Anthony Albanese will meet key leaders during his diplomatic visit to Vietnam to discuss common interests, including China’s position in the region.
Mr. Albanese will sit down with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, as well as the Secretary-General of the Communist Party, the President and the Speaker of the National Assembly.
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The Australian leader said that since China borders Vietnam to the north, the issue of their ties and China’s actions at the international level would no doubt be discussed.
Last week, Vietnam accused a Chinese survey ship and its escorts of violating its sovereignty amid a territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
“(Australia) and Vietnam share the view on the South China Sea and that the Convention on the Law of the Sea must be respected and upheld,” Albanese told media in Hanoi on Saturday.
Defense Secretary Richard Marles was due to meet his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu on Saturday afternoon, in what Mr Albanese said was a positive.
“Through dialogue and engagement, understanding is born,” he said.
“And of course we said that we want to work with China wherever we can.”
Talks in Vietnam are also expected to include clean energy technology, tourism, education and cross-border crime control.
There is also discussion about increasing Vietnamese workers’ access to jobs in Australia.
About 350,000 people of Vietnamese origin live in Australia.
Asked whether Australia could play a mediating role in the China-US negotiations, Mr Albanese said it was in Australia’s interests to get involved.
“The notion that we can be isolated from the world because we are an island continent has been disproved time and time again,” he said.
“Whether it is a global pandemic, a potential cyber event, or indeed the conflict between Russia and Ukraine that has had a direct impact on Australians due to the global inflation it has caused.
“I think we are a trustworthy nation.
“We are a nation that is straightforward – and when I deal with my international colleagues, I speak directly,” he said.