst simultaneously tightening personal relations between the two countries’ leaders, Ambassador Thanh told Canberra-based VOV correspondent Viet Nga.
During his two-day stay in Hanoi, Albanese who is leader of the Australian Labour Party, is scheduled to meet with senior Vietnamese leaders, including General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong.
It’s worth remembering that Australia, under the rule of the Labour Party, welcomed Vietnamese Party General Secretaries on official visits in 1995 and 2009. The meeting between the two leaders in Hanoi this time is therefore expected to strengthen strategic trust and lay the foundations for a strong partnership between the two parties and the two countries over the coming decades, said the Ambassador.
The two PMs will also hold talks to outline orientations for bilateral and multilateral cooperation. They will spend time discussing ways to boost trade, investment, and education links, and to expand cooperation on climate, energy, and the environment.
The two sides are set to review the realisation of an action plan to implement the Vietnam – Australia Strategic Partnership and the Australia-Vietnam Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy.
Given the current context, the two countries are likely to prioritise cooperation in mutually-beneficial and complementary fields such as climate change response, digital transformation, green development, clean energy, and sustainable and coordinated supply chains in the Mekong sub-region, ASEAN, and other regional and international forums. These are believed to be new pillars of linkages which can serve to elevate the Vietnam - Australia Strategic Partnership to new heights.
The relations between both sides have developed effectively and substantially across all fields since the two countries upgraded ties to the level of a strategic partnership in 2018.
Currently, Australia makes up Vietnam’s seventh largest trading partner, whilst the country is the Australian side’s 10th largest trading partner. Vietnam has always received strong Australian support, especially in the fields of education - training and strategic infrastructure development. Last year saw two-way trade turnover reach US$15.7 billion, up nearly 27% compared to 2021.
Both countries have underscored the need to take their strategic partnership to a new level in order to boost bilateral cooperation amid a rapidly changing world. During previous meetings, senior leaders of the two countries agreed that they would announce the upgrade at an appropriate time.
Ambassador Thanh expressed his belief that Albanese’s visit would create a new framework for bilateral relations to further develop across all channels, while simultaneously deepening strategic trust and moving towards the two countries’ common vision for the next 50 years.