Australia - Việt Nam relations built around strong strategic trust: Ambassador

April 04, 2023 - 08:10
Australian Ambassador to Việt Nam Andrew Goledzinowski talks to Vietnam News Agency about the State visit to Việt Nam by Governor-General of Australia David Hurley from April 3-6.
Australian Ambassador to Việt Nam Andrew Goledzinowski. — VNA/VNS Photo

Australian Ambassador to Việt Nam Andrew Goledzinowski talks to the Vietnam News Agency about the State visit to Việt Nam by Governor-General of Australia David Hurley from April 3-6.

Could you touch on the purpose and significance of Governor-General of Australia David Hurley's upcoming visit to Việt Nam?

It's a very important visit for us. David Hurley is our head of state. He's the number one person in protocol terms in Australia. For him, to be conducting a visit to Việt Nam has a lot of symbolic importance.

It's only the third time that our head of state has visited Việt Nam. And of course, he's coming to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations. So we're building a great programme around him. And he's only the first of a number of important visitors who will come this year to Việt Nam.

What will the highlight activities of the upcoming visit during his time in Việt Nam?

Well, the most important activities will be the high-level meetings. He will be received by all four of the leaders of Việt Nam, including the President, the General Secretary, the Prime Minister, and the Chairman of the National Assembly.

In fact, he already met with the Chairman of the National Assembly when he visited Australia in December last year.

He is not unfamiliar with Việt Nam. In fact, he visited here before when he was the deputy head of our defence force. So he already understands and likes Việt Nam very much.

He will also participate in other important activities, but the high-level meetings will be the highlight of the anniversary year.

How will the visit contribute to the process of promoting the relation of the two countries to a comprehensive strategic partnership?

I think there are two parts to my answer.

First of all, the strategic partnership has been built around practical activities, and there is a huge amount happening between Việt Nam and Australia at the moment. So, for example, I have met with the Minister of Health, where we talked about expanding our partnership and cooperation in the health area.

And that's true across so many sectors. But separate to that, since I've been in Việt Nam, I've learned that Việt Nam values very much what the Vietnamese leaders call strategic trust. And that is important.

I think what that means is that in a time of change and a time of uncertainty where Australia and Việt Nam will be facing many challenges, we have chosen each other as trusted friends. We've decided that we will work together where we can to meet these challenges together, whether they are economic challenges or security challenges or environmental issues.

We will work together in partnership in a way which reflects the warmth of the relationship between the two countries.

And the Governor-General visit will serve to really amplify that and to consolidate the strategic trust that exists between the two countries, at the people-to-people level, like between you and me, but also at the highest level.

Since you assumed the role of Australia's ambassador to Việt Nam, the two countries have organised many exchange activities in various aspects. Recently, both countries have been coordinating to deliver the Vietnam Australia Unlocking Opportunity in Education and AgriFood Road Show series. How do you feel about the cooperation between the two countries in these fields, as well as the practical ethics that this activity brings?

You mentioned trade. Our trade has grown very fast in recent years, which reflects Việt Nam's growing prosperity, but also the complementary nature of our two economies. So Australia now has risen very fast to become Việt Nam's 7th largest trading partner.

Agriculture cooperation is very important, not just in selling products to each other but also in research. We have two different research organisations which do a lot of co-operation with the Vietnamese side in promoting new methods of farming in Việt Nam, particularly one that has a low carbon footprint, which will enable sustainabilities in the low carbon economy which Việt Nam is building. We focus on innovation, on Artificial Intelligence, on better use of the Internet and satellite communication to promote, for example water management in Việt Nam.

We also have our education team here who are promoting education leagues – we have now 300 different partnerships between Australian universities and Vietnamese universities, and we’re expanding that further.

Defence is also very important. When the Governor-General is here this week at the invitation of your President, he will be meeting with Vietnamese peacekeepers. And that’s important cooperation between Australia and Việt Nam, which we intend to continue growing.

We cooperate in border security, in law enforcement. We have a very strong team of police here that are working with the Vietnamese side to combat human trafficking, drug smuggling, and a variety of other transnational crimes.

There are so many other activities that we’re doing together, but it all builds around this strong strategic trust and the strong people-to-people links between the two countries. — VNS