Australian Governor-General’s visit to boost strategic partnership with Vietnam hinh anh 1Governor-General of Australia Peter Cosgrove (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
Governor-General of Australia Peter Cosgrove and his spouse will pay a State visit to Vietnam from May 23-26 at the invitation of President Tran Dai Quang.

The visit takes place at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 45th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties (February 26).

It affirms Vietnam’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralisation and diversification of international relations as well as its great attachment to promoting friendship and strategic partnership with Australia.

Vietnam and Australia established a comprehensive partnership in 2009 and signed a declaration on enhancing the bilateral comprehensive partnership in March 2015. The two nations elevated their ties to the level of strategic partnership in March 2018 on the occasion of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to Australia.

Australia considers Vietnam a key partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and highly evaluates its role in the bloc.

The two sides signed a Plan of Action for 2016-2019 during the visit to Australia in November 2016 by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

The two countries have cooperated effectively in the field of security and defence through the exchange of delegations and cooperation agreements on counter-crimes, immigration management, illegal migration prevention, information and experience sharing, and English training.

Vietnam and Australia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in peacekeeping operation training and mine clearance in 2016.

The presence of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) post at the Vietnam Australia Joint Transnational Crime Centre (JTCC) in Ho Chi Minh City makes it easier for the two sides to share intelligence information and collaborate to prevent terrorism, human trafficking and drug crimes.

The two countries have coordinated closely at regional and international forums such as ASEAN, East Asia Summit (EAS), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, and the United Nations (UN).

Vietnam supported Australia’s bid to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2013-2014 tenure and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council in the 2016-2017 tenure.

Vice versa, Australia backed Vietnam’s candidacy for a seat in the UN Human Rights Council in the 2014-2016 tenure, the Executive Board of UNESCO in the 2015-2019 tenure, and the UN Economic and Social Council in the 2016-2018 tenure.

Vietnam agreed to support Australia’s efforts to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2018-2020 tenure, while Australia consented to back Vietnam’s bid to run for a seat in the UN Human Rights Council in the 2020-2021 tenure and the Universal Postal Union Council in the 2017-2021 term.

Over the past 45 years, Vietnam and Australia have focused on cooperation in economy and trade. Australia is now the eighth biggest trade partner of Vietnam. Two-way trade records annual average growth of over 7 percent, reaching nearly 6.5 billion USD in 2017, a year-on-year rise of 22.2 percent.

Vietnam exported over 520 million USD worth of goods to Australia, mainly aquatic products. Australia has opened its door for Vietnamese fruits like lychees, mangoes and dragon fruits.

Australia now ranks 20th among 126 countries and territories investing in Vietnam with 412 investment projects worth 1.8 billion USD, focusing on industry and construction, processing industry, services, education, and agro-forestry-fisheries.

Vietnam is running 44 investment projects in Australia with total capital of 387.1 million USD, concentrating on processing and manufacturing industry, arts, entertainment, mining and services.

The official development assistance (ODA) constitutes an important factor in enhancing the bilateral relationship. Australia is one of the biggest providers of non-refundable ODA for Vietnam, averagely 92.7 million AUD in the 2013-2018 period, helping the Southeast Asian country with poverty reduction, especially in the Mekong Delta.

Australia plans to provide an additional 84.2 million AUD in ODA for Vietnam in 2018-2019, focusing on economic reform, capacity enhancement, gender equality, and livelihood improvement.

Bilateral cooperation in tourism, education and science-technology is also growing. In 2017, Vietnam welcomed nearly 370,500 Australian visitors, up 15.5 percent against the previous year.

Regarding education, Australia is providing nearly 100 scholarships annually for Vietnamese students. Around 30,000 Vietnamese students and postgraduates are studying in Australia at present.

In the field of science-technology, Vietnam is one of the 17 countries benefiting from Australia’s science and tech cooperation initiative. Australia helped Vietnam to establish the Climate Innovation Centre in Hanoi to promote start-up models in climate change adaptation and environmental protection.-VNA