Australian Defence Minister to Visit Vietnam

Australian Defence Minister to Visit Vietnam

Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith will visit Vietnam tomorrow where he will meet with his counterpart General Phung Quang Thanh, Australian Defence Ministry informed today.

This will be his second visit to Vietnam as an Australian Minister for Defence and he will be accompanied by the Secretary of the Department of Defence, Mr Duncan Lewis.

The visit will focus on discussing Australia’s growing Defence relationship with Vietnam, together with regional security issues of mutual interest.

While in Hanoi, he will visit the National Defense College, the Special Forces Officers School and the Vietnam People’s Army Commissioning School.

Vietnam is emerging as a strong influence in ASEAN and its related forums. As Vietnam continues to develop, Australia welcomes it taking a greater role in contributing to regional stability and security.

The growing Defence-to-Defence and Military-to-Military relationship between Australia and Vietnam is based on mutual interest in regional security and strengthening ties through regional and multilateral engagement. In October 2010 the Australian Minister attended the inaugural ASEAN-Plus Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM-Plus), hosted by Vietnam.

“Australia is committed to building these relations through senior level dialogue and practical cooperation.

In recent years, Australia’s Defence Cooperation Program with Vietnam has expanded considerably to include capacity building for United Nations Peacekeeping missions and Special Forces engagement. This expands on traditional cooperation in officer training and English language training.

 Australia has been pleased to provide training to 80 Vietnamese personnel who are preparing for deployment to UN peacekeeping missions.

 Australia and Vietnam have boosted naval cooperation, including a program of regular ship visits, within that framework HMAS Sydney will visit Vietnam in October.

 Australia offers over 80 places to Vietnam People’s Army personnel to take part in English language training in Australia each year.

Australia also trains over 100 personnel in English skills each year at the Vietnam People’s Army Commissioning School”, the Minister said.

The Minister expressed his excitement anent opening a second Australian-sponsored English language laboratory at the Military Technical Academy, which will train over 700 Vietnamese students annually.

Naval Today Staff, August 27, 2012; Image: Australian MoD