|Australian Ambassador to Việt Nam Andrew Goledzinowski. Photo courtesy of baoquocte.vn|
HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam is a very important economic partner of Australia, Australian Ambassador to Việt Nam Andrew Goledzinowski told the press ahead of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to the country from June 3-4.
The visit is not just an opportunity to look back on the last 50 years and look forward to the next 50 years of cooperation, he said, noting that it's also the first visit by the PM.
Goledzinowski said Albanese’s Government was elected only just one year ago with a strong commitment to closer engagement in Southeast Asia, particularly Việt Nam. He added that leaders will be looking at all the different areas where they are working together, and they will be discussing the opportunity to upgrade their relationship to the next level.
According to him, Australia and Việt Nam are strategic partners in three pillars, including economic cooperation covering trade and investment; knowledge, innovation and education; and defence and strategic cooperation.
He said that the Australian and Vietnamese PMs will talk about all these areas and how they can further develop cooperation in each of those.
“And I think what I've heard is that the Vietnamese side would like to add a fourth pillar, to the relationship when we move to a comprehensive strategic partnership. And that fourth pillar might be climate change and energy transition cooperation. That's an important opportunity as well. So I would be expecting that all of these things would be discussed with all of Việt Nam's four top leaders, the fourth pillar”, he said.
The ambassador hailed Việt Nam as a very important economic partner for Australia. This year, Việt Nam becomes the 15th most populous country globally and the fastest growing economy in Asia. Economic relations between Việt Nam and Australia have grown quite quickly. In the last few years, Australia has risen to be Việt Nam's second biggest trading partner.
He said Australia is traditionally one of the first investors in Việt Nam. So the first foreign bank, the first international law firm, the first international university are all from Australia. It was Australia that helped build the electricity connection between North and South, the first satellite links for telephone calls, the first undersea cable. And that's where bilateral partnership can grow more.
One area that he particularly would like to see develop is education, saying that he told the Vietnamese Minister of Education and Training that only one Australian university, RMIT, has opened a branch campus in Vietnam. He wished to develop a framework which will allow other international universities of Australia to establish their campuses in Vietnam.
Asked about orientations to Việt Nam-Australia defence cooperation, Goledzinowski said Việt Nam and Australia do cooperate in a number of areas, notably in peacekeeping. In the coming time, the Vietnamese peacekeepers will continue taking mission in Africa, and Australia is very much involved in that effort. The two armies do skill training in a number of areas. And very importantly, both sides dialogued a lot on issues such as the East Sea, sovereignty, territorial integrity, the rule of law, and both countries strongly support the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982.
Before visiting Việt Nam, PM Albanese will be in Singapore and delivering a keynote speech at the Shangri La dialogue, which is the most important strategic conference in Asia. He hoped that the Vietnamese Government will be listening very carefully to what he has to say. And he expected that there will be strong agreement on many of the points that he will make, because the two countries share strong views about those issues.
Regarding what could be expect from climate change and energy transition, he said despite different geographies, Việt Nam and Australia are very dependent on carbon at the moment. They both made very ambitious commitments to decarbonise economies. So how that will be done will be very important.
“Australia is doing a great deal in this area. At the moment, it is investing in wind power in Việt Nam. We're working with Vinfast, to help them distribute their charging station network around the country. These green buses you see in Hà Nội are co-invested by Australia and Vinfast. So we're doing a lot, but we can do a great deal more. And I predict that there will be some important announcements emerging from PM Albanese’s visit to Việt Nam, precisely on that area”, he added. VNS