Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Sunday (October 31) met Vietnam's leading party and government officials in her first bilateral visit to Vietnam.
The meetings with Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, President Nguyen Minh Triet and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung followed the fifth East Asia Summit which closed in Hanoi the previous day.
An Australia-Vietnam Plan of Action was signed following the meeting to strengthen the countries' relations in defense, security and trade.
Gillard announced an aid of US$160 million for designing and constructing two bridges across major tributaries of the Mekong River, Tien and Hau rivers, to improve the delta's transport infrastructure.
"Vietnam is becoming one of Australia's most important and valued partners in the Asia Pacific region. Our trade relations are significant and growing, our defense and security links are improving and our educational partnership continues to strengthen," the Australian Embassy said in a Monday press release.