Visiting Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong has affirmed that her nation will continue promoting its strategic partnership with Vietnam and always attaches importance to the Southeast Asian country’s role in the region.
She was speaking at her talks with her Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son in Hanoi on Monday as part of her three-day official visit to Vietnam from June 26 to 28 at Son’s invitation.
Wong told her host that Australia highly values Vietnam’s role and position in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the region and the world, and that the new Australian government in which she is a member will continue strengthening the strategic partnership with Vietnam to boost the bilateral ties to a new height.
The diplomat also stated that her country highly values cooperation with ASEAN, appreciates its central role, and will continue to promote cooperation with the bloc for the sustainable development of the Mekong sub-region.
Commending Vietnam’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, Wong said she will work closely with Vietnam in this area.
Foreign minister Son welcomed Penny Wong for choosing Vietnam as the first Southeast Asian country to visit after being appointed as foreign minister in the new Australian cabinet about a month ago.
Son highly appreciated Wong’s visit as a fresh impulse to the strategic partnership between the two countries towards the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties in 2023.
|This image shows Australia’s foreign minister Penny Wong received by Vietnam’s State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc at a reception in Hanoi on June 27, 2002, during which Phuc asked Australia to continue providing ODA to Vietnam. Photo: Minh Khang / Tuoi Tre|
He congratulated Australia on successfully holding the federal parliamentary elections, establishing a new government, effectively carrying out the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, and fully opening for economic recovery and development.
The Vietnamese diplomat also thanked the Australian government for its promptly providing COVID-19 vaccine and medical equipment for Vietnam during the fight against the pandemic, particularly 14.4 million doses for local children, the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) cited Son as saying.
Given that both Vietnam and Australia have opened up their economies, the host and guest agreed that the two nations should speed up cooperation in the fields strongly affected by the pandemic such as tourism, education and labor, besides strengthening traditional ties in trade, investment, security, defense and others.
In addition, Vietnam and Australia should also bolster cooperation in new and potential fields of cooperation such as climate change, green and sustainable growth to deal with non-traditional security challenges.
The two officials also discussed regional and international issues of shared concern, in which Son suggested that Australia continue to make positive contributions to regional cooperation based on respect for the central role of ASEAN and for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
|Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh is seen receiving Australia’s foreign minister Penny Wong in Hanoi on June 27, 2022 in this image. Photo: Minh Khang / Tuoi Tre|
Regarding the East Vietnam Sea issue, the Australian FM underscored the importance of maintaining peace, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight, and respecting international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
As part of her visit schedule, Wong had separate meetings with State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Hanoi on Monday, centering on measures to further deepen the strategic partnership between her country and Vietnam.
On the occasion, President Phuc and PM Chinh asked the minister to convey their respective invitations to the Governor-General of Australia David Hurley and Australian PM Anthony Albanese to visit Vietnam at convenient time.
In an interview with the VNA before her Vietnam visit, she commented that the strength of the relationship between the two countries is based on family and community links.
Presently, more than 300,000 Vietnamese people living in Australia and Vietnamese is the fifth most spoken language in Australian homes, the diplomat said.
Vietnam and Australia set up diplomatic relations in 1973 and promoted their relationship to strategic partnership in 2018.
The two countries posted a two-way trade of US$12.4 billion in 2021, nearly 50 percent more than in 2020.
Both sides have targeted to be among each other’s top 10 trade partners and to double their investment capital in each other by 2025.