Vietnam, Australia tighten strategic partnership

10:34 | 11/11/2021 Cooperation

Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, visited Vietnam on November 9 to discuss ongoing cooperation under the Australia-Vietnam Strategic Partnership.

During her visit, Minister Payne met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and Minister for Public Security To Lam. Minister Payne also spoke at the ASEAN-Australia Women Peace and Security Dialogue and handed over critical equipment to support Vietnam’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout to Vietnam’s Minister for Health, Nguyen Thanh Long.

Together with Foreign Minister Son, Minister Payne provided opening remarks at the ASEAN-Australia Women Peace and Security Dialogue, co-hosted by Australia and Vietnam, in which she highlighted Australia’s commitment to advance our region’s WPS agenda under the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Minister Payne then joined UNICEF Representative in Vietnam Rana Flowers to formally handover 1,910 vaccine refrigerators, 5 million syringes and 50,000 safety boxes to Vietnam’s Minister for Health, Nguyen Thanh Long. Minister Payne also announced that Australia would increase its commitment to share COVID-19 vaccine doses from Australia’s own supply by a further 2.7 million doses, lifting the total to more than 7.8 million doses.

Australia’s ongoing assistance to Vietnam’s COVID-19 recovery was a key issue for discussion for Minister Payne and Minister Son at the annual Australia-Vietnam Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. The ministers also discussed the two countries’ growing economic engagement, cooperation on climate change, and joint activities to address strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific.

Following their meeting, the ministers oversaw the announcement of a A$6.5 million COVID-19 Green Economic Recovery Package for Vietnam, including the award of grants under the latest round of the Business Partnerships Program and a A$4 million investment in sustainable rice production funded through the Mekong Australia Partnership. This package aligns with both countries’ recent commitment to move towards net zero emissions by 2050, as well as Australia’s announcement that it will double its climate finance commitments to A$2 billion between 2020-25. The ministers also witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on strengthened cooperation.

With Prime Minister Chinh, Minister Payne discussed the breadth and depth of the bilateral relationship and welcomed the finalisation of the Australia-Vietnam Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy and the signing of the Vietnam-Australia Joint Statement on Commitment to Practical Climate Action, which Prime Minister Chinh and Prime Minister Morrison had concluded during COP26 in Glasgow on November 1.

Minister Payne also inaugurated the Canberra-Ngunnawal Room in the newly renovated Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV), highlighting the strong ties between Australia and the DAV, one of the region’s foremost diplomatic tertiary institutions, which counts many Australian alumni among its staff. Minister Payne took the opportunity at the DAV to announce that 60 Vietnamese students will this year be granted Australia Awards Scholarships to study masters programs in Australia’s world class universities.

Minister Payne’s visit to Hanoi underscored the strong friendship and close ties Australia and Vietnam share under the Strategic Partnership and the commitment of both countries to a stable, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

My Phung