08/26/2019, 15.43
VIETNAM – AUSTRALIA
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Hanoi and Canberra ready for ‘strategic partnerships’

by Peter Tran

The visit by Australia’s prime minister set to boost relations between the two countries. The sensitive geopolitical situation in the South China Sea was an important topic. Australia and Vietnam will work closely together in regional and international fora.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Vietnam and Australia plan to expand bilateral ties and sign important strategic partnerships over the 2020-2023 period focusing on the economy, security and innovation.

The joint statement laying out future relations came as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison ended his two-day state visit to Hanoi last Saturday.

During high-level talks with his Vietnamese counterpart between Morrison and Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, the two leaders highlighted the importance of their respective countries in the Indo-Pacific region and the international community. In 2023, Australia and Vietnam will mark 50 years of diplomatic relations.

The sensitive geopolitical situation in the South China Sea was one of the issued discussed, especially China’s expansionism. The two delegations reiterated their support for international law and freedom of navigation in the region.

For the first time, Nguyễn Xuân Phúc publicly acknowledged during his meeting with his Australian counterpart that the Vietnamese government had “deep concerns” about recent complex developments.

Morrison agreed, especially over to the region’s militarisation and China’s desire to deter South-East Asia nations from developing energy resources in disputed waters.

The Vietnamese government stressed that Hanoi and Canberra agree on "strategic partnership relations" based on three core pillars, namely stronger economic cooperation, greater security collaboration, and more cultural exchange and innovation.

The two governments want to see bilateral trade rise to US$ 10 billion, up from US$ 8 billion in 2018.

Australia and Vietnam will work closely together in regional and international fora, on the basis of multilateral, open, inclusive, fair trading systems founded on international law.

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