PM’s tour of Australia, New Zealand holds special significance: official

March 04, 2024 - 14:51
This is the first visits by a Vietnamese PM to Australia and New Zealand in seven years and also the first by PM Chính to the two countries in his role as Government leader of Việt Nam.


Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, his spouse Lê Thị Bích Trân and the high-ranking delegation of Việt NAm left Hà Nội on Monday morning for the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-Australia dialogue relations, and official visits to Australia and New Zealand from March 5–11. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính’s trip to attend the ASEAN - Australia Special Summit commemorating the 50th anniversary of dialogue relations and his official visits to Australia and New Zealand hold special significance, said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Đỗ Hùng Việt.

The visit, from March 5 to 11, is made at the invitation of Australian PM Anthony Albanese and New Zealand PM Christopher Luxon.

Talking to the media, Việt said the first special thing of this tour is that 2024 marks 50 years since the establishment of the ASEAN - Australia dialogue relations, follows the 50th anniversary of Việt Nam - Australia diplomatic ties in 2023, and is ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Southeast Asian country’s relations with New Zealand next year.

This is the first visits by a Vietnamese PM to Australia and New Zealand in seven years and also the first by Chính to the two countries as the Government leader of Việt Nam, Việt noted.

The second is the sound relations between ASEAN and Australia over the past 50 years which can be seen in their increasingly enhanced political trust and fruitful partnerships in all fields, including trade, economic, cultural and social affairs.

ASEAN countries consider Australia as one of the comprehensive strategic partners boasting substantive and effective cooperation with members of the bloc, the official said.

He believes the summit will be a good occasion for ASEAN and Australian leaders to review the 50-year bilateral relations, especially the implementation of their comprehensive strategic partnership set up in 2021.

This is also a chance for the leaders to discuss vision, orientations, and concrete measures for expanding ties in the future. The two sides, particularly Australia, are set to propose new cooperation initiatives, creating more resources and basis for the ASEAN - Australia ties to grow strong.

Highlighting the strides in the Việt Nam - Australia relations over the last half a century, he said PM Chính’s official visit is an occasion to look back on the development of their ties, especially in the implementation of the bilateral strategic partnership as well as the high-level agreements reached during the Australian Governor-General and PM’s trips to Việt Nam in 2023 and National Assembly Chairman Vương Đình Huệ’s visit to Australia in 2022.

During this visit, the two sides are scheduled to outline cooperation orientations, with an emphasis on trade and investment; education - training, including vocational training; science - technology; innovation; and new impetuses like digital economy, green economy, energy transition and renewable energy.

The countries will work towards elevating bilateral relations to a new height, he added.

Apart from Australia, New Zealand is also an important strategic partner of Việt Nam in the South Pacific, Việt remarked, underlining the long-standing and fruitful connections in various fields such as education - training, gender equality, development and agriculture.

During PM Chính’s official visit, the two countries will continue exploring measures for further strengthening cooperation in such areas as trade, investment, people-to-people links, labour, education - training and agriculture, particularly new technologies for agriculture and ways to expand their markets to each other’s high-quality agricultural products, the Deputy Minister noted.

Education, training key pillar of cooperation

Education and training have been important cooperation pillars in the Australia-Việt Nam relations since the “Đổi Mới” (Renewal) cause was implemented in Việt Nam, held Suiwah Edna Leung, Honorary Associate Professor at the Australian National University (ANU) Crawford School of Public Policy.

In an interview granted to Vietnam News Agency (VNA)’s correspondents in Sydney on the threshold of Prime Minister Chính’s official visit, the scholar said that Australia can deepen bilateral cooperation in the fields by providing “soft infrastructure” to Việt Nam, including training Government officials in the areas of finance, environment and business.

Such programmes may be linked to undergraduate degree programmes in public administration, he proposed. However, these programmes need to be supplemented by internships in Australian state and federal government agencies so that Vietnamese officials not only learn theory but also observe the practices and culture of Australian management agencies, he added.

Dr. Leung said that the growth of the private sector is especially relevant in Việt Nam today as it allows Việt Nam to move up the value chain in the electronics sector to engage in component manufacturing rather than just assembly activities. A stronger private business sector in Việt Nam will provide more investment opportunities for Australian companies, thus creating a “complete circle,” he stated.

The expert asserted that sound financial and business regulation will help promote growth and development of Việt Nam's formal private sector, which is quite small by regional standards. The sector accounts for only about 11 per cent of GDP in Việt Nam compared to 30 per cent in Thailand and 50 per cent in China.

The orderly growth and development of private companies in a market economy depends on market-friendly regulations from the Government, a type of "soft infrastructure" for which Australia is capable to provide, he underlined.

Dr. Leung expressed his hope that Vietnamese Prime Minister Chính will have a successful visit to Australia and that the relationship between the two countries will continue to develop more profoundly through a number of channels, including education and training.  VNS