Press Release

Party General Secretary affirms importance of UK relationship

LONDON (VNS) — Viet Nam sees the UK as its leading European partner and will continue to prioritize the country in foreign policy, said Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong while meeting with Crown Prince Charles in London on Wednesday during his official visit to the country.

Prince Charles said the visit, which took place as the two countries celebrated their 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties, would create strong momentum for future relations between the two countries.

The two sides expressed their pleasure with their developing relations and suggested that they increase the exchange of high-level delegations, promote cooperation in economics, trade and investment and create favourable conditions for businesses from both sides.

They also agreed on more bilateral cooperation in education-training, culture and tourism in the future.

The Prince expressed his wish to strengthen cooperation with Viet Nam in agricultural production, seafood exploitation and forestry development and help the nation protect its environment and wildlife. He accepted Trong's invitation to visit Viet Nam.

On the same day, Trong attended an informal party with UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, during which they discussed practical ways to boost bilateral ties.

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and other officials accompanying the Party leader also had a discussion with the UK-Viet Nam Friendship Parliamentarians' Group on Viet Nam's renewal process.

The delegation went on to attend the opening ceremony of a UK House of Commons session and heard Prime Minister David Cameron speak to the House.

The same day, Deputy PM Phuc and the Vietnamese delegation met Roger Gifford, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, and UK business representatives.

The first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) co-operation between the two countries was inked the same day.

The same day, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh met with Hugo Swire, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to discuss issues of common concern.

Joint statement

Earlier Viet Nam and the UK issued a Joint Statement highlighting their intention to work together to inspire, learn, and innovate in order to fully develop the potential of their two peoples.

Both sides agreed to enhance high-level visits as one way to deliver on the objectives of the Strategic Partnership 2013 Action Plan.

The Party General Secretary extended official invitation to the Prime Minister to visit Viet Nam and the latter expressed his willingness to do so.

Both sides welcomed the leading role the CPV would take on anti-corruption, on which the UK is the lead donor partner in Viet Nam , and undertook to work closely together on this agenda. Both sides agreed to work further on co-operation on media issues.

They agreed to strengthen cooperation and coordination at regional and international fora, stressed full support for an early ratification of the Viet Nam – EU Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and the UK reaffirmed its support for efforts aimed at building the ASE AN Community by 2015 and ASEAN's centrality in the evolving East Asian regional architecture. As the coordinating country for ASEAN – EU relations from 2012 to 2015, Viet Nam reaffirmed its commitment to promoting ASEAN – EU relations in general and ASEAN – UK relations in particular.

They further supported endeavours to build Southeast Asia into a region of peace, stability, cooperation and friendship; underscored the imperative of ensuring maritime security, safety and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea/East Sea, peaceful settlement of disputes 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 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea/East Sea (DOC) signed in 2002 and welcomed moves towards early conclusion of 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.

They emphasised their continued commitment to achieving the targets of increasing bilateral trade to US $4 billion and British investment in Viet Nam to US$3 billion by 2013. In particular the UK committed to support the process of negotiation and signing of the Viet Nam – EU FTA, and early recognition of the Vietnamese economy's market status while Viet Nam committed to working to further improve its investment environment. Both sides welcomed Rolls-Royce's intention to bid to supply engines for Viet Nam Airlines' fleet of Boeing in 2013.

Viet Nam expressed its appreciation of the UK ‘s Official Development Assistance (ODA) through the Department for International Development (DFID) in preceding years. Both sides agreed to focus on key areas such as helping Viet Nam achieve all the Millennium Development Goals, forge a growth path that benefits the poor and includes PPP , improve governance and tackle and avoid the adverse impacts of climate change.

Both sides noted with pleasure recent closer collaboration on higher and vocational education and the growing defence relationship.

They also looked forward to running a series of events in the two countries that celebrate the rich cultural identity of both nations and the creative opportunities emerging from those exchanges.

They welcomed the signature of important documents during the visit, including the Viet Nam – UK Plan of Action for 2013, an MOU Public Private Partnerships, an agreement on the establishment of the Bilateral Defence Working Group between the two ministries of defence, a MOU on exchange of migration information and a MOU on measures to promote the establishment of the UK-Viet Nam International University in Da Nang. — VNS