Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh (L) and First Assistant Secretary of the Department of Defence of Australia Marc Ablong chaired the first Vietnam-Australia national defence policy dialogue on November 3 (Photo: Vietnamese delegation)

Sydney (VNA) – Vietnam and Australia held the first national defence policy dialogue in the Australian capital city of Canberra on November 3.

The dialogue was chaired by Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh and First Assistant Secretary of the Department of Defence of Australia Marc Ablong.

Vinh underscored the significance of the dialogue which took place for the first time since the establishment of bilateral defence ties in 1998 and in the context of the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.

He affirmed that Vietnam highly treasures its defence ties with Australia. Over the past nearly two decades, the two countries have reached consensus on practical cooperative areas and created mutual trust.

Ablong, for his part, said Australia chooses Vietnam as a priority partner in its Defence White Paper, adding that Australia highly values Vietnam’s position and role and backs its bid to run for a non-permanent member position of the United Nations Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure.

Both sides discussed issues of shared concern, including non-traditional security challenges.

On bilateral defence ties, they adopted the working outcomes of the national defence consultation group at the external relations agency level held on November 2.

[Vietnam hopes to elevate comprehensive partnership with Australia]

Accordingly, the two nations effectively realised the Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Defence Cooperation and commitments by the two countries and defence ministries’ leaders this year, as well as agreements reached by the two defence ministers during the Vietnam visit by Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne in August 2017, including the exchange of all-level delegations, training, maritime security, counter-terrorism, and the UN peacekeeping mission.

On the occasion, Vinh thanked the Australian Defence Department for assisting the Vietnamese Defence Ministry in English training, especially for forces joining the UN peacekeeping mission, and in transporting equipment and forces when Vietnam is to start to deploy level-2 field hospital in the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan in 2018.

As 2018 marks the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties, the 20th anniversary of bilateral defence ties and the upcoming upgrade of bilateral ties into strategic partnership, both sides underscored the importance of taking practical and effective actions in line with the signed MoU on bilateral defence collaboration, focusing on the exchange of high-level delegations, enhancing training, and sharing experience in the UN peacekeeping activities, along with activities relating to counter-terrorism, cyber and maritime security, and exploring the possibility of joint work in defence industry and gender equality in the army.

During the stay, Vinh met with Acting Secretary of the Department of Defence Rebecca Skinner, and Acting Chief of the Australian Defence Force Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, and visited several military units to learn about their experience in the UN peacekeeping operations.-VNA