Aug 19, 2019 / 10:22

Australia PM Scott Morrison's upcoming visit to enhance strategic ties with Vietnam

The Hanoitimes - The Australian Prime Minister will visit Vietnam more than one year after the two countries upgraded ties to strategic partnership in March 2018.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his spouse will make an official visit to Vietnam on August 22-24 at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry has announced.
Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: VGP
Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison at G20 Summit in Japan, June 2019 . Photo: VGP
The visit will take place more than one year after the two countries established strategic partnership when PM Phuc visited Canberra in March 2018. 

Under the joint statement signed on March 15, 2018, Vietnam and Australia will reinforce trust and mutual understanding for the deepened ties and a region of peace, self-reliance, and maintenance of common rules which have been pursued for the past decades. 

Prof. Carlyle A. Thayer, Emeritus Professor at University of New South Wales at Australian Defense Force Academy, said in “Australia’s Prime Minister to Visit Vietnam and the US” Thayer Consultancy Background Brief, August 8, 2019 that the visit by the Australian Prime Minister to Vietnam was long-planned and reciprocates the visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc last year. 

Thayer said that the focus of the visit will be how to advance the strategic partnership agreed last year through a multi-year Plan of Action. This agreement included five major areas of cooperation; (1) political, (2) economic cooperation and development, (3) defense, law and justice, intelligence and security, (4) education, science and technology, labor, social affairs and culture, and (5) regional and international cooperation (UN Sustainable Development Goals, Climate Change and ASEAN).

Obviously, the South China Sea and China will feature in discussions between the two prime ministers, he said. Both will call for the implementation of international law and the settlement of disputes by peaceful means. The two leaders will also discuss how they can assist each other when Vietnam assumes the ASEAN Chair at the end of the year.

Three issues are likely to feature in defense cooperation: training related to UN peacekeeping, maritime security and cyber security, the professor noted.