Viet Nam and Australia have agreed on measures to promote efficiency in their bilateral partnership, especially in prioritised areas like defence, economy, investment, trade and agriculture.
After talks between Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott held yesterday as part of Dung's ongoing official visit, both sides agreed to have their foreign ministries complete and formalise a joint action programme for 2015-17.
The PMs also pledged to increase the exchange of high-level delegations and maintain meetings between the two countries' leaders in order to optimise existing collaboration mechanisms.
Both sides noted the rapid growth in their economic partnership; Australia is now Viet Nam's eighth largest trading partner with trade reaching nearly US$6 billion in 2014.
They committed to back businesses interested in investing in the nations' relative strengths. On the board were services, agriculture, breeding, processing, mining and education-training sectors.
Host and guest specifically vowed to make export conditions more favourable for agricultural and aquatic products by enhancing cooperation in animal and flora quarantine procedures.
The two also moved on to discuss a wide-range of regional and international issues of mutual concern, pledging to work closely at regional and international forums, namely ASEAN-Australia cooperation, the East-Asia Summit, the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum and the United Nations.
They spoke of boosting mutual support in the negotiation and implementations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The two PMs agreed to foster a defence-security partnership, highlighting the significance of maintaining peace and stability in maritime and aviation matters.
Security and freedom in the East Sea were stressed, both vocalising the desire to settle disputes on the basis of international law, citing the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The urgent need to build a Code of Conduct in the East Sea was highlighted. Together, they called for full observation of the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea as well as for avoiding conducting activities that might escalate regional tensions.
A joint statement was issued at a press conference to sum up the results of the talks. The statement declared that Viet Nam-Australia relations would be raised to a new level. Four co-operation documents were also presented, tackling unexploded ordnance removal, peacekeeping activities, a new working visa arrangement and human trafficking prevention.
The two prime ministers underlined the importance of strong ties at the political level, foreshadowing a regular exchange of high-level visits between the two countries. In this spirit, the Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, will lead a trade mission to Viet Nam in the second half of 2015 to promote further the wide range of trade and investment opportunities.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Prime Minister Tony Abbott agreed to reach a prompt conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, noting these agreements would help to drive higher growth. Australia stands ready to support Viet Nam's efforts to host Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2017.
PM Abbott stated that Australia and Viet Nam share a common interest in maintaining peace and stability in the region.
Both would work closely to eliminate any threats to stability, he said, adding that both sides support maritime and aviation freedom in the East Sea.
Australia and Viet Nam rejected any unilateral moves aimed at changing the status quo, he stated, reiterating that disputes should be settled through international law.
PM Abbot repeated statements he made in Tokyo, Seoul and Beijing to the effect that Asian countries should join together and work for long-term interests and the maintenance of peace and stability.
Talks between Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh and Australian Defence Minister Kevin Andrews were also held yesterday in Canberra aimed at furthering cooperation in maritime security. Deputy Minister Vinh is part of the PM's accompanying party for the working visit to Australia
Vinh and Andrews similarly highlighted the beneficial results of cooperation between the two countries' defence ministries in information and experience exchanges in counterterrorism, training and United Nations (UN) peace-keeping activities.
The two sides agreed to continue cooperating in these fields, especially forging links in maritime security. Defence Minister Andrews affirmed that his country will be one of the leading partners in assisting Viet Nam's participation in UN peace-keeping activities.
Deputy Minister Vinh and Australian Department of Defence's Major General John Frewen also met early yesterday to sign an agreement to speed up implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on peacekeeping cooperation between the two ministries.
Viet Nam is requesting further support from Australia in infrastructure, human resources, agriculture, rural development and poverty reduction, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told Speaker of the House of Representatives Bronwyn Bishop and President of the Senate Stephen Parry in Canberra yesterday.
He expressed appreciation for the Australian parliament's support through official development assistance (ODA) projects and asked for continued efforts to deepen bilateral ties.
Dung also urged the hosts to facilitate all-round friendship and co-operation between the two nations, including aiding the Vietnamese community in Australia whenever possible.
Bishop assured the PM that the Australian parliament agreed to work to improve its relationship with Viet Nam.
Australian and Vietnamese lawmakers have worked together in international inter-parliamentary forums, intensifying the bilateral friendship and political trust, she said.
Australian parliament leaders also pledged to assist the Vietnamese community in Australia through every available means. They said they valued the community's contributions.
Meeting members of the Australia–Viet Nam Friendship Parliamentarians' Group the same day, the Vietnamese leader reviewed the outcomes of his talks with Prime Minister Tony Abbot, particularly the consensus on elevating the bilateral comprehensive partnership and the signing of a declaration on enhancing co-operation in politics-security, economics-trade-investment, ODA, people-to-people exchange and other areas.
He suggested the group work to promote the Australian government's extension of ODA to Viet Nam.
The parliamentarians thanked Viet Nam for its help with the search and repatriation of the remains of Australian soldiers who died in Viet Nam during the American war.
In a conversation with Dung, Labour Party Leader Bill Shorten said upgrading the bilateral strategic partnership suits the realities and meets the aspirations of the two peoples.
During the visit, ministers accompanying Dung also held working sessions with their Australian counterparts.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese firms struck eight deals with Australian partners, including five in education-training and one each in container manufacturing and export, farm produce processing and copper cable manufacturing. — VNS