An important milestone in Vietnam-Australia relations

Wednesday, 2018-03-14 12:28:09
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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his spouse in Australia
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NDO - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Australia and attendance at the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit from February 14-18 at the invitation of PM Malcolm Turnbull is expected to mark an important milestone in Vietnam-Australia ties as the two countries are planning to lift their relationship to a strategic partnership on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

The first Australia visit by PM Phuc since his assumption of office also affirms Vietnam’s active contributions to promoting the ASEAN-Australia strategic partnership in a substantive and effective manner.

Established in 1973, the friendship and cooperative ties between Vietnam and Australia have witnessed fine developments, especially since the two countries exalted their relationship to a comprehensive partnership in 2009 and signed a declaration on enhancing the Australia-Vietnam comprehensive partnership in 2015.

The fine political relationship is marked by reciprocal high-level visits between the two countries’ leaders, thereby helping to promote the bilateral relationship in a broader and deeper manner. Australia considers Vietnam as a key partner in ASEAN and highly appreciates Vietnam’s role in ASEAN.

Economic, trade and investment cooperation is a bright spot in the Vietnam-Australia relationship. Australia is Vietnam’s eighth largest trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching nearly US$6.5 billion in 2017, up 22.2% against 2016. To date, Australia has invested about US$1.8 billion in 412 projects in Vietnam, ranking 20th among more than 120 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. Australia is one of the largest providers of non-refundable ODA with over AUD110 million delivered each year since 2010.

The two countries have also forged a strong cooperation in education, with about 30,000 Vietnamese students currently studying in Australia. Security and defence cooperation has also become more diverse. Cooperation in tourism, labour, transport, industry, agriculture, and culture is also developing and bringing many practical benefits to the two countries’ peoples. Vietnam and Australia cooperate effectively within regional and international cooperation frameworks such as the United Nations, the East Asia Summit, and APEC.

As Vietnam and Australia are celebrating the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit will turn a new page in the bilateral relationship, which is scheduled to be upgraded to a strategic partnership.

During the visit, the two countries’ leaders will discuss and outline orientations and measures and sign cooperative agreements to strengthen and further deepen the fine friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and Australia, meeting the interests of the two countries’ peoples.

ASEAN-Australia relations were established in 1974. Australia was the first country to establish dialogue relations with ASEAN in all three major areas, political, economic, and socio-cultural cooperation. In 2014, the two sides held a commemorative summit to mark the 40th anniversary of ties and upgraded it to a strategic partnership.

Taking place in Sydney, the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit is the first summit between the two sides to be hosted by Australia at the proposal of Australian PM Malcom Turnbull, aiming to reaffirm Australia’s commitment to fostering its strategic partnership with ASEAN in the new period.

Under the title “Enhancing regional security and prosperity”, the summit includes plenary meetings and retreats to discuss the major orientations in developing the ASEAN-Australia relationship, along with many other important events. On the basis of a fine bilateral relationship with Australia, Vietnam pledges to make proactive, active, and responsible contributions, along with Australia and other ASEAN member countries, to guarantee the success of the summit, thereby outlining the important development orientations for the ASEAN-Australia relationship in the new period.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Australia and attendance at the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit aims to continue the implementation of Vietnam’s foreign policy of diversification, multilateralisation, and active and proactive international integration.

The visit also affirms that Vietnam attaches special importance to and wishes to enhance the bilateral relationship with Australia, participate in regional cooperation activities in a proactive and responsible manner, and shape the future of the ASEAN-Australia relationship for peace, stability, and development in the region and the world at large.

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