Leaders laud ties with Australia as FM Penny Wong visits Vietnam


Chính receiving Wong, who is on a three-day official visit to Vietnam. - VNA/VNS

HANOI (Vietnam News/Asia News Network): Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính and President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on Monday (June 27) received Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong, who has been on a three-day official visit to Vietnam.

Praising Australia’s successes in the federal election, Covid-19 vaccination and economic recovery, Chính thanked the nation for its provision of Covid-19 vaccines, medical equipment and supplies for Vietnam during the fight against the pandemic, particularly 14.4 million doses of vaccine for Vietnamese children.

The PM also lauded the strong growth of the Vietnam-Australia strategic partnership. The exchange of high-level delegations and meetings have been held regularly between the countries; bilateral trade hit US$12.4 billion in 2021; Vietnam began investing directly in Australia; and the two nations approved the Vietnam-Australia Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy and a joint statement on commitment to practical climate action, according to the government leader.

He suggested the new Government of Australia continue paying attention to strengthening ties with Vietnam, particularly in the exchange of high-level delegations; implementation of cooperation mechanisms and key pacts signed; and promotion of trade-investment, education-training, culture, tourism, and people-to-people exchange.

PM Chính proposed Australia maintain its official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam in agricultural and rural development, poverty eradication, high-quality human resource development, start-ups and innovation, and strategic infrastructure, especially in the Mekong Delta.

The two nations should study and propose specific concrete cooperation projects in other potential sectors such as climate change response, green growth, digital economy, cybersecurity, and high-tech farming, he said.

For her part, Wong affirmed that Australia highly valued Vietnam's role and position in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the region and the world and was committed to strengthening the strategic partnership with Vietnam to make the bilateral relations more practical and effective.

The minister commended Vietnam’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and said she would work closely with Vietnam in this area.

Wong underscored Australia's appreciation of Asean’s centrality and its freshly established comprehensive strategic partnership with the bloc.

Australia would continue giving priority to cooperation with the Mekong sub-region and agreed on the need to maintain peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea as well as to respect international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), she said.

On this occasion, PM Chính asked the minister to convey his invitation to Australian PM Anthony Albanese to pay an official visit to Vietnam at an appropriate time.

Welcoming Wong’s visit, President Phúc expressed his belief that it would make important contributions to promoting the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Australia.

He congratulated Australia on its successful organisation of the federal election and establishment of a new government led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, affirming that Vietnam always treasured and worked hard to foster its relations with Australia - a strategic partner in the South Pacific region, and a comprehensive strategic partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Briefing the guest on Vietnam’s achievements in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and switching to a new period of safely and flexibly adapting to and effectively controlling the pandemic, President Phúc thanked Australia for promptly providing Vietnam with Covid-19 vaccines, especially the vaccines for children from 5-11 years old.

He expressed his pleasure at the positive progress in the Vietnam-Australia strategic partnership over the years, especially through delegation exchanges and economic cooperation, with two-way trade reaching US$12.4 billion in 2021, up 50 per cent year on year.

The Vietnamese leader proposed both sides continue to maintain sound collaboration in areas of politics, security-defence, trade-investment and ODA, and rapidly restore and further step up cooperation in tourism, education-training, people-to-people exchange, and cooperation as both countries have fully reopened their doors.

For her part, Wong said she was delighted to visit Vietnam for the first time in her capacity as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and affirmed that Australia highly valued the role and position of Vietnam in the region, and was committed to continuing to bolster the strategic partnership with Vietnam.

She said that on the foundation of the outcomes of the earlier talks with her Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son on the same day, the Australian side would coordinate closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and relevant agencies of Vietnam to make the Australia-Vietnam strategic partnership deeper, while expanding the ties to other promising areas such as climate change, green growth, and education-training.

Wong agreed with President Phúc’s proposal to continue to create favourable conditions for the Vietnamese community to live, study and work in Australia and integrate into the local community, thus making positive contributions to the sound relationship between the two countries.

Regarding the regional and international situation, the minister affirmed that Australia attaches great importance to Asean's central role and the Australia-Asean comprehensive strategic partnership.

On the occasion, President Phúc asked the minister to convey his invitation to the Governor-General of Australia to visit Vietnam again at a convenient time.

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