President Tran Dai Quang (right) and Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove meet with the press following their talks on May 24 (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam and Australia will work together to consolidate political and strategic trust through regular exchange of all-level visits and meetings, and via all channels, in order to make their relationship on par with the strategic partnership, said President Tran Dai Quang.

The President and visiting Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove met the press on May 24 following their talks.

Quang said the two sides consented to expand cooperation between localities while stepping up people-to-people exchange.

The leaders also agreed to deepen bilateral affiliation in national defence and security in the spirit of carrying forward fruitful ties in current cooperative spheres like training and operations, while expanding cooperation to other potential sectors, he added.

Australia will help Vietnam deal with bomb and mine issues, and provide information about Vietnamese soldiers missing in action during the war in Vietnam.

President Quang stressed that both sides will seriously weigh up trade barriers that may affect exports of each other. They will also devise policies encouraging and supporting businesses to invest in each other’s markets, thus creating breakthroughs in bilateral trade and investment ties in the time to come.

He went to say that Vietnam highly valued Australia’s continued official development assistance (ODA) for the country, with a prominent example being the Cao Lanh Bridge in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap funded by Australian ODA capital. The bridge is expected to be put into service on May 27, 2018.

Besides, the two sides will intensify partnerships in cooperative areas that have direct influence on the bilateral friendship and mutual understanding like education-training, science-technology, culture, sports, tourism and labour.

Currently, nearly 30,000 Vietnamese students are studying in Australia. Meanwhile, close to 1,000 Australian students have come to Vietnam under the New Colombo Plan.

In 2017, nearly 400,000 Australians visited Vietnam and more than 200 Vietnamese citizens registered to work in Australia under the Work and Holiday Programme.
These are important factors contributing to boosting the friendship and cooperation between the two countries, President Quang said.

He also informed that their talks also dealt with regional and international issues of shared concern. The two sides agreed that there remain factors that may adversely impact peace, stability and cooperation in the region, including terrorism, cross-border crime, and cyber and maritime security.

The Vietnamese President said the two sides had pledged to continue their close coordination at regional and international forums, including the UN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and ASEAN-led institutions. They will also coordinate stances in the East Sea issue and implementing the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to which both countries are signatories.

Cosgrove highlighted thriving economic ties between Vietnam and Australia, in terms of trade, investment and development cooperation.

Two-way trade hits 11.9 billion USD, he said, noting that Vietnam is Australia’s 15th largest trade partner.

The Governor-General said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop are scheduled to inaugurate the Cao Lanh Bridge, which was built with 160 million USD from the Australian Government, on May 27.

He described the bridge as a symbol of the Australian Government’s support for infrastructure development in Vietnam in order to improve living standards of local residents and facilitate economic development in the Mekong Delta region.

The leader informed the press that at the end of this year, Australia will help Vietnam send the first Vietnamese peacekeepers to South Sudan.

Host and guest shared the view that there are bright prospects for Vietnam and Australia to enhance bilateral cooperation in the time ahead, he said.-VNA