Australian Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr has granted an interview to
the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the
establishment of diplomatic relations with Vietnam.
minister noted that Australia has built a wide-ranging partnership with
the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (called the Democratic Republic of
Vietnam in 1973) over the past 40 years. From humble beginnings, two-way
trade relations now exceed 6 billion USD a year including wheat,
resources, telecommunications and household goods.
Vietnamese community in Australia is more than 200,000 strong, helping
deliver a greater understanding of Vietnam’s history and culture in an
Australian context. Vietnam is also a popular tourist destination for
Australians travelling overseas.
He underlined a fact that
Australia is a leading study destination for Vietnamese students with
20,000 students studying in Australia and a further 16,000 studying
Australian programmes at universities and colleges in Vietnam.
40th anniversary is an important milestone in diplomatic relations
between Australia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”, the minister
said, adding that to mark this special year, Australia’s Embassy in
Hanoi and consulate in Ho Chi Minh City will celebrate with an exciting
programme of cultural and education events.
that Vietnam is an important regional friend and partner and he welcomes
the opportunity to celebrate this anniversary.
Carr went on to say that the Australia-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership
in 2009 marked a significant development in the bilateral relationship.
It aimed to strengthen cooperation in political exchanges, development
assistance, defence and security. It also promoted economic growth and
highlighted the importance of working together to tackle regional and
“The Comprehensive Partnership continues
to deliver great rewards,” the minister said, citing as an example the
Australia Awards programme which provides scholarships encouraging
leadership, knowledge and technical skills. “The programme strengthens
public institutions and promotes links between Australia and Vietnam.
Australia is now the largest scholarship provider to Vietnam – we are
set to meet the target of 1,380 Australia Awards Scholarships for post
graduate training by 2015 under the Australia-Vietnam Joint Aid Program
Strategy 2010-2015,” he said.
According to Carr, the two
countries are reaping the benefits of the foresight their governments
showed 40 years ago in forging diplomatic ties.
“We cooperate with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on education,
development assistance, trade, border security, defence and countering
“We have an established history of
bilateral human rights cooperation, which we value, including nine
rounds of the Australia-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue since 2002.”
foreign minister noted that, however, there is much the two countries
can do to further develop the relationship. This is recognised in the
Australia in the Asian Century White Paper released by the Australian
Prime Minister in October 2012.
He said in this milestone
year, Vietnam is the Australia International Cultural Council’s (AICC)
focus country for 2013. This programme will showcase Australia’s
creativity and diversity and creates a platform for future
collaboration. This is in line with the White Paper’s objectives to
build stronger cultural links with the region.
and Vietnam are working together to create a better trade environment,
Carr said, noting that both countries are parties to the
ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) and
negotiating partners in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade
Agreement (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
affirmed that Australia will also continue to support Vietnam’s
national development goals. “Following our funding of the My Thuan
bridge – completed in 2000 – we have committed to our biggest aid
project in Vietnam, with 160 million USD for design and construction of
the Cao Lanh bridge. This bridge will link five million people to
markets across the Mekong Delta. We will continue to support
collaborative research in agriculture, forestry and fisheries for 20
years, helping improve food quality and incomes for millions of
Vietnamese people,” Carr said.
He also said in law
enforcement, Australia and Vietnam have a strong record of working
together to improve their ability to respond to transnational challenges
such as transnational crime, narcotics and people smuggling. This
cooperation is exemplified by the Joint Transnational Crime Centre
established in Ho Chi Minh City by the Vietnamese Police with support
from the Australian Federal Police.
“These shared interests
are reasons for celebration today,” the foreign minister said, adding
that he looks forward to the next 40 years of strong and prosperous
relations between the people and governments of Australia and Vietnam.-VNA