Speaking to the Vietnam News Agency about the action program to implement the Vietnam -  Australia Strategic Partnership for the period of 2020-2023 when the two countries celebrate the 5th anniversary of their strategic partnership (March 15, 2018 - 2023), the professor highlighted that the strategic partnership focuses on three pillars - strengthening economic-trade linkages; deepening strategic-defense-security cooperation; and building knowledge and innovation partnerships.

The first pillar of trade and investment gains the most success as the bilateral trade has continued to grow, he said, adding Vietnamese agricultural exports still need a better access to the Australian market.


Professor Carl Thayer from the Australian Defense Force Academy, the University of New South Wales

The second pillar of strategic-defense-security cooperation should be deepened although the two countries have signed an MOU on defense cooperation, a joint vision statement, and joined peacekeeping activities, training programs and ship visits, the professor said.

The third pillar of knowledge and innovation has not got off the ground, he said.

In addition to the three focused pillars, Vietnam and Australia still have many opportunities and potential for cooperation in other fields including agriculture, tourism, and climate change.

As the two countries are expected to elevate their relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, the professor said that they will boost cooperation in trade - investment, defense security, and climate change - a global issue.

“If we do move up to a comprehensive strategic partnership, we must elevate the foreign and defense ministerial meetings to a two-plus-two formula. Both meet at the same time and then they meet separately. So when Vietnamese ministers come to Australia, all four meet, and then the foreign minister goes to his counterpart and the defense minister and we look across,” he said.

Commenting on the advantages and difficulties in the next phase of the bilateral relationship, he said that strategic trust between the two countries is at a high level.

Regarding difficulties, according to Professor Carl Thayer, although Vietnam and Australia have many co-strategic points, jointly supporting a safe regional environment and ensuring freedom of navigation, they have not reached a consensus in some areas. Another issue is that the two sides need to promote the relationship to become a more reciprocal and equal relationship in the future so that both sides can benefit in all fields.

Source: VNA