Deepening Vietnam-Australia strategic partnership

Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and his spouse are paying an official visit to Vietnam from August 22-24 at the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. This is the first visit to Vietnam by Scott Morrison after he was elected as the Prime Minister of Australia. The visit is an important political event, confirming the aspirations of the leaders and peoples of the two countries to further deepen the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Australia.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) receives Australian PM Scott Morrison in Hanoi on August 23. (Photo: Tran Hai)
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) receives Australian PM Scott Morrison in Hanoi on August 23. (Photo: Tran Hai)

We sincerely congratulate the great achievements that the Australian people have accomplished during the cause of national development over the past years. The political situation of Australia as a whole is stable. Regarding economy, the Canberra administration expressed theiroptimism about the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which came into force in early 2019, and Australia signed theComprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Indonesia in March 2019. These agreements are expected to be the foundation for the Australian economy to continue to grow and create more jobs.

Concerning foreign affairs, Australia gives prominence to maintaining regional order based on laws, free trade and economic links while supporting the current regional structure with the central role of ASEAN in the region. Since taking office in August 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has continued to promote Australia's independent, self-reliant and active foreign policy, including the strengthening of relations with ASEAN countries, particularly Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Since the establishment of the diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Australia in 1973, the friendship and cooperation between the two countries have witnessed fine development, particularly since the two sides upgraded the bilateral relations to a comprehensive partnership in 2009 and signed a declaration on enhancing the comprehensive partnership in 2015.

On the occasion of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc's official visit to Australia in March 2018, the two countries officially upgraded the bilateral relations to strategic partnership, opening a new page in the developmenthistory of the bilateral relations.

Australia considers Vietnam a key partner in ASEAN and an effective development partner throughout the renewalprocess. The two countries have effectively implemented the Action Programme in the 2016 - 2019 period and are promoting the building of an Action Programme for the 2020 - 2022 period in order to carry out the strategic partnership.

The fine political relations between Vietnam and Australia are marked by visits between leaders at alllevels of the two countries. Bilateral cooperation mechanisms are maintained regularly. The two sides have also cooperated well in the fields of security and defence through the exchange of delegations, signing of cooperation agreements, coordination in crime prevention, immigration management, prevention of illegal migration, information exchange, and others.

We are pleased to see that economic and trade cooperation is the highlight of Vietnam - Australia relations. Vietnam is Australia's fourth largest partner in ASEAN while Australia is Vietnam's seventh largest trading partner. The bilateral trade revenue reached US$3.84 billion in the first six months of 2019, up 6.1% compared to the same period in 2018. By the end of June 2019, Australia invested in458 projects in Vietnam, with a total investment of overUS$1.86 billion, ranking 20th among 131 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. Australia is also amongthe bilateral partners providing the largest non-refundable official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam.

Education is a field of strong cooperation between the two countries. Australia has offered many short-term and long-term scholarships for Vietnam. There are currently about 31,000 Vietnamese students and graduates studying in Australia.

The two countries have also paid attention to promoting cooperation in the area of science, technology and innovation. In November 2017, the two countries announced the Vietnam - Australia partnership programme on innovation. Tourism and cultural cooperation is being also promoted, which has many potentials and has brought about practical benefits to the people of both countries.

The overseas Vietnamese community in Australia hasabout 300,000 people, who play as an important bridge to strengthen the friendship and good cooperation between the two countries. Vietnam and Australia have cooperatedwell in regional and international cooperation frameworks, such as ASEAN, the United Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and others.

The Australian Prime Minister’s visit to Vietnam takesplace in the context of strong development, goodachievements, and increasing political trust in the bilateral relations. The visit also affirms the respect and desire to deepen the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Australia. This is also an opportunity for leaders of the two countries to exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual concern, contributing to promoting peace, stability and development in the region and the world.