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Viet Nam, Australia elevate ties to comprehensive strategic partnership

VGP - Below is full Joint Statement on the Elevation to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Viet Nam and Australia, which was issued on the occasion of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh's official visit to Australia.

March 07, 2024 10:50 AM GMT+7

1. Viet Nam and Australia have built a strong and broad relationship through mutual strategic trust and understanding since establishing diplomatic relations in 1973. The Viet Nam-Australia Strategic Partnership, announced in 2018, supported the deepening of ties across all areas of the bilateral relationship. Our friendship and cooperation are underpinned by complementary economies, converging interests and deep people-to-people ties.

2. We share a common vision for an inclusive, stable, peaceful, resilient and prosperous Indo-Pacific, free from coercion, where independence, sovereignty and international law are respected. We jointly determine to abide by international law, including the United Nations Charter, which underpins regional and global peace, stability and prosperity. We recognise the importance of our collective capacity to shape the response to changing dynamics in our shared region and to address common challenges.

3. Recognising that our relationship is now stronger than ever, the Honourable Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia and H.E. Mr. Pham Minh Chinh, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam announced the elevation of the bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, at their Annual Leaders’ Meeting on 7 March 2024 on the occasion of the official visit to Australia by H.E. Mr. Pham Minh Chinh from 7-9 March 2024. This reflects our high level of ambition for the relationship and deepening cooperation. 

4. In declaring a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, our two Governments undertake to continue to develop all aspects of our relationship and commit to take forward our elevated partnership while respecting international law and each other’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and political systems.

Deepening Political, Defence Security and Justice Cooperation

5. We renew our commitment to frequent high-level engagement in all channels between the Communist Party, Government and National Assembly of Viet Nam, and the political parties, Government and Parliament of Australia; and to bilateral cooperation mechanisms, including Annual Leaders’ Talks.

6. We acknowledge our close defence, security and justice ties, which contribute to peace, stability and the development of the region, including through education and training, practical exchange and peacekeeping support. We will work together to expand these programs, including elevating our peacekeeping cooperation to a Peacekeeping Partnership and the current Vice Ministerial Security Dialogue to the Ministerial level.

7. We commit to enhancing law enforcement and intelligence cooperation through closer cooperation between Vietnamese and Australian police, maritime and border authorities to target and disrupt transnational organised crime impacting our mutual interests, including people smuggling and human trafficking, drug-related crimes, money laundering, terrorism and its financing, cybercrime and sexual exploitation. We will strengthen our cooperation on legal and judicial matters of mutual interest.

8. We commit to broadening cooperation, including in defence industry, maritime security, information and intelligence sharing; strengthening maritime cooperation, including sustainable marine resource management and combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; and enhancing cooperation in cyber-security and critical technology, including through cyber capacity building initiatives to address cyber security threats.

9. We will continue good practice of information sharing and forecasting on strategic issues of mutual concern related to each country’s national security and interests.

Enhancing Economic Engagement

10. We commit to further deepening the bilateral trade and investment relationship, enhancing economic cooperation and pursuing more open trade and investment through global and regional economic integration. We acknowledge the need to build supply chain resilience and pursue trade diversification to promote economic resilience. We reaffirm our commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Viet Nam - Australia Enhanced Economic Engagement Strategy and additional actions to implement Invested: Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040.

11. We recognise the importance of high-quality investment to support shared prosperity, skills and innovation, green growth, productivity, people-to-people links, women’s economic empowerment and inclusive economic growth for all people in their diversity. We will promote market access and trade facilitation measures for both countries, including in agriculture, fisheries and forestry. We confirm our commitment to enhanced labour mobility, including through access for Vietnamese citizens to work in Australia and Australian citizens to work in Viet Nam.

12. We recognise the importance of promoting a transparent business and regulatory environment, including to support investment and sustainable financing through capital markets and other mechanisms.

13. We continue to cooperate closely to advance a strong rules-based, non-discriminatory, fair, inclusive, equitable and transparent multilateral trading system as the basis for open international trade based on market principles, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core. We reaffirm our commitment to strengthening and reforming the WTO, including the dispute settlement system.

14. We reaffirm our commitment to fully implementing the agreements of which both countries are members such as the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement (RCEP), and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP). We will work together through other international mechanisms such as ASEAN-related mechanisms, Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the WTO, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), to create a more stable, predictable, inclusive and transparent trade and investment environment and generate business confidence in our strong economic relations, while addressing new and emerging trade challenges.

15. We recognise the vital role of international standards and best practice regulatory approaches to facilitate trade, drive innovation, enhance resilience and tackle global economic, social and environmental challenges. We affirm our shared commitment to promoting the mutual understanding and uptake of international standards.

16. We commit to further strengthening our agricultural partnership by enhancing trade and investment, co-operating on shared regional challenges and promoting technical, research collaboration and capacity development initiatives that support more competitive, resilient and sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.

17. We acknowledge Australia's long-standing official development assistance (ODA) to Viet Nam. Australia will continue to support Viet Nam’s development efforts through bilateral, sub-regional and regional initiatives focused on areas that are consistent with Viet Nam’s socio-economic development orientation. We acknowledge the contribution that social organisations continue to make to Viet Nam’s socio-economic agenda. We recognise the importance of ensuring timely and effective delivery of ODA and commit to ensuring domestic approvals processes are streamlined to meet this goal.

Building Knowledge and Connecting People

18. We recognise the pivotal role of people-to-people ties in fostering our relations and acknowledge the strengthening connections between the communities and people’s organisations of both countries.

19. We recognise the strong contribution of knowledge and innovation partnerships to our relationship and the improvement of the lives of our citizens and commit to strengthening the participation and leadership of women and girls and persons in vulnerable situations in all areas of cooperation.

20. We commit to working together to support Viet Nam’s human resource development and explore opportunities to increase education and training cooperation through dialogues, cooperation mechanisms and institutional linkages. We will continue to work together to enable increased cooperation and foreign investment in education in Viet Nam to enable Australian universities to open foreign branch campuses in Viet Nam.

21. We commit to working together to support skills formation, including by supporting Viet Nam to develop national policies and frameworks that encourage industry engagement and a responsive vocational education and training system. We also encourage institutional partnerships between Australian and Vietnamese vocational education institutions and Viet Nam’s private sector.

22. We welcome and will look for opportunities to support increased travel and tourism between our two countries. We commit to strengthening the two-way flow of young people seeking to holiday and work in Australia and Viet Nam through the reciprocal Work and Holiday visa arrangement. We commit to continuing the two-way flow of students between Australia and Viet Nam.

23. We acknowledge the rich contribution of the Australian Vietnamese community and its role in boosting the strong people-to-people links, economic ties and engagement, which underpin our bilateral relationship. We will continue to facilitate the important contributions made by the Vietnamese community in Australia and the Australian community in Viet Nam to our close bilateral ties.

24. We renew our commitment to promote and protect human rights in accordance with international law and to strengthen and contribute to the work of the United Nations Human Rights Council and its mechanisms. We will continue sincere, frank and constructive conversations, including through our annual Human Rights Dialogue. We will cooperate to foster inclusive societies that embrace and provide equal opportunities and respect for the human rights of all people, without discrimination of any kind.

25. We recognise the importance of cultural collaboration in strengthening people-to-people links between Australia and Viet Nam and will explore opportunities to invest in cultural exchange and collaboration across all art forms and collecting institutions.

26. We commit to deepening our cooperation on civil service reform by promoting good governance and regulatory reform. In this regard, were affirm our commitment to the growth of the Viet Nam-Australia Centre as a platform to develop capacity building opportunities across the civil services of Viet Nam and its neighbours.

Strengthening Climate, Environment and Energy Cooperation

27. We acknowledge the significant impacts the climate crisis is having in our region and the importance of taking urgent and ambitious climate action to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement, while ensuring economic prosperity as we transition our economies to net-zero by 2050. We recognise the shared challenges Australia and Viet Nam face in responding to climate change. We affirm the importance of adopting an ambitious, cooperative and proactive approach to the challenges that lie ahead. We commit to seizing the opportunities inherent in our respective clean energy transitions to strengthen our economies and support global decarbonisation goals. We will work together to support Viet Nam’s Just Energy Transition that balances economic growth and net-zero goals by helping to stimulate higher levels of private sector finance and investment into Viet Nam’s mitigation and adaptation efforts, developing high quality human resources and strengthening governance.

28. In support of Viet Nam’s efforts to respond to the impacts of climate change, we commit to drawing on a range of Australia’s resources, including ODA, trade and export finance, climate finance and our domestic expertise. We continue to explore opportunities for cooperation on climate action, carbon markets and in the green economy.

29. We will deepen our collaboration on climate adaptation and resilience, climate-resilient agriculture, biodiversity conservation, marine science for sustainable development, plastic pollution reduction and food and water security, especially in the Mekong Delta, including through the Mekong-Australia Partnership.

30. To promote our shared energy security in the transition, we will continue to expand collaboration on energy and resources, including through increased trade and investment. We also continue to develop emerging, resilient and diverse renewable energy supply chains through the integration of technological solutions that help both nations meet net-zero goals.

31. We reaffirm our commitment to a Ministerial Dialogue on Energy and Minerals and will explore opportunities to deepen cooperation on commodities, products, technologies and services associated with energy systems and carriers, power generation, mining, extractives, processing, minerals and fossil fuels, including coal, oil and gas.

Supporting Science, Technology, Innovation and Developing Digital Transformation

32. We commit to deepening strategic cooperation in science, technology (including new and critical emerging technologies), cyber and innovation. We will increase our cooperation to build capacity across science, innovation and technology for the sustainable and inclusive development of Viet Nam’s national research and innovation system, including by supporting women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

33. We will continue to work closely to foster collaboration between Australian and Vietnamese businesses, universities and research institutions via initiatives to enhance research quality, knowledge mobility and training young and talented scientists; promoting safe and responsible technology adoption among small and medium enterprises (SMEs); and improving national innovation ecosystems and building capacity for the sustainable and inclusive development of Viet Nam's national research and innovation system.

34. We will deepen cooperation on digital transition and digital inclusion, including through a Digital Economy Memorandum of Understanding, which will identify priority areas for digital trade cooperation and include a work plan for implementation. We reaffirm our commitment to sharing experiences that support Viet Nam and Australia to enhance digital government transformation and address digital government objectives.

Reinforcing Regional and International Cooperation

35. We will continue to work closely bilaterally, trilaterally and multilaterally to extend mutual support to the institutions that underpin an open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. We commit to our shared goal of reinforcing and developing regional, sub-regional and international institutions to promote our common political, economic, and security interests and address regional and global issues of concern. We will seek to encourage all in our region to pursue dialogue as the first step to build confidence, de-escalate any tensions and take positive steps to maintain an environment that guards against conflict.

36. We recognise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as central to regional stability and prosperity and support ASEAN centrality and unity in the evolving regional architecture that is open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based, anchored in international law. We will deepen our cooperation in ASEAN-led mechanisms and work collaboratively to develop further the ASEAN-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in a meaningful, substantive and mutually beneficial manner. We reaffirm our support for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and the importance of the principles set out in the AOIP in shaping a peaceful, secure and prosperous region.

37. We express our concerns on the situation in the South China Sea and reaffirm our commitment to peace, security, stability, freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce, to the respect for legal and diplomatic processes and to the settlement of disputes, including those in the South China Sea, by peaceful means without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We reaffirm that UNCLOS sets out the comprehensive legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out. We maintain our call that the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) should be implemented in its entirety and that any Code of Conduct for the South China Sea should be effective and substantive, in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 UNCLOS, and should not prejudice the rights of any state under international law.

38. We acknowledge the importance of a prosperous and resilient Mekong sub-region and the need for regional cooperation to address shared challenges, including climate change, energy transition, transboundary water management and food security and to ensuring regional security. We commit to continuing our longstanding cooperation to support the sub-region’s integration and sustainable development, including through the Mekong-Australia Partnership and Friends of the Mekong, and supporting other Mekong-led frameworks to promote a resilient, sustainable and inclusive Mekong sub-region.

Concluded on 7 March 2024 in duplicate, in English and Vietnamese, each being equally valid.