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Vietnam PM’s visit to Australia, New Zealand: Special trip
Minh Nguyen 11:49, 2024/03/04
The visit to the two countries in Oceania is the first by a Vietnamese prime minister over the past seven years.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's official visit to Australia and New Zealand on March 5-11 will be significant for several reasons, coming at a time when Vietnam celebrates milestones in its relations with the two Oceania countries. 

 Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and his spouse Le Thi Bich Tran on March 4 leave Hanoi for Australia. Photo: Nhat Bac/VGP  

The visit to the two countries is the first by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh since he took office in July 2021 and the first by any Vietnamese government leader over the past seven years, according to Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Do Hung Viet.

His visit is also to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ASEAN-Australia relations (2024), shortly after the celebration of the 50th anniversary of establishing Vietnam-Australia bilateral ties (2023), and the 50th anniversary of Vietnam-New Zealand relations (2025).

From a broader perspective, ASEAN and Australia relations have been strengthened over the past five decades with growing political trust and comprehensive partnerships in trade, economic, socio-cultural, and other fields. For ASEAN member states, Australia is one of the bloc’s comprehensive strategic partners with substantive and effective cooperation.

The ASEAN-Australia Special Summit to be held on March 4-6 is regarded as an opportunity for the two sides to review their cooperation and the implementation of agreements signed since the relations were upgraded to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2021. During Chinh's visit, the two sides will discuss the vision, directions, and concrete measures for further cooperation in the coming time with a new cooperation initiative suggested by Australia, said Do Hung Viet.

Giving some reflections ahead of the Special Summit, which is hosted in Australia for the second time, after the first in 2018, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Andrew Goledzinowski said the event is “a significant milestone in Australia’s shared history with the region.”

“It will showcase Australia’s commitment to deepening engagement with Southeast Asia and ensuring we remain a partner for the future,” the ambassador said.

Australia became ASEAN’s first Dialogue Partner in 1974 and was also the first country to enter into a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with ASEAN in 2021. It is clear that Australia and ASEAN not only face common challenges but also share common interests in a peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous region.

In 2023, Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, launched Invested: Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040. This strategy provides a practical roadmap for increasing two-way trade and investment. It aims to expand opportunities for businesses in Australia and Southeast Asia. At the Special Summit, we will continue to advance its recommendations, Ambassador Goledzinowski emphasized.

The Special Summit will center around four key areas of focus: Business, Emerging Leaders, Climate and Clean Energy, and Maritime Cooperation.

 Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Andrew Goledzinowski. 

Vietnam-Australia relations

Deputy Minister Do Hung Viet said Vietnam-Australia relations have made extraordinary progress, with political trust at its highest level ever.

Meanwhile, the partnership is comprehensive, with Australia’s official development assistance (ODA) pumped into development projects such as the My Thuan Bridge over the Tien River connecting Tien Giang and Vinh Long in the Mekong Delta. Australia’s scholarship for thousands of Vietnamese students and language training programs for Vietnamese officials when the country was under embargo.

Such assistance has created a strong bond between Vietnam and Australia, the deputy minister pointed out.

PM Chinh will discuss the achievements and the implementation of agreements reached during the visits of Vietnamese Chairman of National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue to Australia in 2022, Australian Governor-General David Hurley to Vietnam in March 2023, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to Vietnam in June 2023

Discussions will also focus on boosting trade and investment from Australia in Vietnam and vice versa will also be included in addition to a focus on education and training, science-technology, innovation, digital economy, green economy, energy transition, and renewable energy in Vietnam.

"On this occasion, the two countries will lift their relations to new heights," said Do Hung Viet.

Ambassador Goledzinowski is also excited about the relations, saying that “Vietnam is important to Australia’s economic future.”

“We look forward to elevating our relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and enhancing cooperation across key fields, including climate change, digital transformation, trade and investment, critical minerals, and education,” he said.


Vietnam-New Zealand

Deputy Minister Do Hung Viet said New Zealand is an important partner for Vietnam in the Southwest Pacific. The long-standing relations have marked New Zealand’s support to Vietnam in education, training, and gender equality.

Agriculture has been the focal point of the cooperation between the two countries, while political trust has been reinforced through the exchange of high-ranking visits.

This week's visit will allow the two countries to discuss measures for strengthening cooperation, especially trade and investment, high-tech agriculture, labor, and ways to expand trade.

According to New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Vietnam is an important partner for New Zealand in Southeast Asia. The country’s aid program in Vietnam is about using New Zealand’s expertise in economic resilience, climate resilience, and knowledge and skills to support sustainable economic development.

TAG: Vietnam news vietnam australia relations vietnam new zealand relations vietnam prime minister visit australia asean australia special summit 2024
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