Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh and Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh on Feb. 21 used the occasion of participating in the Vietnam-Australia Defence and Diplomacy Strategic Dialogue to exchange courtesies with Australian Minister of Defence Stephen Smith.

Speaking at the function, Stephen Smith said he is delighted at the strong development of the comprehensive partnership between the two countries over recent years, particularly in defence. He spoke highly of Vietnam ’s role in the 2010 ASEAN Defence Ministerial Meeting Plus (ADMM+) in Hanoi , and thanked Vietnam for supporting Australia to take part in the meeting.

The Australian minister praised the new way of organising the Vietnam-Australia Defence and Diplomacy Strategic Dialogue, which had the involvement of both Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs. He said that it will boost mutual understanding and trust, while deepening the practical cooperation and relationship between both countries for mutual benefits and for regional peace and stability.

Minister Smith said that the two countries should step up training programmes for Vietnamese military staff, intensify strategic study, and promote activities in humanitarian aid, disaster rescue, mine clearance and post-war relief, as well as exchange experience in peacekeeping, stability, and maritime security.

Stephen Smith shared his opinions on reinforcing the regional coordination, maintaining peace and stability within the region and settling disputes through peaceful measures, complying with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC). He advocated efforts by ASEAN together with China to build the Code of Conduct on the East Sea (COC).

He also said he hopes to receive Vietnamese Minister of Defence, Gen. Phung Quang Thanh in Australia during 2012. He said both countries should continue exchanging delegations of all levels.

After the dialogue, Deputy Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh started his official visit to Australia from Feb. 21-24 during which he held talks with his Australian counterpart Peter Jennings.

The two sides reviewed their bilateral defence cooperation in the period since the signing of a memorandum of understand in 2010.

Specific and practical methods of cooperation for future years were also tabled.

The Vietnamese delegation also visited several bases of the Australian Navy.-VNA