Vietnam, Australia make great strides in bilateral ties

VOV.VN - Political and national defence-security relations between Vietnam and Australia have recorded marked qualitative improvements over the past five years, with the two sides sharing viewpoints and stances on many issues, both bilateral and multilateral.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Nguyen Tat Thanh made the statement during a recent media interview given on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the bilateral strategic partnership

They have maintained meetings and delegation exchanges, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, held online or on the sidelines of international conferences, according to the Ambassador.

In 2022 alone both sides co-ordinated efforts in organising visits to Australia by National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and Phan Dinh Trac, chief of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for Internal Affairs, as well as the visit to Vietnam by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles, he went on to say.

Multilaterally, Australia supports Vietnamese membership at the UN Human Rights Council for 2023 to 2025, as well as the UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage for the 2022 to 2026 term.

The countries are co-chairs of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)-run Southeast Asia Regional Programme (SEARP) for 2022 to 2025.

The bilateral ties in national defence and security have been strengthened through strategic dialogues, highlighting Australia’s English-language training courses for Vietnamese military personnel, as well as the country’s help in transporting servicemen and medical equipment from Vietnamese field hospital to South Sudan for UN peacekeeping operations, among other activities.

The two countries have also co-operated fruitfully in terms of crime combat, immigration management, and illegal migration prevention, he continued.

Bilateral trade has enjoyed spectacular growth, increasing by 20% annually in the 2018 to 2022 period, reaching a record of US$15.7 billion last year, thereby making Australia the country’s seventh biggest trade partner, whilst Vietnam became the 10th largest trade partner of Australia for the first time.

Australia has maintained its annual development assistance to Vietnam at more than AUD80 million AUD, equal to US$53.49 million, even reaching AUD92.8 million in the 2022 to 2023 fiscal year.

It has paid attention to the work and holiday visa programme and is about to materialise the bilateral memorandum of understanding through the Australian Agriculture Visa Programme.

Most noteworthy, Australia helped Vietnam by donating 26.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, ranking second among vaccine donors of the nation.

The Ambassador also highlighted partnerships in education and science-technology with a range of programmes on offer which has contributed to easing poverty, improving people’s living standards and women’s capacity, and bringing added values, especially in emerging and essential technologies.

The Vietnamese side believes that bilateral ties will experience more intensive and substantive developments, the Ambassador said, voicing his hope that the newly-established social organisations like the Australia-Vietnam Policy Institute and the Vietnam-Sydney centre will play a role in raising understanding between peoples, businesses, and scholars of the two countries.

Regarding the action programme implementing the strategic partnership for the 2020 to 2023 period, Ambassador Thanh said it has been rolled out well in all three pillars of economic engagement, strategic and defence - security co-operation, and knowledge and innovation partnerships over the past two years.

The only shortcoming lies in the fact that the two countries have yet to bring into full play opportunities or fully implement commitments in the Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy (EEES) released on December 21, 2021, he said. The diplomat therefore suggested that the two sides organise the exchange of delegations of businesses and localities on a larger scale, whilst seeking to put in place the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) agreement after its upgrade, as well as new-generation free trade agreements.

According to the diplomat, fruitful economic ties have created a foundation for political relations to growth further, with strong political co-operation contributing to expanding and deepening bilateral trade and investment links.

The country hopes that Australia will step up its support and co-operation to help the nation gain successes in digital transformation and green transition, towards the knowledge-based economy and sustainable development, the Ambassador  emphasized.

Therefore, the country has suggested building substantive and effective ties with the country in clean energy, green economy, digital transformation, high-quality agriculture, and climate change response, he said, noting that the two sides have ample room ahead to enhance collaboration in these areas.

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