Mr Morrison said on Wednesday Vietnam had been an economic success story over the past decade and his visit would in particular focus on broadening two-way trade and investment opportunities.
“Our relationship with Vietnam has never been stronger and my first official visit will be an important opportunity to drive forward that strategic partnership,” he said.
The visit will have a strong business focus, as Australia looks to tap into one of south-east Asia’s fastest-growing economies. Mr Morrison will deliver a speech tonight at a Chamber of Commerce event as well as attend a business breakfast with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc before their official bilateral meeting on Friday.
“I am delighted to see that many of Australia’s companies are keen to invest more in Vietnam,” Mr Nam said.
“They want to partner with Vietnam in new areas such as renewable energy, start-ups, high-tech agriculture, innovation, human resource development.
“And an increasing number of Vietnam’s flagship entrepreneurs such as FPT, VinGroup, VietJet and TH Group are beginning to make long-term investments in Australia.
“I strongly believe that developing closer ties will enable the two countries to tap the vast potential of our bilateral co-operation, ranging from political issues, trade and investment, education, defence and security to immigration, combating transnational crime, people smuggling and human trafficking.”
“Both sides attach great importance to the visit. And, we are making thoughtful preparations for it as we believe that it will mark a new milestone in the bilateral relationship between Vietnam and Australia.”
Australia and Vietnam share concerns about China’s rise. Mr Morrison pointedly described Vietnam as a “close partner” along with Indonesia, India and Japan in his Asialink speech he gave in June, which was a comprehensive articulation of his approach to regional tensions.
Strains between Hanoi and Beijing have dramatically worsened in recent weeks, with furious Vietnamese officials demanding China withdraw a survey ship and its coast guard escorts from Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone in the disputed Spratly Islands.
The waters overlap China’s “nine-dash line” which it cites to justify territorial claims but which was declared invalid by an international tribunal in 2016.
Chinese coast guard ships have also been harassing Vietnamese oil and gas vessels. Australia has condemned that activity in joint communiques issued with Japan and the US.
Mr Nam said the deployment of the survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 together with dozens of escort vessels within the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam was “yet another act that seriously violates Vietnam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction” under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“China’s activities in the South China Sea have infringed upon the lawful rights and legitimate interests of not only Vietnam but also other countries within and outside the region,” he said.
“Vietnam and other ASEAN member states will also work closely with ASEAN dialogue partners, including Australia, to promote the compliance with international law, especially UNCLOS, in order to uphold the legal order of the oceans, to prevent incidents and to reduce tensions, thus mitigating the risk of miscalculations in the South China Sea.
“All these are part and parcel of our common efforts to foster peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world. We look forward to Australia’s continued support in this endeavour.”