I am pleased to announce that Australia and Vietnam will enhance our bilateral relationship to the level of a Strategic Partnership.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and I agreed to this agreement in talks in Da Nang today.
The enhanced relationship will enable our countries to work more closely together on a range of issues, including defence, trade, investment, development, education, labor, tourism, law, finance, information and communication.
Australia and Vietnam will deepen bilateral trade and direct investment, and work together to bring the Trans-Pacific Partnership into force as soon as possible. By bringing our economies closer together, we will drive economic growth and generate jobs in both countries.
Already, Vietnam is the fourth biggest source of international students for Australia and our sixth largest market for agricultural products. More than 75% of the bread used for Vietnam’s signature dish, banh mi, comes from Australian wheat.
We also agreed to closer defence and security cooperation, including military visits, peace-keeping, aviation and maritime security and safety, counter-terrorism, special forces, war legacy issues, and officer training.
I forward to welcoming Prime Minister Phuc to Australia at the time of the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in 2018.
Joint Outcomes Statement following bilateral talks between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
- Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull held bilateral talks on 10 November during Prime Minister Turnbull’s visit to Da Nang for the 2017 APEC Summit.
- The two Prime Ministers had a wide-ranging and productive discussion about the Australia - Viet Nam relationship and regional and international issues of mutual concern. Both sides were pleased with the strong development of the Enhanced Comprehensive Partnership between Viet Nam and Australia and agreed that the relationship is characterized by mutual respect and shared interests, as well as a joint commitment to maintaining peace, stability and respect for international law in the Asia-Pacific region. Noting this strong foundation and the potential for the two countries to work more closely together on a range of issues, the two Prime Ministers agreed that the Viet Nam-Australia relationship should be elevated to the level of a Strategic Partnership. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia will continue their joint work in order for leaders to be able to sign the new Strategic Partnership at the earliest convenience.
- The two sides agreed to maintain high-level exchanges to strengthen close bonds and mutual trust between the two countries and broaden people-to-people links. They also committed to fully implement the Viet Nam-Australia Plan of Action 2016-2019, and to accelerate and deepen cooperation across a range of areas, including defence, trade, investment, development, education, labor, tourism, law, finance, information and communication.
- Recognizing that closer defence and security cooperation should be an important focus of the upcoming Strategic Partnership, the two Prime Ministers agreed to continue military visits and dialogues and to promote cooperation in peace-keeping, aviation and maritime security and safety, counter-terrorism, special forces, war legacy issues, and officer training.
- Both sides noted the progress in bilateral trade and investment cooperation, and pledged to deepen trade and direct investment and to work together to integrate the two countries' economies more deeply into the regional economy. The two Prime Ministers encouraged the early commencement of Ministerial-level consultation on the “Economic Partnership”, which will further bring together trade, investment and development priorities of the two countries. Australia's development assistance to Viet Nam will continue to focus on priority areas such as private sector development, agriculture and rural development, infrastructure, climate change, capacity building, innovation and gender equality. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of a new women’s economic empowerment program “Aus4Equality” and the announcement of the “Innovation Partnership” in Da Nang.
- To promote regional peace, stability and security, both sides agreed to continue cooperation in regional and international fora, especially the East Asia Summit (EAS), in which ASEAN plays a central role. Prime Minister Phuc expressed appreciation for Australia's support to Viet Nam during its year as APEC host. Viet Nam will work closely with ASEAN members and Australia to prepare for the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit to be held in Sydney in March 2018.
- The two Prime Ministers welcomed the progress made in the meeting of Leaders of the 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the sidelines of the APEC Summit and look forward to bringing the TPP into force expeditiously.
- Both sides reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the region, including in the South China Sea. They underlined their shared interest in protecting freedom of navigation and over flight, and the settlement of disputes by peaceful means in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), without resorting to the threat or use of force. The Prime Ministers called on all parties to exercise restraint and avoid actions that could erode trust and undermine efforts to manage tensions, including militarization activities on disputed features. Both sides called on all parties to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and affirmed the importance of the early finalization of an effective, legally-binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).
- Prime Minister Turnbull reiterated that he looked forward to welcoming Prime Minister Phuc to Australia at the time of the AS.