Vietnam, Australia elevate ties to strategic partnership

(VOVWORLD) - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull have signed a joint statement on the establishment of the Vietnam-Australia Strategic Partnership. 
Vietnam, Australia elevate ties to strategic partnership - ảnh 1Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

It follows their talks in Canberra, Australia on Thursday as part of the Vietnamese PM’s official visit. At the talks, the two sides shared delight at the strong and substantial progress of the Vietnam-Australia partnership over the past 45 years, with strengthened political trust and strategic interest sharing, which has paved the way for them to raise bilateral ties to a strategic partnership. They agreed to increase the exchange of high-level delegations through all channels of party, state, government and parliament as well as people-to-people contacts. In order to realise the bilateral strategic partnership dynamically and practically, the two sides concurred to set up contact mechanisms at the level of foreign, defence and economic ministers, while maintaining existing bilateral cooperation mechanisms such as the diplomatic and defence strategic dialogues, consular consultations, dialogues on agriculture, education and science-technology.

They will continue to implement the Vietnam – Australia Plan of Action for the 2016-2019 period, and create optimal conditions for localities of both sides to promote their partnership.

Both sides also agreed to enhance cooperation in coping with common security challenges, including terrorism, trans-national crimes, human trafficking and illegal migration, thus ensuring security in each country and contributing to peace, and stability in the region.

The two sides emphasised closer connectivity between the two peoples through education cooperation, cultural exchanges and tourism development, which serves as a firm foundation for the bilateral Strategic Partnership at present and in the future.
They underlined the importance of education collaboration, with Australia pledging to increase the number of scholarships and support Vietnam in official training and vocational training. They also agreed to boost links between their universities and training establishments.

They also agreed to encourage the opening of more direct air routes between the two countries’ major cities, and participation in the Vietnam - Australia Work and Holiday programme.

The two sides agreed to continue with their close and effective coordination at regional and international forums.

They reached consensus on the significance of ensuring peace, stability, security, and safety, freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea, and settling disputes on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They also showed their support for the early conclusion of a legally-binding Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC). 

Following the talks, the two PMs signed the Joint Statement on the Establishment of a Strategic Partnership between Vietnam and Australia. 

They also witnessed the signing of four important cooperative documents, including an agreement between the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training and the Australian Department of Education and Training on educational cooperation between the two Governments for 2018-2023. The other three comprise a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the Australian Department of Education and Training on vocational education; an MoU between the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation on enhancing collaboration in science and technology; and an MoU between the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research in the spheres of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

The two PMs then met with the press on the outcomes of their talks. 
On this occasion, PM Turnbull hosted a banquet for his Vietnamese counterpart and his entourage. The same day, leaders of the two countries’ defence ministries signed a document on the recognition of the intention to enhance defence cooperation between the two countries.

Australia’s Financial Review said that the upgrade of Vietnam-Australia relationship comes as the two countries’ strategic priorities are increasingly aligned. It quoted Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull as saying that Vietnam is the 4th biggest source of international students for Australia, the 6th largest market for agricultural products, and more than one quarters of the bread used in Vietnam’s signature dish, banh mi, came from Australian wheat. The news paper said that Australia and Vietnam are both signatories to the revamped Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Australia also has the 2nd largest Vietnamese population outside the country.