|Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh holds a phone conversation with Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne
Deputy PM Minh opened the discussion by sharing with his Australian counterpart the efforts put in by both Vietnam and ASEAN in response to the COVID-19 epidemic, while also underscoring the importance of regional and international cooperation, including potential co-operation between ASEAN and Australia.
The Deputy PM praised both nations for maintaining regular and effective communication channels at all levels as a means of keeping updated with the spread of the pandemic, whilst calling for continued efforts to be made in order to promote co-operation through existing mechanisms across all areas. This should be done as a way of maintaining the development momentum of the strategic partnership between both sides moving forward.
In response, the Australian diplomat signaled her great appreciation of the country’s initiatives and the leading role it has performed since taking on the ASEAN Chair 2020. With halting the spread of the COVID-19 being a top priority for nations globally, achieving a closer partnership between both countries would be mutually beneficial, as well as serving to boost ties between ASEAN and Australia.
Minister Payne thanked the Vietnamese government for the effective medical and consular assistance given to Australian citizens who have been affected by the epidemic. Moreover the Australian Minister affirmed that the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will look to co-ordinate alongside the Ministry of Education and other competent agencies to provide the best possible conditions for Vietnamese students who are currently based in Australia.
Both ministers stated that they will continue to strengthen the exchange and sharing of information and experience in terms of epidemic prevention, including the ability to co-operate in research, vaccine development, and production, along with the import and export of materials and medical equipment.
The pair agreed to hold an annual meeting between the two foreign ministries in the third quarter of 2020, either in Australia or online, in order to discuss a range of measures to promote the strategic partnership, with a major focus on co-operation in health care, food security, and co-ordination to minimise the socio-economic impact of the epidemic whilst attempting to restore trade, tourism activities, and co-operation in other fields immediately after the epidemic comes to an end.
Both sides expressed that they will continue stepping up co-operation and offer mutual support at multilateral forums, especially platforms such as the United Nations and ASEAN-led mechanisms, whilst focusing on regional and international issues of mutual concern. This includes co-operation to maintain peace, stability, and security in the East Sea on the basis of respect for international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).