The upcoming visit of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to open up new prospects for Vietnam-Australia ties, according to Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Ngo Huong Nam.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the G20 Summit in Japan
In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency ahead ofthe visit, scheduled for August 22 to 24, the ambassador recalled that duringthe Australia visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in March last year, thetwo countries set up a strategic partnership, marking a new chapter in bilateralrelations.
He stressed that over the past year, the two sides haveimplemented the five cooperation pillars stated in the Joint Statement on theestablishment of the partnership.
The diplomat highlighted that the two countries havestrengthened trust through regular meetings and visits at high levels, as wellas exchanges between ministries, agencies and localities.
Annual ministerial-level dialogues in the framework of thestrategic partner have been held, such as the meeting of the two countries’foreign ministers in March last year and that of defence ministers in lastNovember. The meeting of economic ministers is slated to late this year.
At the same time, economy-trade has been the bright point inthe partnership. Two-way trade reached nearly 7 billion USD in 2018 and exceeded3.2 billion USD in the first half of 2019, up 8 percent on a yearly basis.
Australia is the 19th biggest foreign investor ofVietnam with total capital of some 1.9 billion USD. Recently, seven Vietnameselocalities held a trade and investment promotion event in several Australianstates and cities.
Vietnamese firms like VinGroup, TH Group and Vietjet have implementedprojects in Australia.
Australian official development assistance to Vietnam hasbeen maintained at a high level, contributing to the Southeast Asian country’seconomic reform and human resources development.
The Cao Lanh bridge in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap,which became operational in May last year, has become a symbol of cooperationbetween the two countries, said the ambassador.
Regarding security-defence cooperation, he said the twosides signed a Statement on Joint Vision in 2018, shaping long-term tiesbetween the two countries in the field.
Along with support in English training, Australia helped Vietnamtransport its level-2 field hospital to South Sudan for peacekeepingoperations, while sharing experience with Vietnam in the field.
Over more than a year, three naval ships of Australiavisited Ho Chi Minh City port and two visited Cam Ranh port.
The two sides have supported each other in searching formissing-in-action soldiers. They have set up an annual security dialogue atdeputy ministerial level, with the first meeting held in November 2018.
In science-technology, many Australian scientists haveparticipated in research projects in Vietnam, while Australian technologieshave been applied in Vietnam, especially in agriculture. Several Vietnamese fruits,including litchee, mango and dragon fruit, have been accepted in the Australianmarket.
At the same time, education cooperation and people-to-peopleexchange have been expanded, noted the ambassador, adding that about 30,000Vietnamese students are studying in Australia, creating the fifth largestforeign student community in the country, while about 1,000 Australian studentsare studying in Vietnam.
In 2018, nearly 420,000 Australians visited Vietnam, while250 Vietnamese registered to work in Australia in vacation labour programmes.
Vietnam and Australia have had effective collaboration atmultilateral forums, especially the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN DefenceMinisters’ Meeting Plus, the East Asia Summit, the Asia-Pacific EconomicCooperation and the Asia-Europe Meeting.
Notably, after the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreementfor Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) was signed earlier this year, Vietnam andAustralia are working together to push for the on-schedule completion of negotiationsfor the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Australia showed strong support to Vietnam in its run for anon-permanent seat at the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure as wellas Vietnam’s ASEAN chairmanship in 2020.
The two countries have also worked together in the spirit ofequality, mutual respect and constructive cooperation to address issues inwhich they still have differences.
Ambassador Nam noted that PM Morrison chose Vietnam for aforeign visit shortly after he took his office in May 2019, which demonstrates thecountry’s desire to develop ties with Vietnam.
Vietnam and Australia have much room and high potential forboosting affiliation in economic issues, security and innovation.
The two countries are working closely together to becomeleading trade partners. Economic partnership plays a key role in the bilateralstrategic partnership as Vietnam is expanding economic restructuring andinternational integration, creating optimal conditions for localities andbusinesses to broaden cooperation.
Both sides’ efforts to implement the CPTPP are also amotivation for the acceleration of trade and investment cooperation, he said.
The ambassador said the Australian PM’s visit is expected tocreate a new driving force and new prospects for bilateral relations,especially in science-technology, people-to-people exchange, power security,climate change response, maritime and aviation safety and security, watersecurity, and tackling trans-national crime.
According to him, during the visit, the two sides willdiscuss regional and international security matters, including energy and watersecurity, climate change, maritime and aviation security, safety and freedom.
Ambassador Nam also expressed his belief that Australia, acountry playing an important role in the region, will make positivecontributions to ensuring peace, stability, maritime and aviation security andsafety in line with international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on theLaw of the Sea.-VNA