Vietnam, Australia to strengthen ties in COVID-19 fight hinh anh 1Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) -
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh held phone talks with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on April 16 to look into bilateral and regional cooperation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic’s complex developments.

Deputy PM Minh highlighted Vietnam and ASEAN’s efforts in response to the outbreak, emphasising the importance of regional and international cooperation in this regard, including collaboration between ASEAN and Australia.

Applauding the two countries’ frequent and effective contact at all levels amid the pandemic, he asked both sides to continue with efforts to promote cooperation in all spheres via existing mechanisms so as to sustain the development of the strategic partnership.

For her part, Minister Payne spoke highly of Vietnam’s initiatives and leadership as ASEAN Chair in 2020.

She affirmed that Australia wishes to work more closely with Vietnam in the fight against COVID-19 within both bilateral and ASEAN-Australia partnership frameworks.

The minister also appreciated the Vietnamese Government’s effective medical and consular support for Australian citizens affected by the pandemic, and said her country’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will coordinate with the Department of Education and other relevant agencies to continue creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese students in Australia.

The two officials agreed to increase the sharing of information on and experience in COVID-19 prevention and control, including the possibility of cooperating to develop vaccines or produce and trade medical supplies.

They also agreed to organise an annual meeting between the two foreign ministers, slated for the third quarter of 2020, in Australia or online to discuss measures to enhance the strategic partnership. 

The meeting would focus on bilateral ties in health care, food security, mitigating the outbreak’s socioeconomic impact, and the recovery of trade and tourism and other aspects once the pandemic is over.

Vietnam and Australia will bolster coordination and mutual support at multilateral forums, particularly UN and ASEAN-led mechanisms, in terms of regional and international issues of common concern, including the maintenance of peace, stability and security in the East Sea on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, according to the two officials./.