The two countries have become important economic partners over the span of just more than 20 years from 1991 to 2022.

Experts, diplomats and officials attend the conference on 50 years of Việt Nam-Australia relations on Tuesday. — VNS Photo Nhật Hồng

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam and Australia are in strong agreement on the key fundamentals of the future of both countries, despite different directions in the approach to geopolitical issues.

That was the message from the Australian ambassador to Việt Nam, Andrew Goledzinowski, speaking at an international conference in Hà Nội on Tuesday.

Titled “50 years of Việt Nam-Australia Relations: Retrospect and Prospect”, the event gathered experts, diplomats and officials to evaluate the bilateral relations and propose solutions to further advance the positive ties in maintaining peace, stability and growth in the Indo-Pacific region.

“We cannot imagine an Indo-Pacific which is peaceful, prosperous, independent and sovereign without at its heart a peaceful, prosperous, independent, sovereign Việt Nam,” said Ambassador Goledzinowski, noting that Việt Nam’s accomplishments are essential to the success of the region.

“I think we are in strong agreement upon the key fundamentals of our future, and that is our future in this region is underpinned by the rule of law of prosperity, independence and sovereignty,” he added.

Dr Tạ Minh Tuấn, Vice President of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) – one of the conference’s organisers said in his address to the event: “The two countries have recognised their mutual importance in each other’s security, economy and foreign policies.

“In the field of security, Australia’s important role and active involvement in many issues in many regional issues, including those related to East Asia and the East Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea) issues, have contributed to maintaining peace, stability, cooperation, ensuring the freedom of navigation and overflight in this area.”

Over the past 50 years, the two countries have gone from wartime adversaries with embargoes to being important trade partners, said Dr Carlyle Thayer, Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

There are also significant developments in diplomatic and regional engagement, he added.

The two countries have become important economic partners over the span of just more than 20 years from 1991 to 2022, with bilateral trade growing rapidly from US$60 million to more than $15.7 billion.

Việt Nam currently is the tenth largest trading partner of Australia.

Australia, in addition to being Việt Nam’s seventh largest trading partner, is also a leading provider of development aid for the Asian country’s socio-economic growth.

With shared perspectives on maritime security and freedom of navigation and the role of international laws in this matter, Việt Nam and Australia have also seen significant progress in defence cooperation, said Major General Nguyễn Hồng Quân, former deputy director of Việt Nam’s Institute for Defence Strategy.

Brigadier General Tony McCormack, Commander of Australia’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour Programme (IPE) greeted Vietnamese navy officers as the Royal Australian Navy HMAS Toowoomba warship visited Việt Nam in early October 2023. — VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Khu

Multiple bilateral agreements have been made for national defence and peacekeeping operations, notably the Australia-Việt Nam Declaration on Joint Visions for Enhancing Defence Cooperation signed in 2018.

Australia is also one of a few countries that provide training for Vietnamese military officers, with approximately 3,000 graduates from the cooperation programme with the Australian Department of Defence, Major General Quân said.

In addition to high-level visits and annual dialogues, the Australian and Vietnamese defence forces have also been enhancing cooperation in various aspects, including army and air force training, maritime security, border control, and military medicine, particularly in treating malaria and dengue fever.

Major General Quân recommended that Việt Nam-Australia ties needed to evolve to be more profound and practical through the signed agreements and established cooperation mechanisms, such as the ASEAN-Plus Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM+) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

In addition to expertise and language exchanges, the two countries can also support each other in cyber security, search and rescue operations, peacekeeping missions and military medicine, said the Vietnamese officer. — VNS

This article was originally published by Viet Nam News. To view the original article please click here.

Publication Date
Wednesday 25th October, 2023
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