A new era of Vietnam - Australia relations

Update: 08:39 | 03/03/2018
Speaking with The World & Vietnam Report on the occasion of 45th anniversary of Vietnam - Australia diplomatic ties (26 February 1973 - 26 February 2018), Chargé d’Affaires of Australian Embassy in Vietnam Rebecca Bryant stressed that Australia and Vietnam are entering a new chapter by upgrading the bilateral relations to a strategic partnership.
a new era of vietnam australia relations Leaders send congratulatory messages to Australia on 45-year ties
a new era of vietnam australia relations Get-together marks 45 years of Vietnam-Australia ties

2018 is a very special year for Vietnam and Australia since it marks the 45 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries (26/2/1973 – 26/2/2018). What is your assessment on the bilateral relations of Vietnam and Australia?

Australia and Vietnam have a strong relationship which brings benefits to the people of both our countries. It is a relationship that has grown significantly in recent years.

a new era of vietnam australia relations
Australian Chargé d’Affaires Rebecca Bryant. (Photo: Australian Embassy in Vietnam)

Cooperation now spans areas as diverse as security, defence, trade and investment, education, tourism and innovation. Strong political will and support of the leaders of both countries have contributed to the strength of the relationship. Last year, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull visited Vietnam and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will shortly visit Australia.  

The strength of the relationship is founded on strong people to people links which we’ve seen flourish under education and cultural exchanges between our two countries. For example, there are over 60,000 alumni of Australian education in Vietnam.  

For Vietnamese students, Australia remains one of the leading destinations of choice for study overseas and around 23,000 Vietnamese students studied in Australia last year. This is increasingly a two way exchange, with more and more Australian students now coming to Vietnam for study and to undertake internships.

During the upcoming visit of the Vietnamese leader to Australia, leaders of the two countries will announce the upgrading of bilateral relations from a comprehensive partnership to a strategic one. Could you please share the prospect of this relationship and areas of cooperation that both sides should focus on promoting in the future?

Australia and Vietnam are about to enter a new chapter in the bilateral relationship through the agreement of a Strategic Partnership. This Strategic Partnership will lay the foundation for our two countries to work together to secure peace and prosperity for our peoples and for the broader Indo-Pacific region. It will be a public declaration of our long-term shared interests and the ways we will work together to achieve them.

One of the most exciting things about Australia and Vietnam’s bilateral relationship is its transformation in recent years into a true economic partnership. Australia and Vietnam’s cooperation now focuses on stimulating the private sector, upskilling the workforce and supporting inclusive growth.  

Australia is supporting Vietnam to engage the private sector in critical areas like building ports, bridges and other key infrastructure. We are sharing experiences from Australia’s own economic reform journey and supporting reforms to make it easier to do business and invest in Vietnam.  

We are also focusing on a new innovation partnership to share new ideas and new technologies. Through this partnership, we are strengthening the connections between industry and research organisations in Australia and Vietnam.

In January, the Australian government officially launched the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-Australia diplomatic ties celebration program. Could you please share some outstanding celebrations that will take place this year?

The 45th anniversary year will be celebrated throughout 2018 with a program showcasing the diversity of the Australia - Vietnam relationship. The anniversary program will include a range of events including cultural, educational and community events.

Our anniversary program started earlier this year at the Temple of Literature in Ha Noi. As a lasting symbol of the friendship between our two countries, Australia presented nine information panels which will educate visitors about the Temple’s remarkable history.

We also launched our 45th anniversary logo which was chosen following a public competition late last year. The winning logo was designed by a Ha Noi-based amateur designer, who beated 152 other entries and impressed with his modern design reflecting his personal memory of Vietnam’s participation in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Anniversary celebrations will continue throughout the year. Highlights in the program include the opening of the Cao Lanh bridge (Dong Thap province) which is Australia’s largest aid project in mainland South East Asia.  

Another significant celebration will be the Taste of Australia promotion — an annual Vietnam-wide celebration of Australian cuisine and culture.  Throughout April, we will have a range of events including community BBQs in Da Nang and Nha Trang, a music and wine journey in Ho Chi Minh City, and a Culinary Competition for budding Vietnamese chefs.

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