The Department of Defence has presented the Vietnamese Deputy Minister for Defence, Senior Lieutenant General Le Chiem, with a digital database of missing in action data as part of the ongoing co-operation between the two nations.
Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said Australia understands the importance of honouring those who have died in war.
“The recovery of war remains has been an important area of defence co-operation between Australia and Vietnam,” Minister Chester said.
“The Vietnam War was the longest 20th century conflict in which Australians participated, involving some 60,000 personnel, of which 3,000 were wounded and 521 were killed.
“However, the scale of Vietnamese losses on both sides of the war was enormous. Around 4 million Vietnamese civilians were killed or wounded, about 224,000 South Vietnamese military personnel were killed, more than 1 million on the North Vietnamese side were killed and more than 300,000 were declared missing in action.
“This digital database compiled by the Australian Centre for the Study of Armed Conflict and Society at the University of New South Wales, will provide the Vietnamese with the tools and information required to continue to search for their missing in action.”
Defence is funding the delivery of a face-to-face training package on the database, with the University of New South Wales to conduct.
The government noted that Senior Lieutenant General Chiem’s visit to Canberra, and Australian support of this important initiative, are further examples of the growing strength of the Australia–Vietnam relationship following Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s visit to Hanoi in August.