|Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh during an official visit to Vietnam on June 3-4 (Photo: EPA)
According to the National Tribune Australia, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has wrapped up his first official visit to Vietnam, a strategic economic partner and long-term friend of Australia. This newspaper also assesses that strengthening Australia-Vietnam relations is an important part of Canberra's determination to further promote Australia's links with Southeast Asian countries.
Promoting cooperation in diverse fields
The year 2023 also marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam. In that time, the bilateral partnership has expanded considerably. During the visit, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met with his Vietnamese counterpart Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, and many other senior leaders.
Bilateral negotiations focus on efforts to develop trade and investment between the two countries. Over the past time, two-way trade has expanded strongly and in fiscal year 2022 alone, it has increased by nearly 40%.
According to IANS, Australia is Vietnam's seventh largest trading partner, while Vietnam ranks 10th among Australia's trading partners.
The Australian Financial Review also confirmed that Mr. Albanese's visit emphasized the trade, education, cultural and tourism ties between Australia and Vietnam. In particular, a visit to a beer bar and eating banh mi last Saturday highlighted Australia's role as the main supplier of wheat and barley to Vietnam.
The leaders also discussed expanding bilateral cooperation on climate, energy and environment, in which Australia will support Vietnam in energy transition, including AUD105 million for sustainable development planning, clean energy development and mining; and expand the program to support Vietnam in the field of agriculture.
Educational partnerships were another focus of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's visit. The Head of the Australian Government was pleased to witness the two countries' agencies exchanging four cooperation agreements in various fields. RMIT University has just opened its Innovation Center in Vietnam, while Western Sydney University has offered 60 scholarships to Vietnamese students. The Australian Prime Minister also welcomed RMIT's intention to invest USD250 million in its operations in Vietnam, including the expansion of the facility in Ho Chi Minh City.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh also agreed to expand cooperation in responding to climate change, digital transformation, green transformation and circular economy development. Australia will support Vietnam in the energy transition to help Vietnam achieve the goal of net zero emissions. The two sides agreed to soon sign a cooperation document in the field of digital transformation, the development of digital economy and digital society.
Great meaning from the Australian leader's visit
According to Nikkei, Mr. Anthony Albanese has become the first Australian Prime Minister to pay an official visit to Vietnam in nearly four years. This was also his first trip to Vietnam as Prime Minister since taking office in May 2022. The Australian leader also shared that before this visit, he had been to Vietnam 3 times and each visit recognized Vietnam's outstanding development.
Before coming to Vietnam, at the Shangri-La Summit in Singapore, Mr. Albanese also signaled that Australia is seeking greater cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other Indo-Pacific partners.
Thus, the bilateral negotiations between the two leaders of Australia and Vietnam also emphasized the importance of a stable, prosperous and resilient Southeast Asia, as well as the important role of ASEAN as Southeast Asia's main forum for cooperation, the National Tribune reports./.