Education and training cooperation will create opportunities for Australia and Vietnam to foster their relations, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said.

Meeting with new Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Luong Thanh Nghi on June 5, the minister expressed her hope for the active coordination of Vietnamese agencies in expediting the new Colombo plan, which will allow Australian students to study in Vietnamese universities from 2015.

Bishop spoke of recent progress in the two countries’ ties, laying emphasis on the maintenance of high-ranking contacts.

Showing special interest in Vietnam’s future development process and its opportunities and challenges, Bishop shared her country’s experience drawn from international trade and investment cooperation.

She pledged her country’s unceasing coordination with Vietnam in negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Ambassador Nghi gave high estimation to Australia’s support for Vietnam’s development and international integration process.

He suggested both sides work to increase trade and investment.

Nghi took the occasion to inform Bishop of recent tense developments in the East Sea, sparked by China’s illegal deployment of its Haiyang Shiyou – 981 drilling rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

Minister Bishop said she was very concerned about the issue while reiterating the country’s consistent stance of not siding in sovereignty disputes in the East Sea.

Australia, however, has legitimate interests in maintaining peace and stability in the region, respecting international law and ensuring free trade and navigation, Bishop stated, urging both sides to settle disputes by peaceful means abiding by international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.-VNA