Australian PM’s visit creates momentum for bilateral ties

(VOVWORLD) - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is now in Hanoi for an official visit to Vietnam, the first since he took office in May. The visit is expected to create momentum for the Strategic Partnership between the two countries. 

Australian PM’s visit creates momentum for bilateral ties  - ảnh 1The flags of Vietnam and Australia  (Photo: VNA)

Since Vietnam and Australia upgraded their relationship to a Strategic Partnership during Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Australia last March, cooperation has increased. Prime Minister Morrison’s decision to visit Vietnam just 3 months after his election shows that Vietnam matters greatly to Australia.

Similar interests, mutual trust

The two countries’ shared interests and mutual trust are reflected in exchanges of visits at all levels.

Economic and trade cooperation continues to be a focus of bilateral ties. trade turnover totaled nearly 7 billion USD last year and more than 3.2 billion USD in the first half of this year, 8% higher than the same period last year. Australia is now the 19th biggest investor in Vietnam with a total capital of more than 1.9 billion USD. Vietnam’s major private companies, like VinGroup, TH Group, and VietJet, have begun investment cooperation projects in Australia. Australia’s ODA for Vietnam contributes significantly to Vietnam’s economic reform and human resource development.

The two countries’ cooperation potential remains immense. Richard Yetsenga, Chief Economist and Head of Research at ANZ, said Australian businesses are keen to invest in Vietnam: “Here in Vietnam offers a lot. I mean it offers very good education standards at the high school level. It’s nearly 100 million people, great logistics for a lower to middle income economy, and obviously access to some very big markets with more than 100 free trade agreements with different countries.”

Vietnam-Australia political ties provide a foundation for multifaceted cooperation and contribute to the common goal of regional peace and stability. Ben Bland, Research Fellow and Director of the Southeast Asia Project of Australia’s Lowy Institute, said the two countries need to work with each other to increase their influence in the region. He added: “Vietnam is important because it is a big, it is a growing economy. It has similar concerns to Australia. And Vietnam is also a country that thinks strategically about these problems. So I think there’s a lot that Vietnam and Australia can do there. And Australia sees Vietnam as a key player in its strategy to balance in the region.”

New momentum

In addition to boosting trade and investment cooperation with Vietnam, Prime Minister Morrison’s visit provides an opportunity for leaders to discuss ways to deepen ties and enhance trust towards a region of peace, stability, and prosperity. In an interview with Vietnamese correspondents before his departure to Vietnam, Prime Minister Morrison said he is looking forward to meeting again with Prime Minister Phuc to discuss ways to drive forward the strategic partnership which was established in 2018 and said Vietnam matters greatly to Australia. He went on to say that as Australia and Vietnam face uncertain times and global economic headwinds, his government is strongly committed to deepening Australia’s relations with Southeast Asia and with ASEAN. Australia’s engagement with friends and partners, like Vietnam, is more important than ever to maintaining security and prosperity of our two peoples, said Mr. Morrison.

As Prime Minister Morrison said “both Australia and Vietnam want to see an Indo-Pacific region that is secure strategically, stable economically, and sovereign politically,” maritime and aviation freedom in the East Sea will top the agenda of talks. 

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