Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh (R) and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia Marise Payne. Photo: chinhphu.vn

During the talks, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh lauded Vietnam visit of Marise Payne following her reappointment as Minister for Foreign Affairs cum Minister for Women of Australia, saying that it proves the Australian government’s appreciation for Vietnam and substantial ties between the two nations. Deputy PM Minh thanked the Pacific country for maintaining the supply of development assistance to Vietnam, saying that it has been used effectively, contributing to Vietnam’s socio-economic development.

For her part, Ms. Payne affirmed that Australia considers Vietnam one of its key partners in Southeast Asia and wants to further promote the bilateral relations and cooperation in both bilateral and multilateral frameworks.

The two sides agreed to facilitate high-level visits in the coming time, effectively uphold 19 bilateral cooperation mechanisms, especially annual meetings between the two defense and foreign ministers, and hold the first ministerial-level Economic Partnership Meeting soon this year. They vowed to enhance coordination in maritime security, fight against transnational and drug-related crimes, as well as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The two sides also agreed to tap potentials and strengths of each country to expand economic cooperation and promote efficiency of the multilateral trade agreements, of which both countries are members, particularly the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Deputy PM Minh asked the Australian side to gear up the safety approval process and open its market to Vietnamese agricultural produce and aquatic products, especially longans and shrimps.

Ms. Payne took the chance to congratulate Vietnam on a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the 2020-2021 term with 192 positive votes out of the 193 UN member nations.

Australia highly values Vietnam’s role in the region and ASEAN, strongly supports the bloc’s central role in evolving regional architecture, she said, firmly believing that Vietnam will successfully fulfill its tasks in the UNSC as well as in its position as ASEAN Chair 2020.

They highlighted the significance of ensuring peace, stability, security, maritime and aviation safety and freedom in the East Sea as well as the settlement of disputes in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and early formulation of a practical, effective and comprehensive Code of Conduct in the East Sea.

On the occasion, the two ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two foreign ministries on improving women empowerment in external affairs amid global integration and digital era. They also witnessed the presentation of the Vietnamese State’s Friendship Order to the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research in recognition of its active contributions to Vietnam’s agriculture and rural development.

General Ngo Xuan Lich (L) and visiting Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne. Photo: qdnd.vn

On the afternoon, Vietnamese Defense Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich received the visiting Australian Foreign Minister at the Defense Ministry’s Headquarters.

Welcoming the Australian Foreign Minister to Vietnam, the Vietnamese Defense Minister expressed delight at the positive developments in the bilateral relations, including defense cooperation, since the two countries upgraded their relationship to a strategic partnership. 

Last year, the two countries held various activities in celebration of 45 years of their diplomatic ties and 20 years of their defense ties. Also in 2018, the two defense ministers issued the Joint Vision Statement on Defense Cooperation between Vietnam and Australia during an Australia official visit of General Ngo Xuan Lich.

The host highly valued the Vietnam visit of a group of Australian naval ships as part of the Indo-Pacific Endeavor 2019, saying that the visit contributed to promoting exchange between the two peoples and militaries, and showed that the Vietnam-Australia defense cooperation aims at peace, stability and common development in the region.

Ms. Payne affirmed that Australia will continue its support for Vietnam’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations by helping Vietnam open capacity building courses and flying the staff and equipment of Vietnam’s level-2 field hospital No2 to South Sudan to replace Vietnam’s level-2 field hospital No1 operating at the South Sudan UN Peacekeeping Mission, at the end of this year.

The two sides agreed to maintain the bilateral consultation mechanism as well as coordinate closely with each other in ASEAN-led regional forums and ASEAN-Australia Forum.

General Lich stressed that Vietnam wants to promote consultations with Australia when it takes the Chairmanship of ASEAN and hosts events within the framework of ADMM+ in 2020.

Translated by Thu Nguyen