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PM returns from Vietnam after boosting ties with region

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will arrive back in Australia following a whirlwind regional tour where he celebrated long-held diplomatic ties and spruiked future opportunities to work together.

Mr Albanese spent the weekend in Vietnam where he took part in several bilateral meetings, including with his counterpart Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

The pair discussed Australia’s pledge to support Vietnam to make the transition to clean energy.

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Australia will commit $105 million in funding to support sustainable infrastructure planning, stimulate private investment in clean energy infrastructure and provide assistance for Vietnam to develop its critical mineral sector.

During the meeting, Mr Albanese also discussed the importance of national sovereignty and stability in the region.

“Prime Minister Chinh very much welcomed the opportunity that we had to outline in a comprehensive way, what my government’s view is about operating in the region, but also the way that we see international relations operate,” Mr Albanese told reporters in Hanoi.

“We want to see a stable, secure, peaceful and prosperous region and that’s why this visit is important.

“Vietnam is an important friend of Australia.”

Mr Albanese met with Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong as well as the President of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue before attending an official dinner hosted by Prime Minister Chinh to signal the end of the trip.

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The tour marked 50 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam and the prime minister acknowledged there were many more opportunities for the two nations to deepen their engagement with each other.

“All of this connection and co-operation comes together in our plans to elevate our relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Albanese said.

“(We) discussed how we can do that as soon as possible, to signal the trust that we have in each other as top-tier partners and enduring friends.”

Prime Minister Chinh said he and Mr Albanese spoke in a “frank and candid manner” and noted the high level of trust between the two leaders.

“The two sides have reviewed all areas of cooperation and note with satisfaction the flourishing relationship between our two countries as we strive towards a brighter future,” he said.

“Political trust, mutual understanding and respect are constantly bolstered via delegation exchanges and contacts at the high level and between our two peoples.”

Mr Albanese’s trip to Vietnam followed a visit to Singapore, where he delivered a major foreign policy speech in which he called out the risks from any unilateral attempt to change the status quo in Taiwan or the South China Sea by force.

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The prime minister invited his Vietnamese counterpart for a bilateral visit to Australia and looked forward to welcoming him to the ASEAN conference next March.

-AAP

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