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Vietnamese Minister of Defence visits Australia.



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MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR THE HON ROBERT HILL Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate

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Monday, 29 March 2004 62/2004

VIETNAMESE MINISTER OF DEFENCE VISITS AUSTRALIA

Defence Minister Robert Hill today met with his counterpart Senior General Pham Van Tra, Vietnam’s Minister of Defence.

It is the first time a Vietnamese Minister of Defence has visited Australia. The visit has come only a few weeks after the commemoration of the thirty-first anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam.

Senator Hill said the Australian-Vietnamese bilateral relationship was one of growing political, strategic and economic importance.

“While the formal defence relationship only began in 1999, defence attaches are now accredited to both Hanoi and Canberra, and the relationship has contributed greatly to an improved understanding of our two countries’ strategic perceptions,” Senator Hill said.

Senator Hill noted the relationship had developed to include high level visits, ship visits, training and joint projects including malaria research.

“We share many common security interests, including addressing the threat of terrorism in the region and increasing regional security cooperation,” Senator Hill said.

“The uncertain security environment demands a collaborative approach and cooperation among regional nations. That is why it is valuable for us to work together to share information and build counter-terrorist capabilities.

“General Tra’s visit has provided a valuable opportunity to discuss these issues and to reaffirm the importance of our growing defence relationship.”

Media contacts Catherine Fitzpatrick (Senator Hill) 02 6277 7800 0405 351 245

Defence Media Liaison 02 6265 3343 0408 498 664

www.defence.gov.au