Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (R) and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Australian Government continues considering Vietnam one of key partners in Asia Pacific, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

During their talks in Hanoi on May 28, FM Bishop added the government wants to further bolster the relations both in bilateral framework and at regional and global forums.

The two officials highly valued the organisation of the first Vietnam-Australia Foreign Ministers Meeting, saying this is one of first important steps to implement the freshly-established Strategic Partnership between the two countries. The first meeting was co-chaired by the two FMs in Hanoi on May 28.

They expressed their pleasures at the strong development of the bilateral ties while affirming the importance of upgrading the relations to the Strategic Partnership on the occasion of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s recent visit to Australia.

Deputy PM and FM Minh spoke highly of outcomes of the recent State visit to Vietnam by Governor-General of Australia Peter Cosgrove on May 23-26, affirming the trip’s contributions to strengthening friendship between the two peoples.

The two officials stressed the need to push economic, trade and investment cooperation between Vietnam and Australia, saying this should be the focus of their Strategic Partnership.

They agreed to reinforce political and strategic trust, and deepen cooperation across fields between the two countries, while affirming determination fully tap potential and strengths of each country as well as address difficulties and challenges, form more mechanisms for dialogue and information sharing, and promote cooperation in the fields that have positive and direct impacts on the enhancement of friendship and people-to-people exchange such as education, culture, sport and tourism.

The Vietnamese leader highly valued Australia for its provision of official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam, which is the third largest level in Southeast Asia.

He suggested the two sides continue their cooperation to ensure the effective implementation of ODA projects in Vietnam, thus practically contributing to the Southeast Asian nation’s socio-economic development.

Bishop, for her part, affirmed Australia will continue to closely coordinate and support Vietnam in joining UN peacekeeping operations, and in improving Vietnam’s ability in ensuring marine security and safety.

Both officials also discussed regional and global issues of shared concern, agreeing on the close coordination and mutual support in regional and international forums, especially the UN, ASEAN, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and the East Asia Summit (EAS).

Bishop affirmed Australia supports the solidarity and central role of ASEAN in the region, has a consistent view in the East Sea issue and continues making contriubtions to strategic security issues in the region.

Minh said Vietnam will support Australia in expanding links with other ASEAN member nations, and in performing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and activities and initiatives of APEC Year 2018 hosted by Papua New Guinea.

Minh and Bishop also expressed their joy at the fruitful cooperation between the two foreign ministries in recent times, and agreed that they will continue to closely cooperate in organising activities celebrating the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-Australia diplomatic ties. They also agreed to enhance exchange of high-ranking visits and meetings, and implement newly-formed bilateral cooperation mechanisms, including the Economic Partnership, Agriculture Partnership and Innovation Partnership.

On May 27, FM Bishop attended the inauguration ceremony of Cao Lanh Bridge in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, which was built with non-refundable development assistance funded by Australia.-VNA