Viet Nam wished to strengthen and deepen its close partnership with Australia, said President Nguyen Minh Triet when receiving Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd in Ha Noi yesterday.
He said Viet Nam wished to boost co-operation in economics, trade and investment between the two countries.
Triet emphasised the importance of co-operation in the field of education and training, adding that the Vietnamese student community in Australia was acting as a bridge to boost the co-operative and friendly relations between the two countries.
The President said Viet Nam was thankful for the significant and meaningful support from Australia which contributed to the cause of national building, especially via Official Development Assistance (ODA). Bridges in Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, My Thuan and Cao Lanh were symbols of that friendship, he said.
Rudd said Australia was glad to help Viet Nam during its development and spoke highly of Viet Nam in the ASEAN region and international arena. He affirmed that the relations between Viet Nam and Australia had gone beyond the pure bilateral relations but via multilateral channels as well.
He said Australia wished, along with Viet Nam and other partners in the region, to ensure security within the framework of the East Asia Summit.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung also warmly received Rudd yesterday.
Dung said the two nations had shared many similar ideas in multilateral forums and that co-operative relations between the two countries had seen progress in every area.
He highly appreciated the outcome of the meeting between the foreign ministers of both sides, and said that the agreements concluding from the meeting would mark the next steps in diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and Australia.
Dung also expressed Viet Nam's gratitude for Australia's help in successfully organising diplomatic meetings during its chairmanship of ASEAN last year.
Rudd congratulated Viet Nam for its successful ASEAN chairmanship which he said expanded the scope of the regional forum.
He also said that both sides should push for more co-operation, especially in natural resources exploitation and energy, which were Australia's strengths.
Also yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem held a meeting with his Australian counterpart.
At the meeting, Khiem said Rudd's visit would help boost the comprehensive partnership between the two countries.
Both ministers said that the two countries would continue to co-operate closely in key areas according to the Viet Nam – Australia action plan for the 2010-13 period. They also agreed that both sides would take advantage of the ASEAN - Australia - New Zealand Free Trade Area agreement to boost economic and trade partnerships.
Rudd affirmed that Viet Nam would remain the priority recipient of ODA from Australia.
Rudd yesterday delivered a keynote speech to open RMIT International University Vietnam's Recreation and Events Complex and Residential Centre in HCM City.
RMIT International University Vietnam, an affiliate of the 138-year-old Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, set up shop 10 years ago, the first foreign university to do so.
Rudd said the institution, which boasted 6,000 students, was an important part of the skilling-up of Viet Nam's young people.
At around 25,000, Australia has the largest number of Vietnamese students. It grants 225 post-graduate scholarships for Vietnamese every year.
Australia was Viet Nam's 13th largest trading partner with bilateral trade almost reaching US$3.7 billion last year, up 14 per cent from 2009.
The figure stood at nearly $600 million in the first two months of this year.
On the same day, Rudd also visited the HCM City Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Centre, announcing a grant of $1 million over four years for the Red Cross' Special Fund for the Disabled.