Vietnam-Australia relationship at their mature stage of development

WVR-The visit of Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Penny Wong to Vietnam continues being one among highlights for the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between two countries.
Quan hệ Đối tác chiến lược Việt Nam-Australia ghi nhiều dấu ấn trong những năm gần đây. (Thiết kế: Hồng Nga)
Vietnam and Australia have more than 20 bilateral cooperation mechanisms which have been maintained flexibly. (Photo: WVR)

More than a year after her first visit to Vietnam (June 26-28, 2022), Australia Minister of Foreign Affairs Penny Wong comes back to Hanoi within the official visit to the Southeast Asian country, and co-chair the 5th Australia-Vietnam Foreign Ministers' Meeting from August 21-24, at the invitation of Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son.

On August 17, Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry Pham Thu Hang said the visit of Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong has taken place in the context of the two countries having many activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations (1973-2023). Notably, the presence of the Head of the Australian Diplomatic Service in Hanoi happens not long after the visit of the Governor-General of Australia David Hurley (April 2023) and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (June 2023).

The successive visits of Australian guests show that Canberra attaches importance to the S-shaped country as the two countries continue a series of activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and 5 years of strategic partnership this year.

With Minister Penny Wong, just a month after taking office as the Minister of Foreign Affair (May 2022), she visited Vietnam as one of the first Southeast Asian countries. At that time, the Foreign Minister affirmed that the future of Australia is closely linked with the future of Southeast Asia.

In meetings with Vietnamese leaders and Minister of Foreign Affair Bui Thanh Son, Minister Penny Wong discussed the strength of the Australia-Vietnam Strategic Partnership and the extensive cooperation in strategic, economic and development issues.

In more than a year in her new position, Penny Wong has met with Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son four times, the most recent of which was at the 56th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM-56) in Jakarta, Indonesia on July 12, 2023. Minister Bui Thanh Son invited his counterpart Penny Wong to visit Vietnam soon and co-chair the 5th Vietnam-Australia Foreign Ministers' Meeting.

The consultation mechanism between the Foreign Ministers of the two countries has started since 2018 and so far there have been 4 meetings. During this 5th meeting, the two countries will review the implementation of the outcomes of recent high-level visits, especially in the fields of economy - trade, security and defense, education and training, labor and agriculture, and set out directions to promote relations in the coming time.

Up to now, Vietnam and Australia have more than 20 bilateral cooperation mechanisms which have been maintained flexibly. Besides the Foreign Ministers Meeting, other important mechanisms can be mentioned such as the annual meeting of two Prime Ministers, two Defense Ministers and the Conference on Economic Partnership and Cooperation between localities.

Cooperation documents between two countries, especially the Vietnam-Australia Strategic Partnership Action Program for the period 2020-2023, have been actively implemented and achieved many results.

Currently, economic and trade cooperation is a priority area in developing relations between Vietnam and Australia. The two countries participate in many economic cooperation frameworks, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade (AANZFTA).

The two sides are implementing Australia-Vietnam Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy. The Australian Government has developed the Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040, considering Vietnam as a center in this strategy.

In 2022, two-way trade turnover between Vietnam and Australia had a breakthrough growth, reaching a new record of 15.7 billion USD, up 26.91% over the previous year. Vietnam became Australia's 10th largest trading partner for the first time, and Australia is currently Vietnam's 7th largest trading partner. The land of kangaroos is currently one of the largest non-refundable ODA to Vietnam, so far totaling 3 billion AUD (about 47,000 billion VND).

It could be said that, since establishing diplomatic relations in February 1973 and upgrading to a Strategic Partnership in March 2018, Vietnam-Australia relations are developing stronger than ever. As National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue said during his visit to Australia in December last year, generations of leaders and people of the two countries have come together for a half-century journey to bring the two countries' relationship to a level that at the time of establishing diplomatic relations, few people could have imagined.

On the solid foundation of the 50-year journey together, with the attention of the two countries' leaders, the Vietnam-Australia Strategic Partnership is at a mature stage of development, with a basis to transform to a new stage of trust and efficiency, meeting the aspirations of the two peoples, actively contributing to peace, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

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Translated by Anh Trang