Australian FM’s visit to Vietnam: Further strengthening strategic trust between two countries
According to the Ambassador Nguyen Tat Thanh, 2023 is a pivotal year in Vietnam-Australia relationship. The two countries celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations and 5 years of strategic partnership with many meaningful activities. Since the beginning of 2023, the two sides have exchanged more than 40 delegations, with the highlight of two visits by Governor-General David Hurley and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to Vietnam. Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh also had important meetings with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on the occasions of international events.
|Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son and his Australian counterpart Penny Wong in Hanoi, in August 22, 2023. (Photo: Tuan Anh)|
The frequent high-level meetings represent the increasingly close relationship between leaders and people of the two countries. Australia always considers Vietnam as its top strategic partner for expanding and deepening bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
The economic cooperation continues to be among pillars of effective cooperation. The two sides accelerate the implementation of the Enhancing Economic Cooperation Strategy (EEES) and have successfully organized the 3rd Economic Ministers Meeting.
The two sides continue to discuss in order to remove difficulties and obstacles through meetings of the Working Group on Trade and Investment and the 2nd Trade Remedies Dialogue. Trade turnover in the first 7 months of 2023 reached US$7.9 billion, maintained the positive momentum of the previous 2 years. At the same time, Australian investment in Vietnam increased by 23%.
Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Bamboo Airways have opened new routes, increasing the total number of weekly flights between the two countries from 21 flights before Covid-19 to 37 flights, and had plan to launch new 10 routes during the last quarter of 2023. Queensland State is due to upgrade the Trade-Investment Office in Vietnam into a Center in Southeast Asia. Khanh Hoa Province and the Northern Territory of Australia signed plan to implement the MOU of cooperation for the period of 2023-2028.
|The two Foreign Ministers co-chair their annual Foreign Minister Meeting on August 22, 2023. (Photo: Tuan Anh)|
The two countries keep their good co-ordination in the fields of security-defense, science-technology and education-training. Following the outcomes of the first Defense Ministers Dialogue and the 3rd Security Dialogue, Australia welcomed Vietnam’s Chief of the General Staff Nguyen Tan Cuong and assisted Vietnam in delivering officers and hospital equipments of Level 2 Field Hospital to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.
Vietnam makes good use of Australia's ODA of AUD$95.1 million. Vietnam is ranked among Australia’s top priorities in the implementation of science and technology projects, including extending the Aus4Innovation program to 10 years with a budget of AUD$33.5 million, focusing on new technology fields and digital transformation, high-tech agriculture and sustainable food.
Australia continues to support Vietnam in training high-quality human resources, coordinating to organize many training courses for major officers within the framework of policy exchange programs, such as Aus4Skills, Australia-Mekong Partnership (MAP), etc.
Australia attracted 24,000 Vietnamese students to study in their country, making Vietnam the fifth country with the largest number of students. Australia has become the second country with the most Vietnamese students, just behind the United States.
People-to-people exchanges are expanding and deepening. Recently, the Vietnamese Representative Missions in Australia have promoted the establishment and organized the launching ceremony of the Vietnamese Australian Scholars & Experts Association (VASEA), contributing to the cohesion and gathering of the "brain" of Vietnamese people in all states and territories of Australia.
Ambassador Thanh said that the Vietnamese Embassy has actively supported the activities of the Vietnam Australia Center (VAC), Vietnam Australia Policy Institute (AVPI), Vietnam Australia Young Leaders Dialogue (AVLD), AsiaLink, etc. in meaningful cooperation activities. Up to now, South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and North Australia have held a solemn event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Vietnam, and many other ceremonies are scheduled to be held in the remaining states and territories in the next month.
|Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong had meeting with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Hanoi on August 22, 2023. (Photo: VNA)|
"The unprecedented blizzard of foreign activities since the beginning of 2023 continue to contribute to strengthening the strategic trust between the two countries, and at the same time turning the bilateral cooperation into a new and more effective stage, in line with the needs, interests and desires of the leaders and people of Vietnam and Australia.
Next month, Australia is expected to announce the Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040. As far as I know, this strategy attaches a special importance to Vietnam's role, in line with Australia's consistent foreign policy," the Ambassador said.
He also noted that in recent years, cooperation in response to climate change and energy transition is expected to be a key theme of this strategy. In the context that the Government of Vietnam has just approved the Strategy for Geology, Minerals and Mining Industry and the National Power Development Plan to 2030, vision to 2050, and the Australian Government has just issued the Critical Minerals Strategy by 2030, the two sides have many opportunities to increase cooperation in the fields of climate change response; energy transition; circular economy and green growth along with related key areas such as digital transformation; innovation and science - technology.
These are also topics that have been touched upon in recent contacts between the two sides, including 4 meetings between the two Foreign Ministers. Australia always affirms its commitment to cooperate, share experiences and implement agreement of cooperation in the field of energy transition with Vietnam, in line with common interests and concerns towards the effective implementation of the Joint Declaration statement committed to practical action on climate, striving to achieve the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.
|On June 3, 2023, Ambassador Nguyen Tat Thanh joined in the delegation on welcoming the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on the official visit to Vietnam.|
Australia has strengths in new energy technology and renewable one, where the country aims to be a renewable energy power with 82% of electricity generation coming from renewables by 2030. Vietnam appreciates Australia's valuable support in the signing and implementation of a clean energy cooperation agreement worth AUD$105 million during the Prime Minister Albanese's visit to Vietnam. The two countries also continue to prioritize the effective implementation of the newly extended Phase 2 of Aus4Innovation Program, focusing on developing emerging technologies and clean energy.
Australia continues to support Vietnam in capacity building in the fields of climate change and clean energy through the Aus4Skill, Australia-Mekong Partnership (MAP) programs, in which Australia just welcomed the delegation of the Chairman of the Scientific - Technology Committee of the National Assembly Le Quang Huy to attend the Intensive Course on Climate Change and Energy. Australia has also successfully organized a course on building systems and policies to support the carbon market for staff of the Ministry of Finance as well as many practical courses for officials of Vietnam’s ministries and branches.
The Vietnamese diplomat said in the coming time, it is expected that along with cooperation in digital transformation, climate change response will be a new pillar of the partnership between the two countries, making practical contributions to Vietnam’s national protection and development.
Talking about the bilateral cooperation mechanisms between Vietnam and Australia, including the Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Ambassador Thanh stated that Vietnam-Australia relations further develop comprehensively with more than 20 bilateral cooperation mechanisms, some of which have just been implemented or newly established such as the Defense Ministers Meeting and Trade Ministers Dialogue, not include the cooperation mechanism among localities.
The Foreign Ministers' Meeting, which just started during the Covid-19 pandemic, through its four annual meetings, has helped to prepare well for high-level meetings, promoted cooperation in all external channels of Party diplomacy, State diplomacy and people-to-people diplomacy, creating impetus for cooperation mechanisms on all three pillars of the Vietnam-Australia strategic partnership: economy, security and innovation.
|Ambassador Nguyen Tat Thanh worked with West Australia’s enterprises investing in Vietnam and representatives of education, air, and mineral agencies in West Australia interested in Vietnam in July, 2023 (Photo: Vietnam’s Embassy in Australia).|
Untill now, cooperation between the two Foreign Ministries keeps on progressing. Related mechanisms such as human rights dialogue, consular consultation, maritime dialogue, cooperation on gender equality, channel 1.5 exchange, etc. have been maintained and promoted effectively. The two sides support each other and coordinate well at international and multilateral forums, in which Australia supported Vietnam to be the member of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the term 2023-2025, and co-authored the Resolution commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and 30 years of the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action. Australia also shares its views and supports Vietnam on the East Sea issue.
On the occasion of this Foreign Minister Meeting, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong had meeting with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, hold talks with Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, and meet members of business, academic, and student circles, etc. in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. She also has plan to announce a number of new initiatives, including expanding cooperation and support for Vietnam’s Mekong Delta localities in high-tech agriculture and response to climate change.
"The fact that the two Foreign Ministers co-chair their annual Foreign Minister Meeting and have exchanges on the occasion of multilateral forums helps to substantively strengthen the comprehensive cooperation relationship and increasingly deepen strategic trust between the two countries," the Ambassador concluded.