Vietnam, Australia hold strategic dialogue on foreign affairs and defence hinh anh 1Vietnam and Australia hold the sixth deputy ministerial-level strategic dialogue on foreign affairs and defence in Hanoi on October 10. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The sixth deputy ministerial-level strategic dialogue on foreign affairs and defence between Vietnam and Australia took place in Hanoi on October 10, chalking out plans to boost the bilateral strategic partnership.

The Vietnamese delegation was led by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung and the Australian side was headed by Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade Richard Maude and Acting Deputy Secretary for Strategic Policy and Intelligence Tom Hamilton. The event was also attended by Major General Dang Quang Minh, Director of the Institute for Strategic Studies under the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence.

At the dialogue, both sides noted with pleasure the strong development of bilateral relations after the two countries lifted the ties to the level of strategic partnership in March 2018 and reiterated the important role and position of each country in the other’s foreign policy.

Vietnam and Australia have increased the exchange of high-level visits this year, with three from Vietnam and four from Australia, especially as the two nations have celebrated the 45th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties.

Taking into account the results of these visits and the joint action programme for 2016-2019, the two sides discussed and outlined main directions to make their strategic partnership more practical, effective, and comprehensive in the time ahead, particularly in the fields of politics, security-defence, economy, trade, investment, and science-technology.

They agreed to further consolidate their political trust through the exchange of all-level visits and foster bilateral economic cooperation by bringing each side’s advantages into full play. They will also make full use of growing economic linkages in the region, notably the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), as well as accelerating the implementation of new mechanisms set up within the framework of the strategic partnership in terms of diplomacy, defence, and economy to lay the ground for deepening bilateral cooperation.

At the same time, they discussed regional and global strategic issues of mutual concern and stressed the need to give priority to joint projects related to people-to-people exchange, education, labour, tourism, culture, and sports.

The two sides later moved on to exchange views on the regional situation, mentioning the Asia-Pacific as a region with dynamic growth that has drawn a great deal of interest from major partners around the world.

Both sides welcomed concerted efforts made by countries both in and outside the region to strengthen collaboration and dialogue, as well as building trust for peace, stability, and development in Asia-Pacific. They agreed to cement cooperation at regional organisations and forums, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF), and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+).

The Australian side affirmed that it would continue coordinating closely with ASEAN and backing its efforts to tighten the intra-bloc solidarity, narrow development gaps, and promote ASEAN’s centrality in the regional structure.

Both sides voiced concern over emerging challenges, such as terrorism, transnational crimes, cyber security, energy security, climate change, and water security. They agreed to enhance information sharing and close cooperation within both multilateral and bilateral frameworks to minimise the negative impacts of these challenges.

On this occasion, Australia affirmed that it stands ready to share experience and supports Vietnam when the Southeast Asian nation becomes a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2020 -2021 tenure.

The two nations also expressed worries about escalating trade tensions that have hampered the growth of free trade in the region and the world. Vietnam welcomed the Australian House of Representatives’ ratification of the CPTPP and informed that Vietnam is striving to approve the deal in 2018, thus helping it to come into force soon.

Discussing the recent situation in the East Sea, both sides highlighted the importance of maintaining peace, stability as well as security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation. They emphasised the need to strictly observe international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and to peacefully settle disputes without the use of, or threat to use, force. They emphasised the necessity to promote the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and accelerate the conclusion of an effective, practical and legally-binding Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

The two sides agreed to hold the next Vietnam-Australia deputy ministerial-level dialogue on foreign affairs and defence in Australia in 2019.–VNA