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30th anniversary of relations with Vietnam.



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MEDIA RELEASE MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER FA14 26 February 2003

30th ANNIVERSARY OF RELATIONS WITH VIETNAM

Today is the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

On this day in 1973, the Australian Government announced that Australia and the then Democratic Republic of Vietnam, now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, had agreed to establish diplomatic relations.

Since then, Australia has developed a diverse and substantial relationship with Vietnam. In recent years, relations have expanded into new areas such as law enforcement and defence cooperation. A regional security dialogue and human rights dialogue have also become important features of the relationship.

Vietnam is Australia’s third-largest aid recipient and 20th largest trading partner, with two-way trade totalling over A$2.3 billion in 2001-2002. Australian businesses are well represented in Vietnam in construction and building supplies, banking, accounting, law, brewing, manufacturing, dairy products and education and training.

People-to-people links between our two countries are strong. Some 200,000 Australians are of Vietnamese origin and make a significant and positive contribution to Australian society. Australia is by far the most popular destination for Vietnamese studying abroad. Some 4500 Vietnamese students study in Australia each year, making education our biggest export earner with Vietnam.

Australia and Vietnam also share a range of key regional interests, including membership of APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum.

I look forward to continuing to build a strong and enduring partnership with Vietnam.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 62777500 mob 0419 206 890 Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

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