Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Craig Chittick.
(Source:VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Vietnam-Australia cooperation is witnessing an increasingly strong development  and the enhancement of relations is one of the focuses of both sides, said  Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Craig Chittick.

During a recent interview granted to Vietnam News Agency on the threshold of a visit by Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia Peter Cosgrove, the Ambassador affirmed the upgrade of the bilateral relations to a strategic partnership reflects the long-term cooperation between the two nations.

He recalled that when the two countries began establishing their diplomatic relations in 1973, the Australian government immediately embarked on fostering the bilateral ties.

Collaborative activities between the two sides began in 1974, and many important decisions and noteworthy milestones have made by the two sides to promote their relationship over the last 20-25 years.

The formation of the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIR) in Vietnam was the initial step in Australia-Vietnam cooperation.

The two sides began a defence cooperation programme 20 years ago, and 2019 will mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Vietnam-Australia law enforcement cooperation.

The Australian Government is very proud of its provision of official development assistance (ODA) capital to Vietnam for a long time, the Ambassador stressed, noting that it is necessary to change the design and content of the ODA programme for Vietnam to help the country effectively deal with socio-economic challenges at present and in the future.

According to the diplomat, the construction of My Thuan and Cao Lanh bridges in the Mekong Delta region with Australia’s funding marked a transitional phase for Vietnam in seeking financial assistance for infrastructure development.

After those two projects, the Australian Government will provide support for Vietnam in building capacity, and creating dialogue mechanisms, towards accessing capital sources in the private sectors, he added.

The two countries have also cooperated in maritime security for a long time. This is an important part of the two countries' security cooperation, the Ambassador said, affirming that the field will be further expanded in the future.

He emphasized that trade ties between Vietnam and Australia is also a highlight of the bilateral relations, with crucial milestones over the last decade.

Both countries are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO). In March 2018, Vietnam and Australia, along with nine other countries, signed the CPTPP, affirming their increasing integration into the global trade network.

Vietnam is now the seventh largest trade partner of Australia.

Ambassador Craig Chittick said 2018 would be the best year for Vietnam and Australia to make their economic, trade and security cooperation stronger.
Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia Peter Cosgrove and his spouse will pay a State visit to Vietnam from May 23-26 at the invitation of President Tran Dai Quang.

The visit takes place at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 45th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties (February 26).-VNA