Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh speaks with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Thursday. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh held phone talks with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Thursday to look into bilateral and regional co-operation in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic’s complex developments.
Deputy PM Minh highlighted Việt Nam and ASEAN’s efforts in response to the outbreak, emphasising the importance of regional and international co-operation in this regard, including collaboration between ASEAN and Australia.
Applauding the two countries’ frequent and effective contact at all levels amid the pandemic, he asked both sides to continue with their efforts to promote co-operation in all spheres via existing mechanisms to sustain the development of their strategic partnership.
For her part, Minister Payne spoke highly of Việt Nam’s initiatives and leadership as ASEAN Chair in 2020.
She affirmed that Australia wished to work more closely with Việt Nam in the fight against COVID-19 within both bilateral and ASEAN-Australia partnership frameworks.
The minister also appreciated the Vietnamese Government’s effective medical and consular support for Australian citizens affected by the pandemic, and said her country’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade would coordinate with the Department of Education and other relevant agencies to continue creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese students in Australia.
The two officials agreed to increase the sharing of experience in COVID-19 prevention and control, including the possibility of co-operating to develop vaccines or produce and trade medical supplies.
They also agreed to organise an annual meeting between the two foreign ministers, slated for the third quarter of 2020 in Australia or online, to discuss measures to enhance their strategic partnership.
The meeting would focus on bilateral ties in healthcare, food security, mitigating the outbreak’s socio-economic impacts, the recovery of trade and tourism, and other aspects once the pandemic is over.
Việt Nam and Australia would bolster coordination and mutual support at multilateral forums, particularly UN and ASEAN-led mechanisms, in terms of regional and international issues of common concern, including the maintenance of peace, stability and security in the East Sea on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, according to the two officials.
COVID-19 control strategies
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Minh has proposed four special strategies to help the international community cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
He made the suggestions while addressing the Ministerial Video-Conference of the Alliance for Multilateralism on COVID-19 on Thursday.
Firstly, enhancing international solidarity and multilateralism cooperation with the United Nations and the World Health Organisation (WHO) being the centre; and increasing operation efficiency of the WHO to ensure the ability to support developing countries. Within its ability, Việt Nam will contribute to this effort and be willing to provide made-in-Việt Nam medical equipment and materials, he said.
Secondly, promoting sharing of information, experience, research results; and vaccines and medicines must be made available, affordable and accessible to all.
Thirdly, stopping activities that hinder disease prevention and control efforts, particularly power politics and unilateral actions contrary to international law, and supporting the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire and his appeal to waive sanctions that can undermine countries’ capacity to respond to the pandemic.
Fourthly, preparing our post-COVID19 development plan which includes coordinated policies and measures to stimulate the economy, trade and investment, stabilise the financial market and restore the confidence of businesses and people. — VNS