In his Lunar New Year Message to the Vietnamese people, Minister Smith affirmed that the comprehensive partnership between the two countries agreed upon by their top leaders in September 2009 has elevated bilateral ties to a new level.
VietNamNet Bridge – Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has expressed his belief that relations between Australia and Vietnam will continue to grow and flourish in the Year of the Tiger 2010.
He said that over the past five years Vietnam has been Australia’s fastest growing trading partner in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and that bilateral economic cooperation will continue to grow as the Southeast Asian nation continues its economic reform process.
Australia welcomes Vietnam as the chair of ASEAN and the East Asia Summit in 2010 and looks forward to working closer together with Vietnam in settling regional issues, the diplomat said, adding that warm and extensive people-to-people relationships underpin bilateral ties.
Australia is home to approximately 188,000 Vietnamese nationals and it is an increasingly popular destination for Vietnamese students, with more than 24,000 studying in 2009. Tourism is also an important element in bilateral relationship with over 210,000 Australians visiting Vietnam last year.
On the occasion of the Lunar New Year, Minister Smith extended wishes of health, happiness, success and prosperity to all Vietnamese. He said 2010 is the 1000th anniversary of the capital city of Hanoi and will be a special year for Vietnamese in Australia and worldwide.