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UK-Vietnam strategic dialogue

Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne and Vice Minister Nguyen Thanh Son conducted the 2nd UK- Vietnam Strategic Dialogue on 5 July in Hanoi

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Text of the Communique:

Implementing the UK - Viet Nam Strategic Partnership Agreement and Action Plan 2012, FCO Minister of State Jeremy Browne and MOFA Vice Minister Nguyen Thanh Son conducted the 2nd UK - Viet Nam Strategic Dialogue on 5 July 2012 in Hanoi. The two Vice Ministers were accompanied by senior officials from the UK Foreign Office, the UK Ministry of Defence, the UK Serious and Organised Crime Agency and the Vietnamese Ministries of Foreign Affairs, National Defence and Public Security. The Strategic Dialogue covered global and regional security, cooperation on organised crime, counter terrorism and defence. The Dialogue reflected the continued cooperation between the UK and Viet Nam and built upon the success of the 1st Dialogue held in London in October last year.

On global and regional security, Minister of State Jeremy Browne noted the important and growing role that ASEAN and other ASEAN-led regional mechanisms had to play and welcomed the designation of Vice Minister Le Luong Minh as ASEAN Secretary General in 2013. The two sides discussed recent developments in Burma/Myanmar and the Korean peninsula as well as the situation in the South China Sea/East Sea. Both sides expressed their concerns over the recent tensions in the South China Sea/East Sea and acknowledged that the maintenance of peace, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea/East Sea is in the common interests of the international community. They underlined their shared position that territorial disputes in the South China Sea/East Sea should be resolved peacefully, in line with international law, including as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982. The two sides reaffirmed the importance of the 2002 ASEAN - China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea/East Sea and welcomed a continued progress towards a Code of Conduct that creates a rules-based framework for managing and regulating the conduct of parties in the South China Sea/East Sea, including managing disputes and preventing conflicts. The two sides also exchanged understandings on broader geopolitical dynamics of economic power and security as well as current issues of global concern including Syria.

On organised crime and counter terrorism, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to working together to counter these global threats and the UK announced the deployment of a liaison officer from the Serious Organised Crime Agency to Viet Nam in 2013. The UK welcomed the participation of Vietnam in the London Cyber Conference in November 2011. Other forms of organised crime including human trafficking, cyber crime and money laundering were also discussed, with both Vice Ministers welcoming the existing cooperation between their two countries and looking forward to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on immigration information exchange. Jeremy Browne extended an invitation to the leader of the Ministry of Public Security to visit the UK after the Olympics to enhance the relationship in this field and in other areas of organised crime.

On defence, the two sides looked forward to the visit to Viet Nam the following week of Lord Astor of Hever the UK Under Secretary of State for Defence. Looking back on progress over the last year they welcomed the signing of the MOU on defence relations in 2011, the recent visit of the Royal College of Defence Studies to Viet Nam and the establishment of a new working group on Defence soon. Viet Nam also thanked the UK for its support for English language training for military officers and other peace support training in line with Viet Nam’s potential future contribution to UN Peacekeeping Operations. Counter-proliferation and other non-traditional security challenges including climate change and maritime security were also discussed. In particular the two sides recalled with satisfaction their cooperation in negotiations towards an Arms Trade Treaty and on international initiatives such as the Nuclear Security Summit where Viet Nam had associated itself with the UK paper on Nuclear Information Security. They reiterated the importance of preventing nuclear material and know-how falling into the hands of terrorists and updated each other on discussions in multilateral fora including ASEAN and the EU on this issue. They also looked forward to further cooperation on civil nuclear development, following the World Nuclear Power Briefing held in Hanoi in January and the visit of the Vice Minister MOET to the UK in March 2012 to discuss vocational and postgraduate study in the civil nuclear field as part of this visit. In closing, the two Vice Ministers noted with satisfaction significant progress on the Security and Defence pillar since the last Strategic Dialogue and promised to continue to support further progress through their offices and colleagues in the coming months in line with the spirit of the Strategic Partnership Agreement.

At the meeting between Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh and Minister of State Jeremy Browne after the Strategic Dialogue, the two sides noted with pleasure that bilateral relations continue to be strengthened and broadened in the seven areas of the Strategic Partnership Agreement. They looked back with satisfaction to the visit to the UK of the Chairman of the National Assembly Nguyen Sinh Hung in December 2011 and the recent visit to Viet Nam by Foreign Secretary William Hague in April 2012. Following separate visits of the UK Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary to South East Asia in April and in anticipation of UK accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation the following week, Jeremy Browne updated on the steps the UK was taking in order to broaden and deepen its relations with Asia region and Viet Nam. Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh noted that despite global economic difficulties, Viet Nam remained committed to a more proactive and comprehensive international integration policy. Taking international and domestic factors into account, the UK would consider Viet Nam’ s candidature for membership of the UN Human Rights Council 2014 - 2016 while continuing to cooperate further with Viet Nam in this area. The UK also underlined its commitment to further support work in Viet Nam on good governance, education, and in the fight against corruption. The situation in the Eurozone was also discussed in the meeting. In order to further enhance the bilateral Strategic Partnership, the two sides agreed to mark their 40 years of diplomatic relations in 2013 with appropriate celebration. In this context, Viet Nam reiterated PM Nguyen Tan Dung’s invitation to PM David Cameron to make an official visit to Viet Nam in 2013.

Published 5 July 2012