Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has concluded a visit to Vietnam, during which he signed a multi-million-dollar agreement to help Vietnam decarbonize its economy. Tensions with China have also been the backdrop to the visit.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has said he wants Vietnam to become one of his country’s “top tier” partners as the government in Canberra seeks to diversify from its reliance of China, its biggest trading partner.
Australia and Vietnam have signed various agreements during Albanese’s two-day visit to the southeast Asian nation, including a $69.3 million package to help authorities in Hanoi decarbonize Vietnam’s economy. There are also accords to share intelligence on money laundering and set up a regular meeting between the countries’ trade ministers.
There was also a celebration of two new air routes linking the Australian cities of Melbourne and Brisbane to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City respectively.
Analysts have said that Vietnam shares Australia's concerns about China’s moves to exert control over the South China Sea. The Vietnamese coast guard has had confrontations with Chinese vessels in waters claimed by both countries.
Speaking in Vietnam Sunday, Prime Minister Albanese said he was eager for closer bilateral ties.
“We share a common interest in a region that is stable, that is prosperous and that is resilient, and we are pleased to work with Vietnam, and we share a commitment to maintaining the global rules and norms that can ensure that stability in the region going forward,” he said.
Albanese said before official talks that he would also raise human rights concerns with his Vietnamese hosts, including the case of Chau Van Kham. The 73-year-old Australian citizen has been jailed in Vietnam for membership in an anti-government group that has campaigned for democracy.
Australia’s total two-way trade with Vietnam in 2021 was worth $11.8 billion, according to government data.
Hanoi and Canberra want to conclude a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership by the end of this year.