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Top diplomats of Vietnam, UK hold talks in Hanoi

Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son held talks with the visiting British First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Dominic Raab, in Hanoi on June 22.

Son welcomed Raab once again paying an official visit to Vietnam and directly attending the Asia - Europe Meeting (ASEM) High-level Dialogue in Hanoi, voicing his belief that the trip will provide a new driving force for relations between the two countries.

In reply, Raab affirmed the wish to intensify the strategic partnership and close coordination with Vietnam as the UK is orienting its policy towards the Indo-Pacific region.

The two ministers expressed their delight at the positive strides in bilateral cooperation, especially since 2020, when the countries issued the “Joint Declaration on the Vietnam - UK Strategic Partnership: Forging Ahead for Another 10 Years”, and signed and enforced the UK - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA).

They agreed to soon resume the exchange of delegations and key cooperation mechanisms such as the security - defence strategy dialogue and the joint economic and trade committee (JETCO).

Both host and guest also spoke highly of the thriving economic links despite impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, with bilateral trade hitting 5.6 billion USD in 2020 and the UK’s direct investment in Vietnam reaching 3.92 billion USD at present.

They emphasised the need to capitalise on great opportunities offered by the UKVFTA so as to give a stronger boost to bilateral trade and investment, especially in potential areas like the digital economy, financial services, and renewable energy development, thereby contributing to post-pandemic recovery.

The two sides discussed directions to further bolster bilateral cooperation in the spheres of security - defence, health, development cooperation, education - training, science and technology, as well as expand cooperation between the two foreign ministries.

Son suggested the UK side, in the spirit of the strategic partnership, continue to support Vietnam in accessing COVID-19 vaccine supplies and consider transfering vaccine production technology to Vietnam.

They spoke highly of the Vietnam - UK cooperation at multilateral forums, especially their coordination at the UN Security Council (UNSC) during 2020-2021, when Vietnam serves as a non-permanent member of the UNSC, and within the ASEM framework.

The Vietnamese minister affirmed that he would work closely with the UK side to ensure the success of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) hosted by the UK in November this year.

For his part, Raab thanked Vietnam for supporting the UK in its efforts to secure ASEAN Dialogue Partner status, as well as in negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The two sides also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern, emphasising the importance of ensuring the freedom of navigation and overflight, security and peace in the East Sea, and upholding international law, with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) - the UN “charter of the oceans” considered the legal framework for all activities at sea and ocean.

Following the talks, the two ministers met with Vietnamese diplomats who received the UK's Chevening Scholarships in 2020 - 2021.

Son thanked the British Government for providing scholarships for and helping Vietnam train high-quality human resources, including diplomats, over the past three decades./.