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35th Anniversary of diplomatic relations with Vietnam.



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Media contact: Courtney Hoogen (Minister’s Office) 0488 244 901 Angus Mackenzie (Departmental) 02 6261 1555 www.dfat.gov.au

MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS THE HON STEPHEN SMITH, MP

FA 038 26 February 2008

35TH ANNIVERSARY OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH VIETNAM

Today marks the 35th Anniversary of bilateral relations between Australia and Vietnam.

In 1973, the Whitlam Government became one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic ties with the then Democratic Republic of Vietnam, now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

In recognition of the Anniversary, I have exchanged letters with my counterpart, Vietnam’s Foreign Minister His Excellency Mr Pham Gia Khiem, expressing my pleasure at reaching this important milestone and welcoming the major progress achieved in our bilateral relations over the past 35 years.

Development cooperation is a prominent strand of Australia’s engagement with Vietnam, as it has been since the early days. Australia’s total development assistance to Vietnam in 2007-08 is estimated at $90.8 million.

Since 1973, Australia and Vietnam have become active trading and investment partners, with two-way trade totalling $6.9 billion in 2006-07.

In recent years, the relationship has grown and matured to cover a broad range of cooperation, including law enforcement, combating transnational crime and defence, education, health, human rights and fighting pandemic threats such as Avian Influenza and HIV/AIDS.

People-to-people links are also strong, underpinned by a vibrant and active Vietnamese community living in Australia, as well as tourism and education exchanges.

The Government looks forward to developing all of these areas of mutual cooperation to advance the interests of Australia, Vietnam and the region.