Joint Statement on the Establishment of a Strategic Partnership between Australia and Viet Nam

15 March 2018

  1. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1973, Viet Nam and Australia have built strong and substantive relations on the basis of mutual respect and interest. Converging security and economic interests and deepening people-to-people links anchor our bilateral relationship and cooperation.
  2. The Viet Nam-Australia Comprehensive Partnership, announced in 2009 and enhanced in 2015, underlines the concerted efforts of the governments and peoples of the two countries to advance bilateral relations.
  3. Recognising that 2018 marks the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and Australia, we jointly decide to elevate the bilateral relationship to the level of a Strategic Partnership, on the occasion of the Official Visit to Australia by H.E. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Viet Nam.
  4. In declaring a Strategic Partnership, Viet Nam and Australia pledge our commitment to deepening ties based on respect for the United Nations Charter, international law and each other’s sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and respective political systems. We will enhance mutual trust and understanding to strengthen the bilateral relationship and contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the region. In particular, we commit to work intensively to ensure that our region remains peaceful, resilient and shaped by the rules and norms that have prevailed for decades.
  5. The Viet Nam – Australia Plan of Action 2016-2019 remains in effect and will be renewed on the signing of this Joint Statement.

Bilateral Cooperation

Political cooperation

  1. We commit to deepen bilateral political cooperation including through frequent high-level exchanges between the Communist Party, Government and National Assembly of Viet Nam, and the political parties, Government and Parliament of Australia.
  2. To reflect better the modern and dynamic relationship, we will strengthen political engagement through annual ministerial meetings aimed at maximising opportunities to exchange views, ideas and initiatives on strategic issues. These regular and high-level exchanges will be complemented by existing bilateral meetings, which include the 2+2 Strategic Dialogue, Viet Nam-Australia Human Rights Dialogue, Viet Nam-Australia Consular Consultations and Viet Nam-Australia Agriculture Forum.
  3. We commit to strengthening bilateral political engagement on foreign and regional issues through the establishment of an annual Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
  4. We pledge to expand high-level official contacts to advance the already strong cooperation in economics and trade, foreign affairs, defence, security, law and justice, science, technology, agriculture, innovation and education, and other areas such as labour and tourism.

Economic cooperation and development

  1. We commit to deepen the bilateral trade and investment relationship and pursue more open trade and investment through global and regional economic integration.
  2. Building on the complementary nature of the two economies, we will promote market access and trade facilitation measures for both sides, including for agricultural and seafood products.
  3. We welcome the establishment of an annual ministerial-level Economic Partnership Meeting to identify opportunities to expand trade, investment and development cooperation, and for sustained economic reform. Superseding the Joint Trade and Economic Cooperation Committee, this new economic forum will facilitate discussions among key ministers responsible for trade, investment, development and planning, and drive synergies among the different facets of our economic links.
  4. We acknowledge the importance of strong commercial and business-to-business engagement in underpinning our trade and investment relationship. We encourage positive business engagement and building understanding of our respective economic complementarities, including through two-way business and trade missions.
  5. Australia recognises the significant achievements of Viet Nam in reducing poverty and its aspirations to develop its economy further. Viet Nam appreciates Australia’s long-standing bilateral and regional official development assistance. We commit to an economic partnership that will assist Viet Nam to achieve its socio-economic and development aspirations, placing an emphasis on economic reform, human resource development, private sector engagement, climate change, gender equality and innovation.
  6. We will continue building a mutually beneficial agriculture partnership, including joint research and technical assistance projects to improve the capability and competitiveness of Vietnam’s agriculture sector and promote international standards and reliable supply chains.
  7. We will also further strengthen our mutual interests in energy, resources, the blue economy and environmental cooperation, and in responding to climate change.

Defence, law and justice, intelligence and security cooperation

  1. We confirm our increasing strategic relations and shared regional interests and reaffirm our commitment to closer defence, law and justice, intelligence and security cooperation, contributing to the peace, stability and development of the region.
  2. We reaffirm our commitment to an annual Defence Ministers’ Meeting to facilitate high-level dialogue on defence matters underpinned by the Memorandum of Understanding for Defence Cooperation signed in 2010. These exchanges will be an opportunity to explore further defence cooperation, including in education and training, maritime and aviation security, peace keeping training and support, counter-terrorism, war legacy issues and other areas.
  3. We welcome the cooperation between Australian and Vietnamese police, maritime and border authorities, and mutually decide to strengthen further security and law enforcement cooperation, including through an annual Security Dialogue at Vice-Ministerial level and greater exchange of intelligence and information sharing, and capacity building.
  4. We commit to continue strengthening bilateral cooperation and participation in regional efforts to address traditional and non-traditional security threats, especially transnational crime, including people smuggling and human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, terrorism, cybercrime, and in recovering the proceeds of these crimes.
  5. We will strengthen bilateral and regional cooperation between and among maritime policy-making, administration and law enforcement agencies through dialogue and coordination, practical cooperation and capacity-building activities.

Education, science and technology, labour, social affairs and cultural cooperation and people-to-people links

  1. We emphasise the strengthening of the people-to-people aspect of the relationship, particularly the two-way flow of youth and students. We strongly support Australian and Vietnamese students to study in Viet Nam and Australia, including through the New Colombo Plan, and Australian and Vietnamese scholarships.
  2. We reaffirm the significance of our education, training and research relationship and the large Vietnamese alumni of Australian education institutions. We reaffirm support for education policy dialogues to enhance institutional linkages and the transnational delivery of education (including by taking advantage of advances in communication technologies) and expand student, academic, researcher and professional mobility.
  3. We will promote cooperation in the areas of vocational education and social affairs, including striving towards gender equality, and note opportunities for labour mobility through Australia’s skilled migration program.
  4. We will continue to promote and expand mutually beneficial cooperation on science, technology and innovation; strengthen connectivity between research institutions; and encourage technology transfer, expert exchange and information sharing on science, technology and innovation.
  5. We recognise the role of social and people’s organisations in both countries in fostering good relations, friendship and understanding between the Vietnamese and Australian people.
  6. We recognise the success of the Vietnamese community in Australia and highly value its contribution to bilateral relations. We highlight the role of young people in building mutually beneficial networks of influence among future leaders and entrepreneurs.
  7. We commit to promote the effective implementation of the Viet Nam - Australia Work and Holiday program.
  8. We welcome the rapid increase in visitor numbers to both countries and associated growth in aviation and tourism, and will look for opportunities to enhance cooperation in the tourism sector. 
  9. We reiterate the importance of cultural cooperation in promoting mutual understanding between people of our two countries and are committed to developing further cooperation between Viet Nam and Australia in this area.

Regional and International Cooperation

  1. We will work closely to preserve the open, inclusive and rules-based regional order, which underpins regional peace, security, stability and increasing prosperity. We share the goal of reinforcing and developing regional and international institutions to promote our common political, economic and security interests.
  2. We support the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which has brought harmony and coherence to our region. We will continue to develop the Strategic Partnership between ASEAN and Australia and commend the historic ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, including a suite of practical initiatives for enhanced cooperation.
  3. We emphasise ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture and resolve to work together to strengthen ASEAN-led mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+), with ASEAN as the driving force. In this regard, we affirm the importance of the EAS as the premier leaders-led regional forum for dialogue and cooperation on strategic, political and economic issues of common interest and concern.
  4. We pledge to continue to work together to address regional and global emerging issues, including: terrorism; transnational crime; cybercrime; people smuggling and human trafficking; environmental protection; climate change; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU); energy security; maritime safety and security; food and water security; infectious diseases; quality infrastructure; narrowing the development gap; digital economy; and supporting economic growth, promoting trade and investment liberalisation, and enhancing regional and sub-regional connectivity and sustainable prosperity in the region.
  5. We will strengthen our cooperation in the areas of sustainable development, environmental protection and management, responses to climate change and resilience to natural disasters consistent with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  6. We reaffirm our commitment to promoting security and safety, freedom of navigation and overflight, and the rule of law, including the observance and implementation of international legal obligations in good faith; and to the settlement of disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and through the appropriate ASEAN-led mechanisms. In this regard, we remain concerned about the situation in the South China Sea and affirm our commitment to continue working actively together to promote peace and stability in the region. We reiterate the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the early conclusion of an effective and binding Code of Conduct (COC) between ASEAN and China, consistent with international law.
  7. Building on the significant outcomes of the 25th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting in Da Nang, Viet Nam, we commit to further our cooperation in promoting regional economic integration, and free and open trade and investment through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans - Pacific Partnership, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and APEC, as well as supporting the rules-based multilateral trading system.

Signed in Canberra on 15 March 2018 in duplicate, in English and Vietnamese, each being equally valid.

For the Government of Australia: The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister

For the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam: H.E. Nguyen Xuan Phuc Prime Minister



Last Updated: 16 March 2018