Vietnam and Australia on November 8 inked the Declaration on Joint Visions for Enhancing Defence Cooperation.
It was inked by Vietnamese Defence Minister Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich and his Australian counterpart Christopher Pyne before starting their talks as part of Minister Lich’s official visit to Australia from November 6-8.
Pyne underlined the importance of the visit in the context that the two countries are celebrating the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties and the 20th anniversary of defence relations.
He affirmed that Vietnam holds an important role in Australia’s foreign policy in the region, adding that his country hopes to further its ties with Vietnam, particularly in defence.
Lich, in turn, stressed that Australia is an important partner of Vietnam, while conveying his belief that his visit will be a success, contributing to the implementation of the bilateral strategic partnership.
Regarding defence cooperation, both spoke highly of the results achieved over recent times, confirming that defence cooperation is a bright spot in the two countries’ relations. They also appreciated the mutual consultations and coordination at multilateral forums, especially within the framework of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus.
They agreed to maintain high-level delegation exchanges, intensify cooperation in addressing post-war consequences, as well as share experience in corruption prevention and information on flight safety.
The Vietnamese officer took the occasion to thank the Australian Defence Ministry for organising training courses and providing scholarships for officers of the Vietnam People’s Army, and for supporting Vietnam’s deployment of a level-2 field hospital to take part in UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan.
He expressed his hope that Australia will support Vietnam in organising defence-military events in 2020 when the country will serve as the ASEAN Chair, and that the Oceanic nation’s defence ministry backs cooperative activities within the framework of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on dealing with post-war bomb and mine consequences signed in March 2015.
Regarding sea-related issues, both ministers stressed the importance of aviation and navigation security, safety, and freedom in the region, agreeing that disputes must be solved by peaceful means on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in particular.
“I believe that with the existing cooperation agreements and the freshly-signed Declaration on Joint Vision for Enhancing Defence Cooperation, the defence ties between Vietnam and Australia will reap new progress meeting the two countries’ interest and serving peace, stability, and development in the region and the world at large,” Lich said.
During his stay, Lich and the Vietnamese delegation visited the HMAS Canberra.