Canadian foreign minister says Vietnam is important for Indo-Pacific strategy

During a visit to Vietnam on April 13 and 14, she told a news conference in Hanoi on Thursday that it was her first trip to Asia and that she wanted to make sure she would come to Vietnam.

“We are in the process of developing Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy and we see Vietnam as a very strategic partner.”

The Indo-Pacific Strategy has been developed over the past few years and is expected to be released this summer.

In January, Canada’s leading newspaper The Globe and Mail quoted two sources as saying the strategy was to establish a larger diplomatic footprint in the Indo-Pacific.

Responding to a question about Vietnam’s role, Joly said the country would be extremely important to Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy and “that’s why I’m in Vietnam.”

“We are here to work with Vietnam, to work with ASEAN countries. And we think that is the best way to ensure that there is stability in the region, and that this stability will help economic development and trade.”

She said she was amazed by the hospitality of Vietnamese people.

Over the past 50 years, Canada and Vietnam have built a strong relationship, but there is room to grow, she said.

There are very strong people-to-people ties between Vietnam and Canada, she said, noting that Vietnamese rank third in the number of international students in Canada, with 19,000 to 20,000 arriving every year.

“I’m here to make sure that we continue to be strong together and that we can find solutions for the future in order to [ensure] stability in the region.

Despite Covid, two-way trade grew nearly 19% in 2021 to $6 billion.

In the fight against the pandemic, Canada donated 120,000 masks to Vietnam and 3.5 million Canadian dollars (2.77 million US dollars) for the ASEAN Covid-19 Response Fund in 2021.

Speaking about future cooperation, Joly said Canada was looking at the impacts of climate change on Vietnam and how it can help Vietnam transition, and that was part of the conversations she had with Vietnamese leaders.

Vietnam is ready to make sure it becomes carbon neutral by 2050, and Canada has many key technologies and solutions to help it, she said.

Net-zero emissions can be achieved through a transition to a green economy and renewable energy, with the remaining emissions being absorbed by forests and oceans.

Canada could provide Vietnam with the raw materials needed for clean technologies, energy for the transition like liquefied natural gas and financing for energy projects, Joly said.

“And that would be good for the Vietnamese people, it would be good for Canadians too. Because climate change is impacting the entire planet, and it’s important that we focus on this priority together.”