At the official reception for Defense Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich

On the afternoon of November 8 (local time), Defense Minister Christopher Pyne hosted an official reception for the Vietnamese Defense Minister and his entourage.

After the reception, the two defense ministers signed a Joint Vision Statement on Enhancing Defense Cooperation and co-chaired bilateral talks between the two defense delegations. 

The host expressed delight at seeing his Vietnamese counterpart again after the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) in Singapore last October. He emphasized the importance of the ongoing official visit of the Vietnamese Defense Minister to Australia as it takes place at a time when the two countries are celebrating the 45th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral defense ties. The visit made much sense as the two countries recently upgraded their relations to a strategic partnership, he underscored.

Defense Minister Christopher Pyne confirmed that Vietnam secures an important position in Australia’s foreign policy, and expressed his hope to boost bilateral relations, including defense cooperation, with Vietnam. 

Expressing his thanks to the host for the warm welcome, General Lich stated, Australia is a very important partner of Vietnam, and hoped that his visit would contribute to developing the Vietnam-Australia strategic partnership.

Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich (R) and his Australian counterpart Christopher Pyne sign the Joint Vision Statement on Enhancing Defense Cooperation

During the talks, the two sides exchanged the situation of each country as well as regional security issues of mutual concern.

Both sides highly valued the outcomes of defense cooperation activities over the past time. They agreed that the bilateral defense cooperation is implemented in line with the Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Defense Cooperation signed in 2010, and that the bilateral defense cooperation is a highlight in the two countries’ relations.

The two defense ministers also hailed the effective consultation and coordination between the two sides at regional multilateral forums, particularly ADMM+.

General Lich took the occasion to thank the Australian Defense Ministry for its provision of scholarships for Vietnamese defense personnel to attend training courses in Australia as well as its support for the recent deployment of Vietnam’s level-2 field hospital in South Sudan.

Regarding directions for bilateral defense cooperation in the coming time, the two sides agreed to boost exchange of high-ranking delegations, dialogues and consultations, cooperation between military services and corps, cooperation in UN peacekeeping operations, cooperation in overcoming war consequences in Vietnam, exchange of information on flight safety and sharing of experience in counter-terrorism.

During the talks between the Vietnamese and Australian defense delegations

General Lich expressed his hope that Australia would support Vietnam in holding defense and military events and activities in 2020 when Vietnam will take over the ASEAN Chairmanship, and that the Australian side would step up the realization of cooperation contents of the Memorandum of Understanding on Overcoming Bombs, Mines and Explosives Left by War in Vietnam signed by the two sides in March 2015.    

The two defense ministers reiterated the importance of freedom, security and safety of navigation and overflight in the region and agreed that all disputes must be solved by peaceful approaches on the basis of international law, particularly the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).

“20 years has passed since the two countries officially established their defense ties. We should be satisfied with the good outcomes of the bilateral cooperation. I do believe that the Vietnam-Australia defense ties will further develop, in line with the previously-signed agreements and the newly-signed Joint Vision Statement on Enhancing Defense Cooperation, for benefits of both countries and for peace, stability and development in the region and world,” stated General Lich at the meeting.

General Lich also invited Australian Defense Minister Christopher Pyne to visit Vietnam, and the Australian Defense Minister agreed with pleasure.

After the talks, the Vietnamese Defense Minister and his entourage visited Australian naval ship HMAS Canberra.

Thu Trang from Sydney, Australia

Translated by Thu Nguyen