ASEAN-Australia Special Summit marks significant milestone: Australian Ambassador hinh anh 1Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Andrew Goledzinowski (Photo:
Hanoi (VNA) - The leaders of ASEAN member states and Timor-Leste are descending on Melbourne for a Special Summit to celebrate 50 years since Australia became ASEAN’s first Dialogue Partner in 1974 – an achievement of which Australia is very proud, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Andrew Goledzinowski has said in his op-ed on the upcoming big event.

According to his article titled “ASEAN is coming to Australia!,” the Special Summit, taking place from March 4-6, is a significant milestone in Australia’s shared history with the region. It will showcase Australia’s commitment to deepening engagement with Southeast Asia and ensuring the sides remain a partner for the future. It is the second time Australia has hosted ASEAN leaders, with the first ASEAN-Australia Special Summit taking place in 2018.

The diplomat wrote: “The period between the two Special Summits has been a time of significant development in the bilateral relationship between Australia and Vietnam. In 2018, our Prime Ministers elevated relations to a Strategic Partnership. Only four years later, during the visit of National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue to Australia, our two Governments announced the shared intention to elevate relations further to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), reflecting the importance, ambition and promise in our bilateral cooperation.”

“ASEAN is central to our future and Australia takes its partnership with ASEAN seriously. We have close relations with all ASEAN Member States including diplomatic missions in each ASEAN capital.”

According to Goledzinowski, Australia was also the first country to establish a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with ASEAN in 2021. He said it is clear that Australia and ASEAN not only face shared challenges, but have shared interests in a peaceful, inclusive and prosperous region.

In 2022, Australia’s two-way trade with ASEAN nations amounted to around 178 billion AUD – greater than the nation’s two-way trade with Japan, the US or the EU. Per capita, Australia is the largest development partner of ASEAN. This includes supporting ASEAN-led projects that address complex challenges in the region, such as the development of the ASEAN Strategy for Carbon Neutrality. Last year, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese launched the Invested: Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040, with the objective being to increase opportunities for businesses in Australia and Southeast Asia.

The ambassador also elaborated on the Special Summit will’s four key areas of focus, namely Business, Emerging Leaders, Climate and Clean Energy, and Maritime Cooperation.

Also in his op-ed, Goledzinowski said: “As the relationship between Australia and ASEAN goes from strength to strength, we are ambitious about our relationship with Vietnam. Vietnam is important to Australia’s economic future.”

According to him, the focus areas of the 2024 Summit mirror the shared priorities in the Australia-Vietnam relationship. “We look forward to elevating our relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and enhancing cooperation across key fields including climate change, digital transformation, trade and investment, critical minerals and education. The Summit also provides unique opportunities to highlight people-to-people connections.”

He said following the Summit in Melbourne, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his spouse Le Thi Bich Tran will travel to Canberra as the Australian Government's guest.

“I welcome Prime Minister Chinh, Madam Tran and the Vietnamese delegation to Australia to build on the significant achievements we celebrated last year to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations. I am proud to highlight the strength of the Australia-Vietnam partnership, and to show the Vietnamese delegation true Aussie hospitality in my beautiful country,” he concluded./.