|Việt Nam is further deepening relations with its key partners, including Australia, National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân said yesterday.— VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đức
CANBERRA — Việt Nam is further deepening relations with its key partners, including Australia, National Assembly (NA) Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân said yesterday.
Chairwoman Ngân added that this was part of developing co-operation and friendship with other countries.
The top legislator made the statement during talks with Speaker of Australia’s House of Representatives, Tony Smith, and Senate President, Scott Ryan, in Canberra yesterday as part of her ongoing official visit to Australia.
The Việt Nam National Assembly backs the early upgrade of Việt Nam-Australia relationship to a strategic partnership, Ngân said, hailing effective economic co-operation between the two countries.
She noted that Australia was Việt Nam’s eighth largest trade partner and that two-way trade had expanded by 10 per cent a year. "Australia is among Việt Nam’s largest providers of non-refundable official development assistance (ODA), significantly contributing to raising livelihoods, reducing poverty, improving the environment and promoting equality.
To enhance economic ties, the NA Chairwoman suggested the two sides make the contents of the economic partnership clear so that a co-operation plan could be rolled out with specific activities within three to five years.
Ngân said she hoped Australian enterprises would step up investment with Việt Nam in such areas as high-tech agriculture, animal husbandry, energy, telecommunication, finance-banking, mining and manufacturing.
She called on the Australian side to share its management experience and transfer technologies in coal mining, the treatment of red-mud from bauxite mining, and other forms of environmental protection.
Ngân urged the two countries to increase and balance bilateral trade and lift trade barriers, striving to raise bilateral trade to US$10 billion in the future.
She suggested Australia think twice before conducting investigations into trade protection so as to avoid adverse impacts on economic links.
She also called on Australia to provide technical assistance to Việt Nam to help it meet new import requirements set by Australia. This would make it easier for Vietnamese agricultural products and seafood to access the Australian market.
Ngân also appealed to Australia to continue its ODA to Việt Nam, focusing on infrastructure, agriculture and rural development, poverty reduction, climate change response and high-quality human-resource development.
The Chairwoman said she "noted with joy" the effective collaboration in national defence-security and the fight against crimes and illegal migration, the NA Chairwoman proposed the continued consultation and support for each other at regional forums, especially at the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+).
She thanked Australia for sharing its experience in anti-terrorism and peace-keeping operations, as well as co-operation in searching for Vietnamese soldiers missing in action. Ngân called for Australia’s further support in implementing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on dealing with post-war bomb and mine consequences.
She urged Việt Nam and Australia to continue their affiliation in combating cross-border crimes, terrorists and human traffickers, as well as illegal border crossings. This included implementing a memorandum the return of Vietnamese with no legal right to stay in Australia signed in 2016 in a spirit of goodwill.
"Việt Nam also wishes to join hands with Australia in science, technology and innovation so that it can adapt to new trends in the world, address urgent issues and cope with climate change," she said.
The NA Chairman suggested Australia provide more scholarships for Vietnamese students and expand its educational collaboration with the country under different reforms. She praised the implementation of a vacation-labour programme in March 1 this year.
Ngân urged the legislative bodies in the two countries to intensify delegation exchange at different levels, co-ordinate in supervising the implementation of co-operation agreements signed by the two Governments, exchange information about parliamentary activities, and enhance the role and activities of friendship groups of parliamentarians.
Ngân’s proposals were accepted by the Australian leaders, who said her visit was of significance, contributing to strengthening the enhanced comprehensive partnership between the two countries, towards a strategic partnership in 2018.
They praised achievements made by Việt Nam, including those in improving people’s living standards and spurring economic growth.
Speaker Smith affirmed that Australia would continue its ODA to Việt Nam, covering projects on infrastructure development. He said he hoped that Việt Nam would pay more attention to enhancing the capacity and leadership of women.
Senate President Ryan described education as a spotlight of bilateral co-operation as the number of Vietnamese students in Australia increased in recent years.
Australia will offer more scholarships to regional students, including those from Việt Nam, within the framework of the New Colombo Plan, he said.
During the talks, the two sides also discussed regional and international issues of shared concern, including the East Sea issue.
They stressed the significance of maintaining peace, stability, security, aviation and navigation freedom and safety in the region, and handling disputes by peaceful measures, in line with international law.
Following the talks, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull directly called NA Chairwoman Ngân, explaining to her that he could not return home as scheduled to greet her due to unexpected issues on a working trip.
The top legislator welcomed the Australian government’s initiative to offer US$100 million scholarships to Australian students in Indian-Pacific countries, including Việt Nam. — VNS