Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague have agreed to further strengthen the two countries’ strategic partnership in the 2011-2015 period to fully tap their potential.
During the April 25 talks in Hanoi, the diplomats discussed international cooperation issues of mutual concern in a frank and open manner.
They expressed their delight at the significant development of bilateral relations, especially since Vietnam and the UK established the strategic partnership in 2010, with two-way trade increasing by 30 percent in 2011.
Economics and education will be given priority in bilateral cooperation, they said. There are now more than 7,000 Vietnamese students studying in the UK, while universities from the two countries are seeking opportunities to promote cooperation through corporate training programs.
FM Minh proposed that both countries consolidate their cooperation mechanisms, including strategic dialogue, and create the best possible conditions for their businesses to penetrate each other’s markets, aiming to increase two-way trade to US$4 billion and UK investment in Vietnam to US$3 billion in 2013.
Secretary Hague reaffirmed the UK’s foreign policy of prioritizing relations with Vietnam in the Asia-Pacific region.
At a press briefing after the talks, Hague said the UK respects ties with Asian nations, including Vietnam, and is committed to expanding cooperation with the Southeast Asian country in education, investment, climate change prevention, human rights, and multilateral diplomacy.
** Earlier the same day, the UK diplomat was received by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung who proposed that Vietnam and the UK effectively implement the strategic partnership joint action plan, for mutual benefit and for the sake of peace and development in the region and the world.
Mr Dung highlighted the development of the bilateral strategic partnership in all fields, especially economics, trade, and investment, and said the two countries should promote the exchange of high-ranking delegations and strengthen ties to fully tap their huge potential.
The government leader expressed his thanks for the UK’s commitment to provide Vietnam with more ODA and said Vietnam will make the best use of this resource, especially for poverty reduction.
PM Dung said he hopes the European country will granted Vietnamese students more scholarships and open more international-standard universities in Vietnam.
He also asked Hague to work with Vietnamese ministries and agencies to discuss ways to boost Vietnam-UK strategic partnership and cooperation, as well as settling international and regional issues of mutual concern.
Hague said his visit is aimed at promoting cooperation in economics, trade, investment, education and crime prevention.
The UK government will create the most favourable conditions for its businesses to invest in Vietnam, he said.
The UK is now Vietnam’s leading EU partner, with two-way trade reaching US$3 billion in 2011 and UK investment in Vietnam hitting US$2.5 billion./.