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Relations between Vietnam & Australia deepening

Released at: 09:09, 30/11/2017

Relations between Vietnam & Australia deepening

Australia's Senate President Scott Ryan (R) and Speaker of the House of Representatives Tony Smith (L) greet NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (Source: VNA)

NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan on official visit to Australia from November 29 to December 2.

by Long Van

During her talks with Speaker of Australia’s House of Representatives Tony Smith and President of the Senate Scott Ryan in Canberra on November 29 as part of her ongoing official visit to Australia, National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan affirmed that Vietnam prioritizes developing cooperation and friendship with countries while further deepening relations with its key partners, including Australia, the Vietnam News Agency reports.

The NA backs the early upgrade of the Vietnam-Australia relationship to a strategic partnership, Ms. Ngan said, hailing effective economic cooperation between the two countries.

She noted that Australia is Vietnam’s eighth-largest trade partner, with two-way trade growing by 10 per cent a year. Australia is among Vietnam’s largest non-refundable official development assistance (ODA) providers, significantly contributing to raising livelihoods, reducing poverty, improving the environment, and promoting equality in the country.

To enhance the economic ties, the NA Chairwoman suggested the two sides make clear the contents of the economic partnership mechanism in order to roll out a cooperation plan with specific activities within three to five years.

Ms. Ngan expressed her hope that Australian enterprises would step up investment and cooperation with Vietnam in such areas as high-tech agriculture, husbandry, energy, telecommunications, banking and finance, mining, and manufacturing.

She called on the Australian side to share its management experience and transfer technologies in coal mining, red mud treatment, and environmental protection to Vietnam.

She urged the two countries to increase bilateral trade towards a balance being achieved and to lift trade barriers, striving to raise bilateral trade value to $10 billion in the future.

Ms. Ngan also suggested Australia think twice before deciding to conduct investigations into trade protection so as to avoid adverse impacts on economic links, while calling on the country to provide technical assistance for Vietnam to help the country meet new import requirements set by Australia, making it easier for Vietnamese agricultural products and seafood to enter the country.

She also appealed to Australia to continue its ODA to Vietnam, focusing on infrastructure, agriculture and rural development, poverty reduction, climate change response, and high-quality human resources development.

Noting the effective cooperation in national defense and security and the fight against crime and illegal migration, the NA Chairwoman proposed the two sides continue consultation and support each other at regional forums, especially at the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+).

She thanked Australia for sharing its experience in anti-terrorism and peacekeeping operations, as well as its cooperation in searching for Vietnamese soldiers missing in action.

Ms. Ngan called for Australia’s further support in implementing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on dealing with the consequences on unexploded ordnance.

She urged Vietnam and Australia to continue their affiliation in combating cross-border crime, terrorists, and human traffickers, as well as illegal border crossings, along with implementing the MoU on the return of Vietnamese with no legal right to stay in Australia, signed in 2016 in a cooperative spirit and with goodwill.

Vietnam wishes to join hands with Australia in science, technology, and innovation in order to adapt to new trends in the world, address urgent issues, and cope with climate change, she said.

The NA Chairman suggested Australia provide more scholarships to Vietnamese students and expand its educational collaboration with the country under different reforms, and hailed the implementation of the vacation-labor program established on March 1, 2017.

Regarding bilateral legislative ties, Ms. Ngan urged the two countries’ legislative bodies to intensify delegation exchanges at different levels, coordinate in supervising the implementation of cooperation agreements signed by the two governments, exchange information about parliamentary activities in respective countries, and enhance the role and activities of friendship parliamentarians’ groups.

Ms. Ngan’s proposals were accepted by the Australian leaders, who said her visit is of significance and contributes to strengthening the enhanced comprehensive partnership between the two countries towards a strategic partnership in 2018.

They lauded the achievements Vietnam has recorded in the past, including improving living standards and spurring economic growth.

Speaker Smith affirmed that Australia will continue its ODA to Vietnam, covering projects on infrastructure development, noting his hope that Vietnam will pay more attention to enhancing the capacity and leadership of women.

Senate President Ryan described education as a highlight of bilateral cooperation, with an increasing number of Vietnamese students in Australia in recent years.

Australia will offer more scholarships to regional students, including those from Vietnam, within the framework of the New Colombo Plan, he said.

During the talks, the two sides also discussed regional and international issues of shared concern, including the East Sea issue.

They stressed the significance of maintaining peace, stability, security, aviation, and navigation freedom and safety in the region, and handling disputes by peaceful measures, in line with international law.

Following the talks, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the NA Chairwoman Ngan to explain he could not greet her due to unexpected delays during a working trip.

Relations between Vietnam and Australia have grown rapidly and effectively in recent years, especially since the establishment of a bilateral comprehensive partnership in 2009 and the signing of a declaration on enhancing the Vietnam-Australia comprehensive partnership in March 2015.

Australia considers Vietnam a key partner in ASEAN and highly values its role in the bloc.

It is Vietnam’s eighth-largest trade partner, with two-way trade growing 10 per cent each year and standing at over $5 billion in 2016.

Australia has injected $1.7 billion into 378 projects to date, ranking it 19th among 115 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

It is one of the largest providers of non-refundable ODA to Vietnam, which totaled A$130 million ($98.5 million) per year in the 2010-2015 period.

The two countries have strong cooperation in education, labor, tourism, and science and technology.

Along with sound relations, the rapport between the Vietnamese and Australian parliaments is developing. The ongoing visit to Australia by Chairwoman Ngan is expected to promote the comprehensive partnership with Australia, towards a strategic partnership in 2018.

The visit also looks to beef up cooperative ties between the NA and Australia’s Senate and House of Representatives, as well as enhance bilateral cooperation in potential fields such as economics, trade, development cooperation, agriculture, education, science and technology, environment and natural resources, tourism, culture, and people-to-people exchanges.

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