In recent years cooperation between Vietnam and the United Kingdom has flourished.
Foreign Office Minister for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field, who is on a visit to Vietnam this week for the Vietnam-UK Strategic Dialogue this week, said the UK wants to continue work with Vietnam to support economic development and increase quality of life through promoting renewable energy and green finance, developing smart cities and more research and innovation.
He hopes for deeper and broader cooperation under Strategic Partnership in the following op-ed:
Six months ago, I was proud to take over as the UK Government’s Minister for Asia and the Pacific. It’s an exciting time to be dealing with Asia. Confidence and optimism is high, nowhere more so than here in Vietnam.
While I’ve visited Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang before, this week I’m paying my first visit as a UK Minister to take part in the UK-Vietnam Strategic Dialogue. For those who aren’t familiar with how a strategic dialogue works, it’s an opportunity for the UK and Vietnam to assess how our cooperation is progressing, what difference we are making and to agree where we need to do more. Fundamentally, diplomacy and international relationships should always seek to make peoples’ lives better.
In recent years our bilateral cooperation has flourished. The UK and Vietnam share a growing defence relationship including, for the first time, resident Defence Attachés. In addition, we welcome Vietnam’s efforts to reduce corruption and improve the business environment. We want to continue our work with Vietnam to support economic development and increase quality of life through promoting renewable energy and green finance, developing smart cities and more research and innovation.
We are also working together to tackle global challenges such as cooperation on UN peacekeeping operations, tackling human trafficking and the illegal wildlife trade. In particular, our work together on human trafficking and modern slavery is growing and vitally important to stopping one of the biggest sources of injustice in our world that impacts millions including many in Vietnam.
At the heart of all we do is the need to protect our citizens and help deliver prosperity. Bilateral trade is growing; more than doubling since we signed the Strategic Partnership. This is good but needs to be maintained and so we will also be talking about implementing the EU-Vietnam free trade agreement as well as ensuring that UK trade and investment with Vietnam is strong and free after the UK leaves the European Union.
We will also talk about the great challenges that the world faces and how we think they should be addressed. Whether it is climate change, promoting free trade, protecting human rights around the world, protecting the rules based international system or ensuring peace and stability, they cannot be solved by any one or two countries alone.
History has dictated that the UK and Vietnam relationship is a relatively young one, but we have achieved a lot in that time. This year marks 25 years since the British Council opened its offices in Vietnam as part of building relations through culture and education. And it also marks 45 years since the UK and Vietnam initiated Ambassadorial relations. We will be celebrating this in Vietnam throughout 2018 with a strong focus on education, creativity and innovation. The aim is to bring together a wide range of people and talents and to celebrate the best of what the UK and Vietnam has to offer. I hope many of you will get involved.
I’m looking forward to my visit and the talks we will have. But, when I leave, I hope those talks will help to fuel the energy and creativity of those involved in public and well as government diplomacy. If this happens, 2018 will be a year where the UK-Vietnam bilateral relationship positively impacts people’s lives in Vietnam, in Asia and the world at large.