I will visit Vietnam from 26 to 28 May to open the Cao Lanh Bridge with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and co-chair the inaugural Australia-Vietnam Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

Australia has co-financed the design and construction of the Cao Lanh Bridge as part of a major new transport project that will help connect 18 million people in the Mekong Delta with regional markets and drive economic growth. Australia’s $160 million investment in the project is one of our largest aid activities in Southeast Asia.

The Cao Lanh Bridge is a visible symbol of the depth of the Australia-Vietnam relationship, now formalised as a Strategic Partnership, and demonstrates Australia’s commitment to build closer linkages across the Indo-Pacific region, to bring people together and encourage greater trade and investment.

The inaugural Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is a direct outcome of the new Strategic Partnership between Australia and Vietnam, signed by Prime Ministers Turnbull and Phuc prior to the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in March.

Australia and Vietnam are celebrating 45 years of diplomatic relations this year. While we have different values and political systems, Australia and Vietnam share important strategic interests.

Strong community and personal ties are the basis of that relationship, marked by 300,000 members of the Vietnamese community in Australia - one of our largest migrant communities.

I look forward to discussing with my counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mr Pham Binh Minh, how Australia and Vietnam can expand our collaboration, particularly on important regional issues relating to stability, security and prosperity.

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