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Australia aims to upgrade ties with Vietnam to comprehensive strategic level

Australia aims to upgrade ties with Vietnam to comprehensive strategic level

Wednesday, August 23, 2023, 14:00 GMT+7
Australia aims to upgrade ties with Vietnam to comprehensive strategic level
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong shakes hands with her Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son before they had a talk in Hanoi on August 22, 2023. Photo: Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

An elevation of the Vietnam-Australia ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership will help fully and effectively tap the great potential for bilateral cooperation, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong stated.   

Minister Wong was speaking while attending the ‘Vietnam-Australia Forum: Regional Cooperation in a Changing World,’ in Hanoi on Tuesday as part of her four-day official visit to Vietnam starting a day earlier at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son.

At the forum, which gathered about 600 participants, the Australian diplomat also announced her country’s new support of AU$94.5 million (US$60.7 million) for climate change adaptation in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.

Highly valuing the bilateral relationship as a friendship based on deep strategic trust built from their strategic partnership set up five years ago, Minister Wong affirmed that Australia is making efforts to coordinate with Vietnam to elevate the ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

She believes that the cooperation potential between Australia and Vietnam is very huge and it can be fully exploited when the two countries enhance their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

This image shows Vietnamese and Australian delegates posing for a photo at the Vietnam-Australia Forum held in Hanoi on August 22, 2023. Photo: Vietnam - Australia Center

This image shows Vietnamese and Australian delegates posing for a photo at the Vietnam-Australia Forum held in Hanoi on August 22, 2023. Photo: Vietnam - Australia Center

A plan to upgrade ties was among the high-level agreements between the two countries and was announced during the visit to Australia by National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue in December 2022.

When visiting Vietnam in June 2023, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also expressed his desire to upgrade relations with Vietnam. 

Therefore, at the fifth Vietnam - Australia Foreign Ministers Meeting that was held later at the forum, Son and Wong discussed the steps toward realizing the upgrade among other agreements.  

The two sides highly appreciated that Vietnam and Australia have gained significant cooperation achievements in various fields over the past five decades.

Their economic and trade cooperation flourished, with two-way trade in 2022 reaching nearly $16 billion, making Vietnam the 10th-largest trading partner of Australia while Australia is the seventh-largest trading partner of Vietnam.

Political ties have been consolidated over time while security and defense cooperation is increasingly effective, especially in UN peacekeeping activities.

New areas of cooperation such as climate change response and energy transition are being promoted, including Australia’s recent support package of AU$105 million ($67.4 million) for Vietnam to build infrastructure to respond to climate change and develop clean energy.

The two ministers also discussed regional and international issues of mutual concern, and agreed to deepen coordination to contribute to peace, stability, and cooperation in the region.

Wong told her host that Australia supports the central role of ASEAN as well as efforts of cooperation for the sustainable development of the Mekong sub-region.

Like Vietnam, she said, Australia wishes for peace in the region and in the world, and this requires reliable political and strategic cooperation in the spirit of equality and mutual respect, as well as respect for international laws and principles.

Regarding the East Vietnam Sea, the diplomat affirmed that Australia always calls for peace and stability in the region and respect for the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

With their diplomatic relations set up in 1973, Vietnam and Australia established a comprehensive partnership in 2009 and have enhanced the ties to a strategic partnership since 2018.

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Vinh Tho - Thanh Hien / Tuoi Tre News

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