Heading for more cooperation

Vietnam and Australia established bilateral defense relations in 1998. Since then, the ties have been developing substantially both in scope and scale. During the course of the relations, the two sides have exchanged various military high-ranking delegations at the ministerial, chief of defense force, deputy ministerial, deputy chief of defense force, and chief of service levels.

The first Vietnam-Australia Defense Policy Dialogue

In 2010, the Australian Minister for Defense came to Vietnam to attend the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) and the two sides then signed the Vietnam-Australia Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation. Since 2012, the two sides have regularly maintained dialogue and consultation mechanisms at all levels, including the ministerial and deputy ministerial levels. For the past six years, the Deputy Foreign and Defense Ministerial Strategic Dialogues 2+2 have been held regularly in each country.

The highlights in Vietnam-Australia defense cooperation is personal training. At present, Australia is the top English-speaking country that assists Vietnam in English language and specialized training for Vietnamese service people. Altogether, 2,443 participating defense personnel, of whom 1,733 were trained on-spot in Vietnam and 710 trained in Australia, benefited from the Australian Government-sponsored training program from 1999 to September 2018. One of the areas that the two sides pay special attention to is participation in UN peacekeeping operations. Australia is the country that has supported Vietnam in transporting the staff and some equipment of the first level-two field hospital of Vietnam to the UN Mission in South Sudan. Every year, Australia invites Vietnamese delegates to a number of symposiums and short training workshops on multinational operations held in Australia and supports Vietnam in training its peacekeepers. Apart from that, the two sides have also cooperated in carrying out various activities in other areas such as maritime security, counter-terrorism cooperation, war consequence mitigation, to name but a few.

The bilateral defense cooperation has seen a vigorous development since the first defense policy dialogue held in Canberra, Australia in November 2017. The success of the dialogue has helped tap potential for more intensive and extensive defense cooperation, contributing to boosting cooperation in other areas between the two countries.

A new step forward in defense cooperation

Defense relations between Vietnam and New Zealand have recently been developing on the basis of equality and mutual respect. New Zealand always pays special attention to the strategic geographic position and role of Vietnam in regional security and highly appreciates the contribution of Vietnam to the ADMM+ mechanism. As for Vietnam, the leaders of the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense often reaffirm the importance of defense relations with New Zealand and do their best to boost the bilateral defense ties for more substantial contribution to peace, stability and development in the region.

The two sides have been implementing effectively the contents agreed in the memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation signed in 2013 and the agreement on implementing UN peacekeeping operations signed in 2017. Such bilateral mechanisms as the deputy ministerial level defense policy dialogue and the bilateral defense consultation are held regularly.

New Zealand is one of the countries that actively support Vietnam in English-language training and share with Vietnam experiences in participating in UN peacekeeping operations, maintaining maritime security, and carrying out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

The two sides have agreed to strengthen delegation exchanges, especially high-ranking military delegations, and promote the on-going cooperation contents in the coming time. The two sides will also work to expand areas of cooperation.

In that context, the official visits to Australia and New Zealand of the high-ranking military delegation of Vietnam will make substantial contribution to stepping up defense relations between Vietnam and the two Oceanian countries, for peace and security in the region and the world.

Translated by Huu Duong