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Australia, Vietnam boost ties, launch critical minerals discussions – March 07, 2024 at 02:51

Australia, Vietnam boost ties, launch critical minerals discussions – March 07, 2024 at 02:51

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Thursday his country would upgrade ties with Vietnam to a comprehensive strategic partnership and open an annual dialogue on critical minerals. This is part of efforts to diversify supply chains from China.

“By transforming our relationship into a comprehensive strategic partnership today, Australia and Vietnam will become important partners,” Albanese told a press conference in Canberra.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Bam Minh said on Tuesday that he expects Vietnam and Australia to improve their bilateral relations during his current visit, raising the country's relations with Australia to the highest level.

Both countries said in a joint statement that the partnership will support expanded cooperation on a range of issues, including climate, environment and energy, security and defense, economic engagement and education.

Australia is a major producer of key minerals used in everything from smartphones to automobiles, while Vietnam has some of the world's largest untapped deposits.

“The Annual Ministerial Dialogue on Energy and Minerals will enhance cooperation in our energy and resources sectors, including critical mineral supply chains,” the statement said.

The US has already agreed to increase cooperation with Vietnam in the field of rare earths as its resources are seen as an alternative source of these minerals. With an estimated 44 million tonnes, China has the world's largest reserves and dominates the extraction and processing of critical minerals.

Using “bamboo diplomacy,” Communist Party-ruled Vietnam expanded its ties with major world powers last year and sought to manage rising global tensions. Apart from Australia, the Southeast Asian country's most important partners now include the US, China, India, South Korea, Japan and Russia.