Vietnam supports Australia’s increased role in the evolving regional structure and hopes for further cooperation with Australia and other partner countries to contribute to an actively-developing and well-connected Asia, said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung during his speech at the Lowy Institute for International Policy – one of the top 30 global think tanks – in Sydney on March 17.

He told local scholars and researchers that from a war-torn nation, Vietnam has become a middle-income developing country with diplomatic relations with 185 countries and membership in more than 70 international organisations. It is also a key business destination with nearly 18,000 projects worth roughly 300 billion USD invested by over 100 countries and territories.

Australia has been among the top 10 trade partners of Vietnam in recent years. Trade is expected to exceed 6.5 billion USD this year, more than doubling the 3 billion USD amount in 2000, the leader noted, adding that the Southeast Asian country currently houses 320 Australian FDI projects valued at over 1.65 billion USD.

Since the establishment of their comprehensive partnership in 2009, the countries’ ties have deepened in politics, diplomacy, economics, education and culture, the PM said.

He described the 300,000 Vietnamese nationals and 30,000 students in Australia as a bridge intensifying mutual understanding on culture, history, and customs.

Regarding regional security issues, PM Nguyen Tan Dung said Asia-Pacific contributes around 55 percent to the world’s GDP, acts as a growth engine of the global economy, and plays a vital role in the formation of a future world order.

However, imminent instabilities exist caused by complicated developments at several hot spots in the region, including the complex situation in the East Sea, he noted.

The leader underscored that current tensions and instabilities can only be resolved once all nations, especially sovereignty claimants in the East Sea, comply with international dictates including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, refrain from unilateral actions that complicate the situation, avoid threats and the use of force, fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, and expeditiously enact a code of conduct for relevant parties.

He renewed that Vietnam continues to seek dispute settlement through peaceful measures with respect to international law and regional standards of conduct and hopes Australia will continue to have an active and objective voice to contribute to regional peace, security, friendship, cooperation, and development.

The Vietnamese leader also urged countries to promote the role of multilateral institutions and work together to build a stable and sustainable regional structure.

In the evening of March 17, the PM and his entourage left for the capital city of Canberra, where he is scheduled to have talks with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott the following day.-VNA