The meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in Dong Thap province on May 27 (Photo: VNA)

Dong Thap (VNA) – The Australian Government considers Vietnam one of its key partners in the Asia-Pacific region, Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop has said.

Bishop made the remark at her meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung on May 27 before attending a ceremony to inaugurate the Cao Lanh bridge in the southern province of Dong Thap.

She spoke highly of Vietnam’s achievements in promoting socio-economic development, expanding foreign relations and boosting international integration.

She emphasised the importance of the upgrading of bilateral ties to a Strategic Partnership, affirming that Australia will closely work with Vietnam to realise the contents agreed in the “Joint Statement on the Establishment of the Vietnam-Australia Strategic Partnership” and fulfill objectives set in the Vietnam-Australia Plan of Action 2016-2019.

Deputy PM Dung suggested the Foreign Ministries of the two nations hasten relevant ministries and agencies to implement cooperation plans to develop the newly established Strategic Partnership strongly and effectively in the coming time.

He applauded the ministries’ plan to organise the first ministerial-level meeting on the occasion, which will kick off a series of newly-formed cooperation mechanisms and frameworks between the two countries.

[Australian FM talks about Vietnam-Australia relationship ahead of visit]

He also valued Australia continuing to give official development assistance (ODA) priority to Vietnam in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, confirming that Australia’s ODA will be used effectively and practically for the country’s socio-economic development.

He proposed Australia continue assisting Vietnam in the fields of infrastructure, agricultural and rural development, climate change adaptation, and human resources development.

Regarding bilateral collaboration at regional and international forums, the two sides appreciated the fine coordination between Vietnam and Australia at the forums, especially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the East Asia Summit (EAS), the Asia-Pacific Cooperation (APEC), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and the United Nations.

Minister Julie Bishop affirmed that Australia continues its current positive and consistent stance on the East Sea issue and stressed the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea, addressing disputes by peaceful measures on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

She reiterated her country’s support for Vietnam in its bid to become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2020-2021, saying that Australia is willing to share its experience in assuming this position for the 2013-2014 tenure.

Deputy PM Dung informed his guest that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc sent an invitation to his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull to visit Vietnam and attend the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in September this year. He added that Vietnam attaches importance to this meeting and wishes to welcome the Australian PM at the event.-VNA