Australia bolsters defence ties after minister's visit

Update: March, 21/2013 - 08:00
Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith receives Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh (right).—VNA/VNS photo
SYDNEY (VNS) — Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith has spoken highly of the visit by a senior delegation of the Vietnamese military headed by Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh.

The visit was a milestone in the relations between the two countries and the two armies, Smith told the Vietnamese guests at a meeting in Canberra on Tuesday.

He affirmed that Australia would continue co-operation with the Vietnamese army, especially in the field of training.

The country also supported Viet Nam's viewpoint that disputes must be resolved by peaceful measures in line with international law, Smith said.

He said Australia welcomed Viet Nam's initiative to set up a group of experts under the framework of ASEAN Defence Ministerial Meeting Plus (ADMM+) to deal with consequences of mine and bombs left by wars.

Thanh said Viet Nam attached importance to developing the comprehensive relations with Australia , including defence ties.

He suggested the two sides increase naval co-operation and work together in after-war mine and bomb clearance.

The minister also asked Australia to back Viet Nam's bid to join the International Hydro-graphic Organisation.

The same day, Thanh paid a courtesy visit to Australian Governor General Quentin Bryce and called at the Defence Force Academy and the Fleet Command.

On Wednesday, the delegation headed to New Zealand for an official friendship visit. — VNS