CANBERRA, Australia — Vietnam and Australia agreed to closer security ties Wednesday, including training Vietnamese troops in Australia as Canberra seeks to balance its relationship with its biggest trading partner China and relations with other neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told reporters that his Australian counterpart, Tony Abbott, had agreed during a meeting at Parliament House to strengthen cooperation on security and defense in a range of areas, including experience and information sharing, English-language training and special forces cooperation.
“We agreed on the importance of the assurance of peace, stability, maritime security and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, in compliance with international law,” Dung said.
China says it has historical claims to a huge swath of the South Sea China that overlaps with the claims of several neighbors, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines, fueling concerns of a conflict.
Abbott said 120 Vietnamese military personnel would be trained in Australia, and Vietnam would take part in joint military training exercises in Australia.