Australia bolsters relationship with Vietnam
in official bilateral meeting
Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday met President Nguyen Minh Triet, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, and General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nong Duc Manh in her first bilateral visit to Vietnam.
The meeting followed on from the successful fifth East Asia Summit which concluded in Hanoi on 30 October 2010.
Vietnam is becoming one of Australia's most important and valued partners in the Asia Pacific region. Our trade relations are significant and growing, our defence and security links are improving and our educational partnership continues to strengthen.
Following the meetings the Prime Minister witnessed the signing of an Australia-Vietnam Plan of Action to strengthen the political, defence, security and trade elements of the relationship.
At the bilateral meeting, the Prime Minister announced an aid contribution of USD160 million towards the design and construction of a new bridge across a major tributary of the Mekong River at Cao Lanh.
The bridge will form a vital part of a major new road transport network that will link people and markets across the Delta to the rest of South East Asia and beyond.
The project will be Australia's single largest aid activity in mainland Southeast Asia and is expected to benefit 170,000 road users daily.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the potential for increased cooperation in the mining and energy sectors, stressing Australia's credentials in these areas, and congratulated the Vietnamese leaders for their commitment to continue economic reforms.
Following the meeting the Prime Minister officially opened the new Hanoi campus of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), the first foreign-owned university to open in Vietnam.
The Prime Minister also announced 30 new scholarships for Vietnamese to study a Masters of Engineering at the Hanoi campus and awarded the Prime Minister's Australia Asia Awards to three Vietnamese scholars.
The Prime Minister thanked Vietnamese leaders for their successful hosting of the East Asia Summit and the bilateral ASEAN-Australia Summit.
She commended their ambitious and active leadership during Vietnam's year as ASEAN chair and welcomed outcomes including the expansion of the EAS with the inclusion of the United States and Russia, plus a strengthening of the EAS agenda and the inaugural ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting.