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Austria and Vietnam Strengthen Economic and Political Partnership

On 24 July 2023, President Alexander Van der Bellen, together with Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, welcomed Vietnam’s President Võ Văn Thưởng and Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn in Vienna. On this occasion, Foreign Minister Schallenberg and his Vietnamese counterpart signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for political consultations. Additionally, the two foreign ministers discussed regional developments in the Indo-Pacific. In April 2023, Foreign Minister Schallenberg had already travelled to Vietnam to initiate a deeper partnership between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Schallenberg expressed his appreciation of the high-level visit from Vietnam and especially welcomed the signing of the political MoU, which enables structured and regular dialogue between Austria and Vietnam. He emphasized to his Vietnamese counterpart that Vietnam is an important partner, particularly in political matters.

“In core foreign policy issues, we have much in common: We advocate for strong multilateralism and respect for international law. We seek free and open trade routes and a rules-based international system,” Foreign Minister Schallenberg stated.

Moreover, during his discussion with his Vietnamese counterpart, he shared his belief that this visit would further strengthen the bilateral partnership and provide a crucial impulse for jointly addressing numerous challenges. These challenges include the recent blockade of the Black Sea Grain Initiative by Russia, the global implications of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, tensions between the USA and China, the situation in the South China Sea, the fight against climate change, and the handling of new technologies.

Vietnam and the entire Indo-Pacific region also hold great relevance for Austria’s economy due to their economic dynamism.

“For an export-oriented country like Austria, the Indo-Pacific is of special significance: It is a region of growth, the aorta of the world economy, and is currently evolving into the geo-economic centre of the 21st century. What happens in the region directly impacts the security, stability, and prosperity of Europe,” Foreign Minister Schallenberg emphasized.

Given the Russian aggression against Ukraine, global supply chain issues, and escalating geopolitical tensions, including in the Indo-Pacific region, new reliable partnerships are more important than ever, stated Foreign Minister Schallenberg. Vietnam is already Austria’s largest trading partner within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). With existing markets like Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus no longer accessible, Foreign Minister Schallenberg highlighted the tremendous potential that Vietnam currently offers to Austrian companies.

Source : European Interest

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