Australian Governor-General Commences State Visit to Vietnam

On the afternoon of April 3, Australian Governor-General David Hurley and his wife Linda Hurley arrived in Hanoi, beginning a State visit to Vietnam at the invitation of President Vo Van Thuong.

Australian Governor-General Begins State Visit to Vietnam
Australian Governor-General David Hurley arrives in Hanoi on April 3 afternoon. Photo: VOV

This is the first foreign leader to pay a state visit to Vietnam in 2023, and also the first national guest that President Vo Van Thuong has received in his new position. The visit is part of the festivities in honor of the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Australia, VietnamPlus reported.

During his visit, Hurley and his entourage will lay wreaths at the Monument to Heroes and Martyrs, and President Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi; attend an official welcome ceremony; hold talks with President Vo Van Thuong; and have meetings with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue.

The President of Vietnam and the Governor-General will make a joint visit to Vietnam’s peacekeeping force in order to express their appreciation and support. This visit is a symbol of the importance of peacekeeping and the commitment of the Vietnamese government to the cause. The visit will serve to strengthen the relationship between Vietnam and the peacekeeping forces, and will no doubt be a source of encouragement to the troops.

Hurley and his spouse will attend a series of events to commemorate the 50th founding anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Vietnam and Australia, as well as educational and people-to-people exchange activities in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The couple will also be meeting alumni who have graduated from Australian universities and visiting educational institutions in HCM City.

The visit, a prominent milestone in the year celebrating the Vietnam-Australia diplomatic ties, is expected to contribute to further strengthening the bilateral relations and the strategic trust between the two countries.

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Australian Governor-General Begins State Visit to Vietnam
The visit is part of activities in celebration of the 50th founding anniversary of Vietnam-Australia diplomatic relations. Photo: VOV

The state-level visit of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to Vietnam, which will take place on August 23-24, holds a lot of symbolic significance, especially amid the 50th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic relations, according to Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Andrew Goledzinowski, as reported by VOV. The visit is expected to further elevate bilateral ties and promote economic cooperation between the two countries.

In an interview granted to the media, Governor-General Peter Hollingworth said it’s the third visit to Vietnam by heads of state of Australia, and he’s coming to celebrate the 50th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations. The Governor-General is only the first of a number of important visitors who will come to Vietnam this year.

The Governor-General’s visit will serve to powerfully reinforce and consolidate the strategic trust that exists between our two countries, not only at the level of ordinary people, but also at the highest levels, said Goledzinowski.

In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), Dr. Suiwah Leung, Honourary Associate Professor at the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy, stated that the visit will further deepen the goodwill and trust between both countries, ultimately leading to mutual benefits.

She stated that the visit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations was essential, not only at the governmental and diplomatic level, but also among those at other levels. She noted that the relationship between Vietnam and Australia at the academic level has been particularly meaningful.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Hong Hai, a researcher at the Centre for Policy Futures under the University of Queensland, said the visit is expected to create new momentum for the bilateral ties.

Australia attaches great importance to the milestones achieved through high-level meetings and contacts, reinforcing the mutual political trust between the two countries, according to the Prime Minister. By strengthening these exchanges, a consensus can be established to further enhance the relationship.

NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue (L) meets Governor-General of Australia David Hurley in Australia last year. (Photo: VNA)
NA Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue (L) meets Governor-General of Australia David Hurley in Australia last year. Photo: VNA

Hurley’s trip is expected to not only bolster people-to-people exchanges, but also send a powerful message to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the wider region that Australia is dedicated to deepening its relations with Vietnam and ASEAN.

The message is quite clear – Vietnam holds a special position in Australia’s relations with the region – Hai said, citing former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as saying during his visit to Vietnam in 2019 that Vietnam was a close friend.

The researcher noted his belief that the visit would contribute to strengthening the bilateral relations and opening up strong cooperation prospects between the two countries, while creating more foundations and momentum for them to soon realize the goal of advancing the relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership this year.

Moreover, the visit would give a boost to collaboration in other spheres, such as national defence and security, as well as innovation, climate change response, energy transition, green energy, and green economy, the President noted.

Trade between Vietnam and Australia has surged in recent years, reflecting both Vietnam’s increasing wealth and the two nations’ complementary economies. In fact, Australia is now Vietnam’s seventh largest trading partner.

Statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade have revealed that two-way trade between Vietnam and Australia reached a total of $2 billion in the first two months of 2023. Vietnam earned $769.4 million from exporting goods to Australia, while spending $1.2 billion on imports from the country.

In terms of education, there are currently 300 different partnerships between Australian universities and Vietnamese institutions. These collaborations are beneficial for both countries, providing a platform for knowledge-sharing and the exchange of ideas. Additionally, they are helping to foster closer ties between the two nations.

The two countries have also maintained cooperation in agriculture and national defense, including peacekeeping, border security, and law enforcement to combat human trafficking, drugs smuggling, and a variety of other transnational crimes. To further this collaboration, both nations have strengthened their respective joint initiatives, such as the formation of a bilateral military commission and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on agricultural cooperation. Furthermore, the two countries have established a Joint Working Group to monitor and evaluate the progress of their collaborative efforts.

Rosy Huong