Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith has spoken highly of the visit by a senior delegation of the Vietnamese military headed by Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh.

The visit was a milestone in the relations between the two countries in general and the two armies in particular, Smith told the Vietnamese guests at a meeting in Canberra on March 19.

He affirmed that Australia will continue cooperation with the Vietnamese army in the coming time, especially in the field of training.

The country also supports Vietnam’s viewpoint that disputes must be resolved by peaceful measures in line with international law, Smith added.

He said Australia welcomes Vietnam’s initiative to set up a group of experts under the framework of ASEAN Defence Ministerial Meeting Plus (ADMM+), to deal with consequences of mine and bombs left by wars.

Thanh said Vietnam attaches importance to developing the comprehensive relations with Australia, including defence ties.

He suggested the two sides increase naval cooperation and work together in after-war mine and bomb clearance in the coming time.

The minister also asked Australia to back Vietnam’s bid to join the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO).

The same day, Thanh paid a courtesy visit to Australian Governor General Quentin Bryce and called at the Defence Force Academy and the Fleet Command.

On March 20, the delegation left for an official friendship visit to New Zealand. -VNA