Promoting Vietnam's Roles in Multilateral Relations, Elevating Bilateral Relations

9:45:36 AM | 3/19/2024

Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son recently hosted a press interview regarding Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s participation in the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, as well as his official visits to Australia and New Zealand. The trips were successful in every regard, effectively showcasing Vietnam’s escalating stature and influence within the regional and global landscape.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, Secretary-General of ASEAN Kao Kim Hourn and heads of delegations to the Australia-ASEAN Special Summit in Melbourne,Australia , March 5, 2024

Could you tell us about the results of the Special Summit that marked the celebration of 50-year ASEAN-Australia relations?

Indeed, the summit held profound significance as it commemorated the 50-year relationship between ASEAN and Australia, and established the trajectory for bilateral relations in the forthcoming period. The conference served as a testament to the escalating value and significance of ASEAN. In conjunction with the ASEAN-GCC Summit, the Commemorative Summit for the 50th Year of ASEAN - Japan Friendship and Cooperation in 2023, and the enhancement of relationships with its partners, the summit demonstrated that partners are progressively recognizing the role and position of ASEAN. The summit culminated in a resounding success, yielding numerous significant outcomes.

First, the leaders of both sides promoted the importance and value of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for each side as well as the region in which political trust is growing; trade, economic, cultural and social cooperation and new fields are all being deployed very dynamically and effectively.

Second, upholding the 50-year cooperation, the two sides agreed on major directions to elevate comprehensive cooperation in all fields in the coming time: (i) Creating strong changes in economic cooperation, especially in trade and investment, promoting cooperation in new fields such as innovation, digital economy, green transformation, energy transformation and e-commerce; (ii) Strengthening cooperation in politics-security, national defense, maritime cooperation, and cyber security; promoting cooperation in education, training, labor, tourism, cultural exchange and people-to-people exchanges, especially between the youth and young leaders of the two sides.

Third, the two sides agreed to foster a culture of dialogue and cooperation, build trust and prevent conflicts, and uphold the role of international laws and multilateralism in conduct and cooperation to deal with common challenges; emphasize the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, maritime and aviation safety in the East Sea; peacefully resolve disputes on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The meeting adopted two important documents: “Melbourne Declaration - A Partnership for the Future” and “ASEAN-Australia Leaders' Vision Statement - Partners for Peace and Prosperity”, as a basis for launching the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in the coming time.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son attend plenary session of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Melbourne, Australia, March 6

How was the participation and contribution of the Vietnamese delegation at the summit?

From the outset, Vietnam was an active participant in the summit, contributing significantly to the preparation, agenda formulation, and document negotiation, thereby playing an important role in the overall success of the event. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s profound, comprehensive and strategic statements were highly appreciated by countries, not only underscoring the merited level of ASEAN-Australia relations over the past 50 years but also proposing a vision, future direction, initiatives and recommendations to elevate the relationship in the forthcoming period. The proposals put forth by the Vietnamese Prime Minister for the future of ASEAN-Australia relations left a strong impression on the participating countries. These included the three breakthroughs; the three enhancements and the three joint efforts.

The three breakthroughs include breakthroughs in economic, trade and investment cooperation; breakthrough in human resource development cooperation, especially high-quality human resources and labor cooperation; and breakthrough in cooperation in science-technology and innovation, with focus on developing the digital economy, green transformation and emerging industries and fields such as semiconductor chip and artificial intelligence.

The three enhancements include enhancing political trust, fostering the culture of dialogue and cooperation, promoting trust building and preventive diplomacy, and encouraging major countries to contribute responsibly to the region; enhancing subregional cooperation to narrow the development gap for inclusive and sustainable development; and enhancing cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges, especially between young generations, thus strengthening the long-term social foundation and strong relations.

The three joint efforts include jointly building a united and self-reliant region; jointly promoting a region that respects international law and rule-based operation; and jointly building and shaping an open, inclusive regional structure, promoting multilateralism with ASEAN playing a central role.

Vietnam’s participation at the summit helped uplift Vietnam's role in ASEAN-Australia relations and, through ASEAN, fostered Vietnam-Australia bilateral relations to develop more practically and effectively in the coming time.

During this occasion, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh met all senior leaders of ASEAN countries, Timor Leste, Australia, New Zealand and ASEAN Secretary General. The partners all highly appreciated the role and position of Vietnam and wished to further deepen the bilateral relationship in all fields, especially in economy - trade, science - technology, education - training, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese with delegates participate in the signing ceremony of cooperation documents

Could you please tell us about the outstanding results of the official visits to Australia and New Zealand by the Prime Minister?

Immediately after attending the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his spouse along with the high-ranking Vietnamese delegation paid an official visit to Australia and New Zealand, two strategic partners of Vietnam in the South Pacific Ocean.

The visit was successful in all aspects and was an important milestone in the relationship between Vietnam and the two countries. This was a practical step in executing the foreign policy of the 13th National Party Congress, which highlighted continued promotion and deepening of relations with partners, especially strategic partners, comprehensive strategic partners, important partners and traditional friends.

For Australia, the visit came right after the two countries celebrated the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations (1973-2023). For New Zealand, the tour took place when the two countries were preparing to celebrate the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations (1975-2025). These were also Prime Minister Chinh's first visits to Australia and New Zealand in his new position and the first visit of a Vietnamese Prime Minister to Australia and New Zealand in seven years.

Australia and New Zealand extended a respectful, warm, and considerate reception to Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, his spouse, and the accompanying Vietnamese delegation, honoring them with the highest level of ceremonies for a Head of Government. The New Zealand government further distinguished their welcome by hosting a ceremony featuring traditional Maori rituals for Prime Minister Chinh.

New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luzon and his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Minh Chinh witness the signing of a cooperation document between the two countries in Wellington, New Zealand, March 11

In Australia, the most prominent highlight of the visit was that Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese announced the upgrade of Vietnam-Australia relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership. The two PMs agreed to work closely to implement six major directions: (i) Strengthening political trust and strategic diplomacy; (ii) more comprehensive, substantive and effective economic, trade and investment cooperation to utilize the potential of the two highly complementary economies; (iii) stronger cooperation in science-technology, innovation, digital transformation and green transformation; (iv) more comprehensive and profound cooperation in culture, education - training, environment, and response to climate change; (v) more open and sincere people-to-people exchanges and connections between generations; and (vi) more understanding, sympathy and sharing about security and defense cooperation.

Prime Minister Chinh met with Australian Governor-General David Hurley, President of the Australian Senate Sue Lines, and leader of the Liberal Party of Australia (LPA) Peter Dutton. He received Deputy Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives and Chairperson of the Australia-Vietnam Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group and many other Australian leaders. He attended and delivered an address to Vietnam-Australia business and education forums, participated in a ceremony to inaugurate the Australia-Vietnam Policy Research Institute, visited schools and research institutes, and met with representatives of the Vietnamese community in Australia.

During the visit, ministries and agencies of the two countries signed 13 cooperation deals in different fields. Meanwhile, universities of the two sides inked nine cooperation agreements.

In New Zealand, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had extensive talks with Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and met a number of senior New Zealand leaders. Through the visit, the two sides enhanced political trust, mutual understanding as well as cooperation in trade, agriculture, education and people-to-people exchanges and together opened up opportunities for cooperation in some new fields such as responding to climate change and digital transformation.

The two sides also agreed to together boost trade promotion activities towards lifting two-way trade to US$2 billion this year and take measures to increase bilateral investment to US$500 million by 2030. They were also committed to contributing to peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

On this occasion, ministries and sectors of Vietnam and New Zealand signed three cooperation agreements on education, economy and trade, and finance, which serve as a foundation and prerequisite for specific and effective cooperation between the two countries' ministries and sectors in the coming years, contributing to the stable and sustainable development of the Vietnam-New Zealand strategic partnership.

Both Australia and New Zealand highly valued Vietnam's increasing position and role in the region and the world. They agreed to continue collaborating with and supporting each other at regional and international forums for the benefit of their peoples and for peace, stability, and development in the region and the world.

Thank you so much!

Source: Vietnam Business Forum