UK Minister for Asia, Hugo Swire and Vietnam’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son held the fourth UK- Vietnam Strategic Dialogue in Hanoi on 27 February 2015 under the framework of the UK-Vietnam Strategic Partnership.
The Strategic Dialogue discussed issues such as trade and prosperity, defence, organised crime and illegal migration, as well as developing cooperation on defence, education, science and innovation.
The Strategic Dialogue was also an opportunity for the UK and Vietnam to share views on global challenges such as ISIL, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Ebola and the illegal wildlife trade.
A joint communiqué was released at the end of the Strategic Dialogue. Following is the full text of the joint communiqué:
Joint communiqué on 4th UK-Vietnam Strategic Dialogue.
Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son and FCO Minister of State Hugo Swire held the fourth UK-Vietnam Strategic Dialogue on 27 February 2015 in Hanoi, Vietnam, under the bilateral Strategic Partnership. The Dialogue covered issues relating to international economic integration, security, defence, and global developments.
The Ministers welcomed the deepening of bilateral relations, and noted the increasing number and range of visits and exchanges between the two countries. Both sides valued highly the co-operation between Vietnam and the UK in multilateral fora and international organisations, including the UN, ASEM and ASEAN-EU.
On economic integration, both sides reiterated their commitment to an early conclusion of an ambitious and comprehensive free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU, opening up substantial new opportunities for businesses in both countries. The UK recognised Vietnam’s rapid progress on its international integration agenda, and noted its ongoing efforts towards achieving market economy status. They also looked forward to the eighth UK-Vietnam Joint Trade Committee meeting the following week in London, which would discuss further ways to continue to increase trade and investment in both directions.
In recognition of the remarkable progress Vietnam has made towards the Millennium Development Goals, it was noted that the UK’s bilateral aid programme will come to an end by March 2016, though there was welcome for the UK’s continuing support via the EU, as well as through multilateral organisations such as the World Bank and the United Nations. The Vietnamese side commended the significant contribution by the UK to poverty reduction and sustainable development in Vietnam. Both governments noted the value of lessons-learnt from this twenty-year development partnership in contributing to the shaping of Vietnam’s social policy in the future, and continued upward socio-economic trajectory.
The UK and Vietnam confirmed their commitment to co-operation to deliver the Vietnamese Government’s education reform agenda. They noted the positive steps that had been made through sharing of best practice in key areas such as the new National Qualifications Framework for Further and Higher Education, and quality assurance for Vocational Colleges. They looked forward to further co-operation in areas including English language teaching, assessment and curriculum development. They welcomed the opening of the Vietnam-UK Research Institute with a view to promoting international-standard post graduate research, and restated their commitment to ensuring that it has a firm financial base, supported by both countries. They acknowledged the benefits offered by UK education providers in Vietnam, and agreed that they required a fair and transparent regulatory framework under which to operate.
Both sides welcomed progress on the Newton Fund Vietnam, a new partnership programme for bilateral co-operation in research and innovation, and underlined their determination to sign a Memorandum of Understanding by the end of March 2015 that would provide a clear framework for this work. Both sides agreed to continue co-operation in adapting to climate change, and also to work together in the run-up to the COP 21 in Paris, where both sides underlined the importance of achieving an ambitious agreement that is in conformity with the principles of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UK confirmed its intention to submit ambitious and timely Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, and encouraged Vietnam to take a similar approach. Vietnam appreciated the UK’s support in the development and launch of the 2050 Calculator for Vietnam.
The two sides highlighted civil nuclear energy as a core area for co-operation, building on progress already made, and committed to continuing close dialogue on this issue.
Vietnam also welcomed the contribution of the UK as the lead donor on anti-corruption and wished to continue cooperation on this issue.
Looking at the global and regional situation, the two sides discussed recent developments in the Middle East, Europe and Asia, as well as regional issues. Both sides shared the view that the maintenance of peace, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation in the region is in the common interest of the international community. They underlined their shared position that territorial disputes in the region should be resolved peacefully, in line with international law.
The Ministers noted with appreciation the deepening defence dialogue that aimed to further bilateral initiatives including defence industry and maritime/naval co-operation. They welcomed the bilateral Defence Working Group meetings, the most recent of which was held in January 2015.
The UK underlined its appreciation of Vietnam’s deployment of two liaison and staff officers to UN peacekeeping missions. The UK also welcomed Vietnam’s commitment to mainstream the prevention of sexual violence into its curriculum at its planned Peacekeeping Centre.
The UK and Vietnam reiterated their determination to implement the Commitments from the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London. Vietnam remained committed to working in the international arena to tackle illegal wildlife trade issues. The UK warmly welcomed this.
Both sides welcomed the existing strong relationship on organised crime across all shared priority areas, and committed to continue effective operational co-operation, capacity-building and information sharing on criminality such as modern slavery, cyber crime, money laundering, child exploitation, illegal immigration and organised immigration crime threats such as human trafficking and people smuggling.
The UK and Vietnam discussed the promotion and protection of human rights in a frank and constructive manner, noting areas for co-operation.
The two sides welcomed the constructive discussions, and noted that they would agree a joint Action Plan for 2015 soon. On this occasion, the two sides also signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Employment of Members of the Family of Members of Diplomatic Missions, Consular Posts and Permanent Missions.