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Mar 07, 2024 / 15:30

Vietnam-Australia relations upgraded to comprehensive strategic partnership

The milestone comes when the two countries celebrated the 50th anniversary of establishing bilateral ties last year and witnessed enhanced comprehensive cooperation.

Vietnam and Australia lifted their relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the official visit to Australia by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on March 7-9. 

Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Australia's Anthony Albanese on March 7. Photo: VGP 

The upgrading allows the two countries to continue developing all aspects of their relationship while respecting international law and each other’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and political systems.

Commenting on the relationship, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said: "Those five decades have seen Australia and Vietnam build an enduring partnership, a friendship based on trust, mutual respect, family and community ties and a shared vision for an open, stable and prosperous Indo Pacific." 

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh stressed that "Vietnam and Australia have entered a new chapter in the history of bilateral relations with very substantive, effective and sustainable items of cooperation across the board. This will help fulfill the interest of the two peoples and actively contribute to peace, stability, cooperation, development and friendship in the region and the world."

The relationship covers six big fields, including:

Deepening political, defense security, and justice cooperation: The two nations renew their commitment to frequent high-level engagements in all channels, including Annual Leaders’ Talks.   

Remarkably, they commit to broadening cooperation, including in the defense industry, maritime security, information and intelligence sharing; strengthening maritime cooperation; and enhancing cooperation in cyber-security and critical technology. Additionally, they boost information sharing and forecasting on strategic issues of mutual concern.

Enhancing economic engagement: They pursue more open trade and investment through global and regional economic integration. The countries stressed the importance of the Vietnam-Australia Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy and additional actions to implement Invested: Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040.

They vow to fully implement the agreements of which both countries are members, such as the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

They will work together through other international mechanisms such as ASEAN-related mechanisms, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the WTO, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).

They recognize Australia’s long-standing official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam. Australia will continue to support Vietnam’s development efforts through bilateral, sub-regional and regional initiatives focused on areas consistent with Vietnam’s socio-economic development orientation.

Building knowledge and connecting people: The countries acknowledge the pivotal role of people-to-people ties in fostering the relations. Australia supports Vietnam’s human resource development and explores opportunities to increase education and training cooperation. At the same time, they encourage institutional partnerships between Australian and Vietnamese vocational education institutions and Vietnam’s private sector.

Additionally, Vietnam and Australia look for opportunities to support increased travel and tourism between our two countries. They will strengthen the two-way flow of young people seeking to holiday and work in Australia and Vietnam through the reciprocal Work and Holiday visa arrangement. Meanwhile, they continue the two-way flow of students between Australia and Vietnam.

Strengthening climate, environment, and energy cooperation: The two countries vow to cooperate to take ambitious climate action by working together to support Vietnam’s Just Energy Transition that balances economic growth and net zero goals by helping to stimulate higher levels of private sector finance and investment into Vietnam’s mitigation and adaptation efforts.

Supporting science, technology, innovation, and developing digital transformation: Vietnam and Australia will build capacity across science, innovation and technology for the sustainable and inclusive development of Vietnam’s national research and innovation system. They will work closely to improve national innovation ecosystems and build capacity for the sustainable and inclusive development of Vietnam’s national research and innovation system.

Meanwhile, they deepen cooperation on digital transition and digital inclusion, including through a Digital Economy Memorandum of Understanding.

Reinforcing regional and international cooperation: They work closely bilaterally, trilaterally and multilaterally to extend mutual support to the institutions that underpin an open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

The two countries recognize ASEAN as central to regional stability and prosperity and support ASEAN's centrality and unity in the evolving regional architecture.

They express concerns about the situation in the East Sea (South China Sea) and reaffirm their commitment to peace, security, stability, freedom of navigation and overflight by peaceful means without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

They stress the importance of a prosperous and resilient Mekong sub-region and the need for regional cooperation to address shared challenges, including climate change, energy transition, transboundary water management and food security, and to ensure regional security.