|Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (Photo: Australian government)
Vietnam and Australia established diplomatic ties on February 26, 1973. The two countries established a comprehensive partnership in 2009, an enhanced comprehensive partnership in 2015, and a strategic partnership in 2018. The leaders of the two countries agreed to upgrade the relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership at an appropriate time.
Strong comprehensive partnership
Prime Minister Albanese's visit to Vietnam took place with the Vietnam-Australia strategic partnership developing strongly, substantively, and effectively in various fields. The two countries will mark the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations this year.
Vietnam and Australia have enjoyed trustful political relations expressed through the exchange of visits and high-level contacts. President Vo Van Thuong met Prime Minister Albanese when they attended the coronation of British King Charles III last month. Australian Governor-General David Hurley visited Vietnam in April. It was his only State visit to a Southeast Asian country.
Late last year, National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue was the first high-ranking Vietnamese leader to visit Australia in five years. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh met Prime Minister Albanese on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia last November and at the Expanded G7 Summit in Japan in May.
|Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh meets Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia in November, 2022.
Vietnam and Australia have built 20 bilateral cooperation mechanisms, including annual meetings of their Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers, and Defense Ministers, as well as the Conference on Economic Partnership and multiple cooperation agreements between localities. Two-way trade turnover last year totaled 15.7 billion USD, up 26.7% from the previous year. In the first quarter of this year, bilateral trade totaled 3.4 billion USD.
Australia imports Vietnamese lychee, mango, dragon fruit, longan, and frozen shrimp. Vietnam is urging Australia to open its door to Vietnamese passion fruit, rambutan, star-apple, coconut, durian, and fresh shrimp. Australia is pushing for Vietnam to open its market to Australian deer meat, kangaroo meat, honey, peach, and nectarine.
Australia is one of the largest providers of official development assistance (ODA) to Vietnam. In the 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, Australia has given Vietnam nearly 2 billion USD in ODA. Australia was one of the countries that helped Vietnam the most in COVID-19 prevention and control. It was the second largest vaccine donor to Vietnam, with 26.4 million doses. Cooperation between localities in the two countries is growing. There are now 15 pairs of sister localities.
The visit to Vietnam by Prime Minister Albanese is one of the most important activities of the 50th anniversary year. Albanese’s government calls Vietnam an “area of focus”, and considers it an increasingly important economic and strategic partner for Australia in Southeast Asia.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Australia Nguyen Tat Thanh says Albanese, who is leader of Australia’s Labor Party, will meet General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and visit the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics in Hanoi. Their first meeting will lay a foundation for a strong partnership between the two parties and the two countries.
Prime Minister Albanese will hold talks with Prime Minister Chinh on climate change response, digital transformation, green development, clean energy, a sustainable supply chain, and other cooperation priorities. Ambassador Thanh said the two Prime Ministers will witness the signing of cooperation agreements in trade, finance, science, technology, education, and training, and the opening of new direct flights between the two countries.