New chapter in relations with South Pacific partners

At the invitation of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Prime Minister of New Zealand Christopher Luxon, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his spouse will attend the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-Australia dialogue relations and pay official visits to Australia and New Zealand from March 5 to 11.
PM Pham Minh Chinh and heads of delegations attending the third ASEAN-Australia Summit pose for a group photo. (Photo: Duong Giang/VNA)
PM Pham Minh Chinh and heads of delegations attending the third ASEAN-Australia Summit pose for a group photo. (Photo: Duong Giang/VNA)

The special summit is an important occasion for ASEAN and Australia to look back at the past half century. Australia was one of the first partners to establish dialogue relations with ASEAN in 1974.

The two sides upgraded their relationship to a Strategic Partnership in 2014. Since the relationship was upgraded to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership at the annual Summit in 2021, the cooperation between ASEAN and Australia has been taking place in a dynamic manner in many fields, including politics-security, economics, culture, society, and development cooperation.

The cooperation between the two sides has been promoted on the basis of the 2020-2024 Plan of Action and Annex to Implement the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Partnership. Australia has always supported the solidarity, unity, and central role of ASEAN, as well as actively assisted the association in building the ASEAN Community and cooperation among the Mekong sub-region.

Themed “A Partnership for the Future”, the special summit contributes to opening a new chapter in ASEAN-Australia relations, creating an opportunity for the two sides to set out directions for cooperation to develop the comprehensive strategic partnership more substantively and effectively in the near future.

PM Pham Minh Chinh's attendance at this important summit aims to convey the message that Vietnam highly values the role of Australia as one of the association's trusted, sincere,and dynamic partners as well as Vietnam's commitment to strengthening the relations between ASEAN and Australia.

Within the framework of his business trip, PM Pham Minh Chinh will make his first official visits to Australia and New Zealand as head of the Government.

Taking place in the context that Vietnam’s relations withAustralia and New Zealand are both developing well, the visits contribute to enhancing political trust and further deepening the multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and the two South Pacific countries.

Vietnam and Australia celebrated the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties in 2023. After more than half a century, the relationship between the two countries has seensignificant development with the marking of many important achievements.

High-level and all-level delegation exchanges and contacts have been maintained regularly. Defence-security cooperation has developed substantially. The two countries are among each other's top ten trading partners, with bilateral trade turnover at 13.8 billion USD in 2023.

As of end of December 2023, Australia has 621 investment projects in Vietnam with a total investment capital of more than 2 billion USD. Vietnam has 92 investment projects in Australia with a total capital of more than 552 million USD.Australia is one of the bilateral partners providing the largest non-refundable official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam.

New and potential areas of cooperation, such as climate change response, digital transformation, and energy transformation have been also promoted by both sides. The two countries have been supporting each other and cooperating closely at multilateral organisations and forums, such as the United Nations, ASEAN, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC).

Furthermore, the two sides have been boosting coordination in implementing free trade agreements, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The achievements of Vietnam-New Zealand cooperation provide practical contributions to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations and the 5th anniversary of their strategic partnership in 2025.

Over the years, the two sides have maintained high-level visits and contacts, as well as bilateral cooperation mechanisms. Cooperation in defence-security has continued to develop smoothly. The bilateral trade turnover has increased steadily over the years, reaching 1.3 billion USD in 2023.

New Zealand currently has 52 investment projects in Vietnam with total capital of more than 208 million USD. Vietnam also has investment projects in New Zealand with total registered capital of 37.8 million USD. New Zealand has always provided Vietnam with a stable source of ODA, which has been gradually increasing every year.

Cooperation in other areas such as education-training, agriculture, and labour has progressed positively. The two sides are making efforts to expand their cooperation intoother fields including climate change adaptation and energy transformation.

In multilateral cooperation, the two countries have recorded an active cooperation on regional and international issues of mutual concern, as well as at multilateral organisations and forums, such as the United Nations, ASEAN, and APEC.

Vietnam and New Zealand have also stepped up their coordination to effectively take advantage of the benefits offree trade agreements in which both countries are members, including the CPTPP and RCEP.

PM Pham Minh Chinh's business trip aims to actively contribute to implementing the foreign policy of the 13th National Party Congress, the Politburo’s Conclusion No.59-KL/TW on the orientation for participation in ASEAN until 2030, and the Secretariat’s Directive No.25-CT/TW on promoting and enhancing multilateral foreign relations until 2030.

May PM Pham Minh Chinh's business trip be a great success, affirming Vietnam's proactive and positive participation and responsible contribution to ASEAN-Australia relations, andcontributing to strengthening the strategic partnership between ASEAN and Australia in a more substantive and effective manner.