During the dialogue
The Vietnamese delegation was led by Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, member of the Party Central Committee, permanent member of the Central Military Commission, Deputy Minister of National Defense, while Marc Ablong, First Assistant Secretary of the Department of Defense headed the Australian delegation.

The Australian head warmly welcomed the Vietnamese delegation, affirming that their visit is especially significant to the two countries’ ties in general and the defense ties in particular. This was the first defense policy dialogue held since the two countries established their defense cooperation in 1998 and at the time the two countries are about to mark the 45th anniversary of their diplomatic ties and lift their ties to strategic partnership.

General Vinh thanked the host for a warm and friendly reception and emphasized the importance of the dialogue which is of high political significance and demonstrates a new and practical development in the bilateral defense ties.

General Vinh (L) and Mr. Marc Ablong
General Vinh affirmed that Vietnam attaches much attention to its defense ties with Australia, saying that for nearly 20 years of bilateral defense cooperation, the two sides have shared common views on several issues of common concern, resulting in their enhanced consensus in cooperation, pragmatic cooperation contents and promoted trust.

During the dialogue, the two sides exchanged issues of common concern, including non-traditional security challenges. They agreed that those challenges could not be addressed by a single country but required the joint efforts of the international community.

In terms of bilateral defense ties, the Vietnamese and Australian heads agreed with the outcomes of the meeting of the defense consultation group at the external relations agency-level on November 2. As a result, in 2017, the two sides effectively realized the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Bilateral Defense Cooperation in 2010 and commitments by the leadership of the two countries, the two defense ministries and, particularly, the agreement reached by the two Defense Ministers during the official visit to Vietnam by Australian Minister of Defense Marise Payne in August 2017. The positive results have been seen in all-level delegation exchanges, training, maritime security, anti-terrorism, as well as UN peacekeeping operations.

On this occasion, General Vinh thanked the Australian Department of Defense for supporting the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense with English language training, especially for forces joining the UN peacekeeping operations as well as for their commitments to transporting equipment and personnel when Vietnam deploys its level-two field hospital in the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan in 2018.

 A joint photo of the two delegations
Regarding the future defense cooperation, the two sides noted that the two countries will celebrate the 45th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, 20th anniversary of the bilateral defense ties and lift their ties to that of strategic partnership in 2018. Therefore, the two sides should boost their cooperation in a practical and effective manner in the spirit of the signed MoU on defense cooperation with a focus on high-level delegation exchanges, enhancement of training in both quality and quantity, experience-sharing in UN peacekeeping operations, anti-terrorism, cyber-security and maritime security. The two sides should consider the possible cooperation in defense industry and on issues such as gender equality in the army.

During his visit to Australia, General Vinh held talks with Rebecca Skinner, Acting Secretary of the Department of Defense, and Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, Acting-Chief-of-the Australian Defense Force. He also visited the 39th Support Brigade, the Australian Joint Operations Command to learn more about their experiences in deploying forces and equipment in the context of UN peacekeeping operations.

Reported by Duy Minh-Le Minh from Canberra

Translated by Mai Huong