During his stay in Vietnam, PM Morrison had talks and a working breakfast with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, met with Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, and attended a meeting with the business communities of both countries.
On this occasion, the Australian PM laid flowers and paid tribute to President Ho Chi Minh at his Mausoleum, and visited the late President’s still house. Morrison also visited the Vietnam People’s Army’s Level-2 Field Hospital No. 2 at the Hanoi-based Military Medical University, and the construction site of the Vietnamese Formula 1 circuit project in Hanoi.
At the meetings, the two sides expressed their pleasure at the strong, dynamic and effective development of the Vietnam-Australia relationship over the past time, saying that the two countries hold substantial potential to strengthen their ties. They spoke highly of the regular exchange of all-level delegations through all channels.
The two sides issued a joint statement between Vietnam and Australia, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to developing the bilateral ties towards a new higher level.
They recognised each other’s increasing importance, both bilaterally and as partners in the Indo-Pacific region as well as in the international community; and acknowledged that the partnership is founded on a basis of mutual respect, mutual trust, converging interests and deepening links. They agreed to increase the depth and breadth of engagement between the two countries in advance of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2023.
To this end, they agreed that Vietnam and Australia’s Plan of Action for the Strategic Partnership for the period of 2020-2023 will focus on three priority areas: enhancing economic engagement; deepening strategic, defence and security cooperation; and building knowledge and innovation partnerships.
Both sides agreed to develop an Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy with the aim of becoming top ten trade partners and doubling investment; and emphasised their commitment to promoting bilateral economic opportunities and regional economic integration through free trade agreements and cooperation in multilateral economic frameworks, including APEC.
In this context, they welcomed the 10th anniversary of the Agreement Establishing the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area, and the work underway to upgrade that Agreement; committed to work together to ensure smooth implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. They agreed on the importance of concluding negotiations on a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement this year.
Both sides will strengthen collaboration in knowledge and innovation, including between public services and establish a Vietnam - Australia Centre at the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics. They committed to protecting the health of the oceans, by reducing plastic waste, sharing technologies and expertise and improving the sustainability of fishing. Both sides will encourage their respective localities to step up cooperation through the exchange of delegations at various levels and sharing of management expertise, particularly in urban planning, transport infrastructure, education and training, and innovative entrepreneurship.
Both countries remain committed to an open, inclusive, prosperous and secure region defined by respect for international law, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. They reaffirmed the importance of ASEAN centrality and ASEAN-led architecture, particularly the East Asia Summit.
They emphasised the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, compliance with international law and maintaining a rules-based order. They called on all parties to exercise self-restraint and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation. They also reaffirmed the need for states to resolve disputes peacefully, without the threat or use of force in accordance with international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
On this occasion, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison witnessed the signing of cooperation documents and agreements between the two countries.