31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Nov 09, 2021 / 22:45

Marise Payne visits Hanoi, cementing Australia-Vietnam ties

Strengthening ties with Vietnam is considered one of the priorities in Australia’s diplomacy.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne is on her visit to Vietnam to advance the bilateral relationships and strengthen their shared work, committing more vaccines to Hanoi.

 Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Vietnam's FM Bui Thanh Son in Hanoi on Nov 9. Photo: MoFA

In separate meetings today [Nov 9] with Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and her Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son, Marise Payne said strengthening ties with Vietnam is considered one of Australia’s priorities namely infrastructure development, agriculture, and climate adaptation.

At the meeting with PM Pham Minh Chinh, she said that Australia expects to soon elevate the current Strategic Partnership with a focus on economic, trade, investment, education, and regional issues, including a rule-based order in solving international conflicts.

She announced that Australia will donate additional 2.6 million doses of vaccines to Vietnam, totaling 7.8 million.

Chinh thanked the Government of Australia for accompanying Vietnam in its pandemic fight by increasing the donations of vaccines and medical supplies. He expected Australia continue assisting the country's health sector, climate response, and manpower training.

Chinh expected Australia to intensify its official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam, ensure Vietnamese farm produce and seafood being on the shelves in Australia, allow Vietnamese laborers to work in agricultural sector, and encourage investment in both countries.

The PM expected Australia’s facilitation to the Vietnamese community in Australia with proper visa extension policy for those stranded by Covid-19. He hoped that the country will soon welcome back Vietnamese students.

Australia-Vietnam relations in ASEAN context

On the same day, Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and Marise Payne co-chaired the 2nd ASEAN-Australia Women, Peace and Security Dialogue themed “Women, Peace and Security: Progressing Implementation on the Road to Recovery from Covid-19”.

The event highlighted Australia’s commitments to accompanying ASEAN in implementing the UN resolutions on women, peace, and security, strongly promoting women’s engagement in peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance as well promoting women’s rights.

She said cooperation on women is one of the priorities in Australian policy. Accordingly, the Government of Australia will invest AUD10 million (US$7.4 million) to support projects on digital transformation, training of skilled workers, improving regulatory capacity.

The efforts help empower regional women, making it one of the priorities in ASEAN Community Vision after 2025.

The ASEAN-Australia dialogue was firstly held in 2018.

Vietnam is one of the destinations together with Cambodia, Indonesia, and Malaysia in Marise Payne’s Southeast Asian tour this week.

The tour is aimed to “promote the region’s economic and health recovery from Covid-19”, according to the Embassy of Australia in Hanoi.

The visits follow last month’s historic leader-level agreement to establish a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between ASEAN and Australia, which underscores Australia’s commitment to ASEAN’s central role in the Indo-Pacific, it said.

 Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Vietnam's PM Pham Minh Chinh in Hanoi. 

Today, the two foreign ministers joined the 3rd Australia-Vietnam Foreign Minister Meeting.

Established in 1973, the Australia-Vietnam relations have made strides with strong mutual support to multilateralism, including multilateral trade agreements namely the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The bilateral trade is evidence of the closed partnership over the past 20 years with an average growth rate of 8.6% annually.

In the first nine months this year, the two-way trade rose 50% to $9.1 billion despite Covid-19.

Regarding investment, Australia has poured $3.5 billion into Vietnam, ranking the 19th out of 132 investors in the Southeast Asian country.  

The two sides agreed to effectively implement the Plan of Action for 2020-2023 and the Australia-Vietnam Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy (EEES), which focused on key sectors of current and future economic importance to both nations.

Hanoi and Canberra have made efforts to support the mutual goal of becoming top 10 trading partners and doubling two-way investment in the strategy.

Australia today awarded $2.5 million worth of projects on recovery green economy in Vietnam at the witness of Thanh Son and Marise Payne. The projects help Vietnamese businesses launch initiatives on green energy and climate adaptation. 

 Participants at the 2nd ASEAN-Australia Women, Peace and Security Dialogue in Hanoi on Nov 9.