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Visit to Vietnam



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M EDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

AUSTRALIA,,*.

FA46 22 April 1998

VISIT TO VIETNAM

I will visit Vietnam from 24 to 28 April. My visit takes place during the 25th anniversary year of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam.

During my visit I will meet for the first time with the new Vietnamese leadership, including the President and Prime Minister, as well as the Deputy Prime Minister and my counterpart, Foreign Minister, Mr Nguyen Manh Cam. Our talks will cover a range of bilateral issues. The bilateral relationship continues to expand, with regional security dialogue and human rights dialogue now important features of that relationship.

Australia and Vietnam also share a range of key regional interests. My visit takes place as Vietnam prepares itself for membership of APEC, which Australia warmly welcomes, and in the lead up to its hosting of the ASEAN Summit at the end of this year.

While in Vietnam I will discuss the details of Australia's aid program with Vietnam and explore ways in which Australia and Vietnam can work together in the further economic and social development of Vietnam. I will also inspect the Vietnam-Australia Training Project and open new facilities there.

A series of activities have been organised to mark the anniversary of diplomatic relations, including an event called "Pathways to Employment" which I will attend and which will highlight the expertise and services which Australia can provide to regional countries in vocational training.

Australian businesses are well represented in Vietnam in construction and building supplies, telecommunications, banking, accounting, brewing, manufacturing, dairy products and education and training. I will meet with representatives of the Australian business community in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. I will seek to encourage Vietnamese Government

leaders to continue their commitment to economic reform which will further open up opportunities for two-way trade and investment.

I will also Chair a Council meeting of the Asia-Australia Institute and attend events connected with the Institute's Asia Leaders' Forum in Hanoi. The Asia Leaders' Forum brings together key players from our region for a timely exchange of views on the mechanisms of regionalism and the decision-making of regional governments at a time of profound challenge for East Asia.

While in Vietnam I will attend an ANZAC Day Service to commemorate the sacrifice made by Australian soldiers in the service of their country.

For further information contact Innes Willox on 0411 414 695

Media releases and speeches are available from DFAT via the internet, http://www.dfat.gov.au/