NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (right) meets Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on November 30 (Photo: VNA)

Canberra, (VNA) – National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan has expressed wish to further strengthen ties with Australia within bilateral cooperation framework as well as at regional and global forums.

During a meeting in Canberra on November 30 with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, deputy head of the ruling Liberal Party of Australia, Ngan said the Vietnamese NA welcomes and supports the upgrade of bilateral ties to strategic partnership level.

As the two countries are to celebrate the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties in 2018, Vietnam will work closely with Australia to hold activities to raise the two peoples’ awareness of bilateral friendship and collaboration, she said.

The Vietnamese NA leader also expressed delight at growing two-way trade which surged to 5.2 billion USD last year from 32.3 million USD in 1990. The figure is expected to hit 10 billion USD in the near future.

She spoke highly of mutual support in multilateral forums and thanked Australia for supporting Vietnam’s candidacy as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure.

The guest asked Australia to continue working closely with Vietnam in multilateral cooperation mechanisms and thanked the Australian Government and the Foreign Minister herself for providing support for Vietnamese nationals living in the country.

The top legislator took the occasion to thank the high-ranking Australia delegation led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for their active contributions to the success of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Week recently hosted by Vietnam.

She asked for increased collaboration in regional and global issues of shared stance and interest, including strengthening regional architecture, promoting trade liberalisation and economic connectivity.

Vietnam appreciates Australia’s thorough preparations for the ASEAN- Australia Special Summit scheduled for March 2018 in Sydney and the outcomes of the East Asia Summit (EAS) recently held in the Philippines, she said, adding that Vietnam is ready to partner with Australia and ASEAN member states to promote the content of marine security cooperation in the upcoming ASEAN-Australia Special Summit.

The NA Chairwoman noted that Vietnam highly values Australia’s positive stance on the East Sea issue, especially the comments and strong message delivered by PM Turnbull at the Shangri-La Dialogue and the EAS in earlier November.

Bishop, for her part, expressed hope that both nations can lift bilateral ties to strategic partnership level in March next year.

Praising Vietnam’s important role in directing regional economic integration, Bishop wished that more Vietnamese students will choose Australia as a study destination. Vietnam is currently the fifth largest source of students in Australia. The Australia government has provided 3,000 scholarships for Vietnam while 1,500 Australian students will study in Vietnam under the New Colombo Plan (NCP) programme.

She hailed Vietnam for raising the East Asia issue in regional forums, and reaffirmed that Australia backs the settlement of disputes by peaceful means on the basis of dialogue and respect for international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.-VNA