|The talks between Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese in Hanoi on June 4. (Photo: VNA)
Welcoming PM Albanese on his official visit to Vietnam on June 3-4, the host leader said the trip, which takes place amid the 50th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic relations and five years since the establishment of the Strategic Partnership, will create a new impetus for bilateral ties.
He thanked Australia for consistently supporting Vietnam’s national construction and development, emphasising that Vietnam always attaches importance to and wishes to enhance the friendship and cooperation with Australia.
PM Albanese noted his country treasures the Strategic Partnership with Vietnam and views Vietnam as a centre during the building of its strategy on relations with Southeast Asia.
Both host and guest noted with satisfaction the flourishing relations in all fields between their countries.
High-ranking mutual visits and meetings have been held frequently. The action plan for implementing the Strategic Partnership for 2020 - 2023 have borne fruit. Bilateral trade approximated 16 billion USD in 2022, up 30% from the previous year, turning the two sides into one of the 10 biggest trading partners of each other. Security and defence cooperation has become increasingly effective and substantive, especially in training and assisting with United Nations peacekeeping operations and fighting transnational crimes and cybercrime. Partnerships in agriculture, education - training, labour, and people-to-people exchanges have also been thriving, they said.
They agreed to increase high-level mutual visits and meetings between the two countries’ Parties, parliaments, and governments; boost people-to-people exchanges; build an action plan for implementing the Strategic Partnership in the new period; push ahead with economic, trade, and investment links, including fruitfully carrying out the plan on implementing the Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy (EEES) for 2021 - 2025; reinforce the two economies’ connectivity; and step up cooperation in defence, security, judicial affairs, official development assistance (ODA), education - training, science - technology, labour, transport, tourism, climate change response, and digital transformation.
In that spirit, the two PMs agreed to promote their countries’ relations to a new level in the future.
PM Pham Minh Chinh pledged optimal conditions for Australian enterprises to invest in Vietnam in such fields as infrastructure development, telecommunications, finance - banking, education, high-tech agriculture, green transition, digital transformation, and resident data development.
The host leader asked Australia to facilitate Vietnamese investment in mining, agriculture, e-commerce, aviation, and tourism, as well as open its door further to Vietnamese exports. He also highly valued Australia’s increase of its ODA for Vietnam by 2.5% in the 2023 - 2024 fiscal year and suggested ODA cooperation be considered an important part of the bilateral partnership in the future.
PM Albanese affirmed that Australia hopes to continue expanding security and defence ties and will maintain cooperation in ODA. He agreed to bolster bilateral investment, increase scholarships for Vietnamese students, re-consider the 1995 air services agreement to increase the number of flights between the two countries, and actively implement cooperation in new areas such as digital economy and digital transformation.
He also announced an aid package of 105 million AUD (69.4 million USD) for the collaboration in infrastructure, climate change response, and energy transition with Vietnam.
At the talks, following an official welcome ceremony for the Australian PM, both sides concurred in strengthening cooperation and coordination at multilateral forums, especially the UN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
Albanese stated Australia attaches importance to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with ASEAN and always supports the bloc’s centrality. It will put Vietnam at the focus of the Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040 that it is developing and continue enhancing cooperation with the Mekong sub-region.
PM Pham Minh Chinh stressed Vietnam’s support for Australia’s organisation of a commemorative summit marking the 50th anniversary of the ASEAN - Australia partnership. His counterpart also voiced support for Vietnam’s hosting of the APEC meetings in 2027.
Discussing the East Sea issue, they underlined the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea; fostering dialogue and enhancing trust; and resolving disputes by peaceful means in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The Australian leader invited PM Pham Minh Chinh to pay an official visit to his country in 2023. The PM of Vietnam accepted the invitation with pleasure.
Following the talks, the two PMs witnessed the exchange of four cooperation documents between their countries, namely a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on setting up the ministerial-level dialogue mechanism on trade; an MoU on implementing the second phase of the Aus4Innovation Programme in Vietnam; the one on exchanging financial intelligence information related to money laundering and terrorism sponsorship; and another on granting scholarships for students of Vietnam and the region between the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City and the Western Sydney University. Certificates of Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet’s opening of more direct air routes between the two countries were also presented on this occasion./.