Foreign Office Minister of State Hugo Swire and Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son co-chaired the fifth UK-Vietnam Strategic Dialogue on 7 March 2016 in London as part of the bilateral Strategic Partnership signed in 2010.
The Dialogue is a chance to evaluate the common goals of our bilateral relationship and make recommendations for strengthening the strategic partnership in priority areas such as politics, diplomacy, trade and investment, education, training, security and defence.
Both sides welcomed official visit to Vietnam by Prime Minister David Cameron and the strengthening of the strategic partnership. They agreed to continue visits and delegation exchanges between the two countries. Vietnam has been proactively pushing forward its international integration; and the UK continues to enhance its relationship with Vietnam and South East Asia.
The UK and Vietnam committed to increase cooperation in the multilateral fora and in international organisations, including the United Nations, ASEM, EU-ASEAN, especially on issues such as international law, climate change and sustainable development. Vice Minister Bui Thanh Son welcomed the UK’s contribution to the preservation of peace, collaboration and development in the region.
With regard to economic cooperation, both sides weclomed the impressive bilateral trade and investment in 2015, during which bilateral trade reached $5.4 billion USD in 2015, an increase of 25% compared to 2014. UK investment into Vietnam reached $4.7 billion USD, ranking second among EU member states . Both sides agreed to continue cooperation in economics, trade and investment; enabling companies from both countries to access investment and business market potential in each country. The two sides reiterated their support for the signing and ratification of EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and realising the opportunities this offered. Vietnam welcomed the launch of the new Prosperity Fund.
Both parties emphasised the importance of education and training - one of the priority areas in the Strategic Partnership. The two sides agreed to continue close partnership to increase education effectiveness through activities such as: implementing the Vietnam-UK Institute for Research and Executive Education; foster the establishment of the Vietnam National Testing Center, to collaborate towards enhancing skills development and quality assurance; and improve implementation of the Newton Fund. Both sides acknowledged the contribution from UK education providers, including the British Council, and agreed to establish the relevant framework of operations for these organisations.
Both sides welcomed the positive progress in defence cooperation, especially after the establishment of respective Defence Attaché Offices in Hanoi and London; and agreed to continue defence cooperation on training, defence industry, maintain maritime peace and security.
On security, both sides welcomed the close collaboration in information sharing, technical assistance in preventing organised crime; committed to collaborating in tackling high-tech crime, cyber security, money laundering and tackling illegal migration and human trafficking.
On international and regional issues, the two sides discussed the recent developments in the Middle East, and regional issues in Europe and Asia as well as current situation in the South China Sea. Both sides shared the view that the maintenance of peace, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation in the region is the common interest of the international community. Both sides underlined their shared position that territorial disputes in the region should be solved peacefully, in line with the international law. The UK reaffirmed its position in accordance with the Vietnam – EU Joint Declaration on the South China Sea and between ASEAN-EU Joint Declaration on the South China Sea.
Discussions were conducted in an atmosphere of constructive and mutual understanding, with the aim of achieving shared goals and enhancing the bilateral relationship.