Vietnamese Defense Minister Phan Van Giang (left) and Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Donald Marles
Vietnamese Defense Minister Phan Van Giang and his Australian counterpart Richard Donald Marles review the Guards-of-Honor of the Vietnam People’s Army.

After the official welcoming ceremony, the two ministers held talks.

During the meeting, General Phan Van Giang expressed his delight at welcoming the Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister to Vietnam and emphasized the significance of the visit, which took place in the context that the two countries are looking forward to the 50th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations (1973-2023).

The Vietnamese defense minister took the occasion to thank Australia for its support to Vietnam’s pandemic prevention and control effort over the past time as well as its effective cooperation and assistance to Vietnam in U.N. peacekeeping operations, especially its transportation of Vietnam’s level 2 field hospitals to the U.N. Mission in South Sudan.

Affirming the significance of the assistance, General Phan Van Giang said that it has not only demonstrated the spirit of friendly cooperation and readiness to support each other, but also showed each side’s responsibility for common international issues.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Donald Marles introduces members of the Australian delegation to General Phan Van Giang.
The two delegations in a joint photo

For his part, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Donald Marles sincerely thanked the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense for the thoughtful and solemn welcome. He also expressed his delight at the positive development of the Vietnam - Australia Strategic Partnership, in which defense cooperation is a pillar of the bilateral relationship.

Recalling the results of bilateral defense cooperation over the past time, the two sides assessed that Vietnam and Australia have closely coordinated and effectively implemented the Memorandum of Understanding on defense cooperation signed in 2010 and the Joint Vision Statement on the promotion of defense cooperation signed in 2018. They have achieved many positive results in such fields as meetings between senior defense leaders, training, military medicine, sharing of counter-terrorism skills, maritime security, settlement of war consequences, and U.N. peacekeeping operations. The two sides have actively supported each other at regional and international multilateral defense cooperation mechanisms and forums, especially within the framework of ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+).

The two ministers affirmed that the bilateral defense cooperation has ample room to develop. They agreed to continue effectively implementing the existing defense cooperation fields in accordance with the agreements signed by the two sides and consider the signing and updating of existing cooperation documents. The two sides will focus on strengthening the exchange of delegations at all levels; effectively maintaining the defense policy dialogue at the deputy ministerial level and the ongoing consultation mechanisms; promoting cooperation in training, military medicine, collaboration between arms and services, overcoming of war legacy; studying the possibility of expanding cooperation in areas of each country’s  potential and needs.

An overview of the talks

Regarding cooperation in U.N. peacekeeping, General Phan Van Giang suggested Australia continue to assist Vietnam in transporting level 2 field hospitals to South Sudan and enhancing the capability of Vietnam peacekeeping training center, and support Vietnam's candidacy for high-ranking positions at the Mission and at the U.N. headquarters.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Donald Marles pledged to continue supporting Vietnam transport level 2 field hospitals to U.N. peacekeeping missions in the near future.

At the talks, the two sides also shared their assessment of the global and regional situation and issues of mutual concern, including security, safety, freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea (internationally South China Sea). They emphasized the importance of maintaining trust, ensuring a peaceful and stable environment, cooperating for mutual development, and attaching importance to ASEAN's central role. They also agreed to continue strengthening coordination and mutual support at multilateral mechanisms and forums.

Translated by Tran Hoai