National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân (R) meets with Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop in Canberra on Thursday. — VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đức
CANBERRA — National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân has expressed her wish to further strengthen ties with Australia through bilateral co-operation as well as at regional and global forums.
During a meeting in Canberra on Thursday with Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop, deputy head of the ruling Liberal Party of Australia, Ngân said the Vietnamese NA welcomed the likely upcoming upgrade of bilateral ties to the strategic partnership level.
As the two countries celebrate the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties in 2018, Việt Nam will work closely with Australia to hold activities to raise the two peoples’ awareness of bilateral friendship and collaboration, she said.
The Vietnamese NA leader also praised the growing two-way trade, which surged to US$5.2 billion last year from $32.3 million in 1990. The figure is expected to hit $10 billion in the near future.
She spoke highly of mutual support in multilateral forums and thanked Australia for supporting Việt Nam’s candidacy as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-21 tenure.
The guest asked Australia to continue working closely with Việt Nam in multilateral co-operation mechanisms and thanked the Australian Government and the Foreign Minister herself for supporting Vietnamese nationals living in the country.
The top legislator took the occasion to thank the high-ranking Australian delegation led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for their active contributions to the success of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Leaders’ Week recently hosted by Việt Nam.
She asked for increased collaboration on regional and global issues of shared interest. The two countries could work together to strengthen regional architecture and promote trade liberalisation and economic connectivity.
Việt Nam appreciated Australia’s thorough preparations for the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit scheduled for March 2018 in Sydney and the outcomes of the East Asia Summit (EAS) recently held in the Philippines, the NA leader said.
She added that Việt Nam was ready to partner with Australia and ASEAN member states to promote marine security co-operation in the upcoming ASEAN-Australia Special Summit.
The NA Chairwoman noted that Việt Nam valued Australia’s positive stance on the East Sea issue, especially the comments and strong message delivered by PM Turnbull at the Shangri-La Dialogue and the EAS in earlier November.
Bishop expressed hope that both nations could lift bilateral ties to the strategic partnership level in March next year.
Praising Việt Nam’s important role in directing regional economic integration, Bishop said she hoped that more Vietnamese students would choose Australia as a study destination.
Việt Nam is currently the fifth-largest source of students in Australia. The Australian government has provided 3,000 scholarships for Việt Nam while 1,500 Australian students will study in Việt Nam under the New Colombo Plan (NCP) programme.
Bishop hailed Việt Nam for raising the East Asia issue in regional forums, and reaffirmed that Australia backed the settlement of disputes by peaceful means on the basis of dialogue and respect for international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
NA Chair meets Australian official
National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân met with Australia’s Governor-General Peter Cosgrove in Canberra on Thursday.
The visiting legislator, who is on an official visit to Australia, said the Vietnamese NA wants to promote an enhanced comprehensive partnership between the two countries and cooperation between the two parliaments.
Briefing the host about the outcomes of her talks with Speaker of the House of Representatives Tony Smith and Senate President Scott Ryan, she emphasised that the two countries’ relations have grown substantively, especially since the establishment of the comprehensive partnership in 2009 and the signing of a statement on the enhanced comprehensive partnership in March 2015.
Việt Nam consistently respects bilateral ties with Australia, she noted, expressing her belief that an official visit to Australia by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc slated for March 2018 will mark a new milestone in the countries’ relationship, which will be lifted to a strategic partnership.
Chairwoman Ngân expressed her delight at the growing bilateral relations, adding that Việt Nam will coordinate closely with Australia to organise practical activities marking the 45th founding anniversary of their diplomatic ties in 2018.
The two countries boast huge potential for cooperation in many fields, from economy and trade to investment, she noted, adding that bilateral trade had grown to US$5.2 billion in 2016, which turned Australia into the eighth-biggest trade partner of Việt Nam.
As Australia has given ODA capital to the fields that match Việt Nam’s development targets, cooperation in defence, security, education-training, labour, tourism and people-to-people exchanges have been reinforced.
The NA leader asked the Governor-General and Government of Australia to continue encouraging their country’s enterprises to invest and form business ties with Vietnamese partners.
On this occasion, she thanked the Governor-General and Government for the favourable conditions Vietnamese people enjoy in Australia to stabilise their lives, integrate into the local society, maintain their national identity and contribute to the two countries’ relations.
At the meeting, Governor-General Cosgrove praised the expected elevation of bilateral ties to a strategic partnership during the upcoming official visit to Australia by PM Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.
Regarding the East Sea issue, he said it is necessary to maintain peace, stability, freedom and safety of navigation in the East Sea. All disputes in the East Sea should be resolved by peaceful means, through dialogue and in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
NA Chairwoman praises education, tech ties with Australia
National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân on Thursday visited several research establishments as part of her official visit to Australia, during which she affirmed that Việt Nam values education and research in science and technology.
Speaking at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Vietnamese NA leader said she was happy to witness the signing of an action programme between the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
She said the signing reflected Việt Nam’s interest in a comprehensive partnership with Australia, including in science and technology.
Ngân spoke highly of the joint work between the MoST and the CSIRO after Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull witnessed the signing of a support agreement for Việt Nam on the occasion of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Leaders’ Week in early November in Đà Nẵng.
CSIRO is Australia’s largest and most prestigious research organisation in many fields such as agriculture, food, energy, health care and bio safety, land and water, manufacturing technology, mineral resources, marine and atmospheric science, astronomy and cosmology, information technology and media.
Visiting the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) the same day, Ngân underscored the importance of adopting technology in agriculture as 70 per cent of the Vietnamese population rely on agriculture.
The top legislator lauded co-operation between the MoST and the ACIAR over the past years, which has helped improve living conditions for Vietnamese people.
ACIAR began its partnership with Việt Nam in 1993. Since then, it has implemented 170 projects at a total cost of nearly US$76 million, mostly in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. The centre said its main objective was to help improve the livelihoods of Vietnamese farmers, especially those working on a small scale.— VNS