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NZ & Vietnam to Develop Defence Relationship

New Zealand and Vietnam to Develop Defence Relationship

Defence Minister Phil Goff today announced that New Zealand and Vietnam will look at further developing their defence relationship. This followed Mr Goff’s meeting with Vietnamese Defence Minister Senior Lieutenant General Phung Quang Thanh in Hanoi today. Mr Goff became the first New Zealand Defence Minister to meet his Vietnamese counterpart.

“New Zealand and Vietnam will hold formal bilateral defence talks in 2007 and a visit to New Zealand is planned for next year by Vice Defence Minister, Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Huy Hieu”, said Mr Goff.

“The talks and the Vice Minister’s visit will enable us to identify areas of mutual interest where both parties can benefit from enhanced cooperation and begin working together.

“The Vietnamese have already expressed an interest in learning from New Zealand’s peacekeeping experience and receiving assistance in developing their own capabilities in this area.

“We will also discuss the possibilities of initiating some limited training activities with Vietnam under the auspices of the mutual assistance programme which could cover areas such as leadership development and professional training.

“The defence relationship with Vietnam is limited, but friendly at present. Defence relations were formally established in 2001 with the accreditation of the New Zealand defence attached based in Bangkok to Hanoi.

“There have been visits to Vietnam in 2004 and 2006 by ships of the Royal New Zealand Navy, the Chief of Army visited his Vietnamese counterpart in 2004 and the New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College visited Vietnam as part of its 2005 study tour.

“In May 2005, Prime Minister Clark and her Vietnamese counterpart Phan Van Khai signed a joint declaration of cooperation that established a framework for developing bilateral relationships in a number of areas, including defence and my announcement today comes as a direct result of that declaration”, Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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