Morrison affirmed this in an interview granted to
the Viet Nam News Agency (VNA) and The Voice of Viet Nam (VOV) ahead of his
The following is the full text of the interview.
Australia and Viet Nam have just elevated the
bilateral relationship to strategic partnership which serves as a firm
foundation for a deeper and wider cooperation between the two countries.
Could you please tell us how significant your upcoming visit to Viet Nam
would be in this context?
Australian PM Scott Morrison: Australia’s
relationship with Viet Nam has never been stronger. I am looking forward to
meeting again with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to discuss ways to drive
forward the strategic partnership which we established in 2018. Viet Nam
matters greatly to Australia. We are committed to this vital relationship
and we want to fulfill its potential. My focus during the visit will be
strengthening economic, security and people to people cooperation between
our two countries. We share a similar outlook on our region and the world.
As countries, we both want open trade and freedom of the high seas. As
people, we are pragmatic and straight forward. Over the past few years,
trade between us has deepened and strengthened.
Australia and Viet Nam face uncertain times and
global economic headwinds. My Government is strongly committed to deepening
Australia’s relations with Southeast Asia and with ASEAN, and our engagement
with friends and partners, like Viet Nam, is more important than ever to
maintaining the security and prosperity of our two peoples.
What are the key issues and areas of your focus that
you would like to exchange views with leaders of Viet Nam during the visit
and how important would they contribute to fostering the Australia-Viet Nam
Strategic Partnership and to bringing the best benefits to the peoples of
the two countries?
Australian PM Scott Morrison: I am looking forward
to working with Prime Minister Phuc to identify ways in which we can deepen
and broaden the trade and investment relationship between our two countries.
We are building a true economic partnership. Our two-way trade hit a record
AUD14.5 billion in 2018 – a doubling since 2012, growing by 11% annually
over the past five years. Only our trade with India is growing at a faster
rate. Our investment relationship is also expanding, reaching AUD3.2 billion
in 2018. We are partners in APEC, the Trade Pacific Partnership and the
ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA. We are working together to conclude the
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership this year.
Viet Nam’s strong economic fundamentals – political
stability, a network of free trade agreements, competitive labor costs and a
favorable geography – position it well for future growth. The government’s
commitment to ongoing economic reform and embrace of trade liberalization is
to be commended.
Australian commodities, like coal, iron ore and
cotton are helping to fuel Vietnam’s economic development and globally
significant manufacturing industry. Australian education is training the
next generation of Vietnamese workers with the skills for the digital and
data age. Australian exports of beef, wheat, wine and horticultural products
are increasingly served in restaurants and enjoyed around family dining
tables across Viet Nam.
In 2020, Viet Nam will assume the ASEAN Chair and a
non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Could you
please share with us your views on how this would help enhance the bilateral
cooperation between Australia and Vietnam in sustaining peace, stability and
prosperity in the region?
Australian PM Scott Morrison: Both Australia and
Viet Nam want to see an Indo-Pacific region that is secure strategically,
stable economically and sovereign politically. We have a shared
neighborhood. For over two decades, Australia and Viet Nam have worked
together on this vision. Our bilateral cooperation stretches from maritime
security (ships visits, exercises and training with a recent highlight being
the visit of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019), to counter terrorism (Special
Forces exchanges and exercises), aviation safety, and military medicine
(training and visits). ASEAN - a grouping of independent, sovereign states
committed to promoting stability and prosperity - sits at the centre of
Australia’s vision for Southeast Asia. My Government is committed to further
strengthening Australia’s ties with ASEAN, including during Viet Nam’s
Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2020, to build an open, inclusive and prosperous
Indo-Pacific region where trade, capital and ideas flow freely, and the
rights of all states are respected. We look forward to working with Viet Nam
on its agenda for ASEAN next year.
Australia also looks forward to working with Viet
Nam during its term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security
Council in 2020. We have developed an increasingly strong defense
relationship over the past 21 years. One practical highlight of our growing
defense relationship is our provision of airlift to Viet Nam to help deploy
63 personnel and their equipment to the United Nations Mission in South
Sudan (UNMISS) on 1 October 2018. We have provided English language and
peacekeeping training support to Vietnamese peacekeepers since 2011, and
more recently we have provided Vietnam with a range of equipment and
vehicles to support its deployments. The very practical success of our
United Nations peacekeeping cooperation was reflected in the Joint Vision
Statement on Further Defense Cooperation signed by our Defense Ministers in
November 2018. The Australian Defense Force looks forward to continuing to
strengthen engagement with Viet Nam and assisting the Vietnamese People’s
Army to prepare for future UN deployments in response to common security