VN, UK establish strategic partnership

Vietnam and Britain has elevated their bilateral relationship to the highest level by signing a joint declaration on the establishment of the two countries’ strategic partnership.

The signing ceremony was held on September 8 in London on the first day of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem’s official visit to the UK, at the invitation of his counterpart, Foreign Secretary William Hague.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague (L) meets with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Gia Khiem on September 8 (Photo: Vietnam News Agency)

This strategic partnership, which is established in recognition of the rapid intensification of the two countries’ ties since March 2008 when Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung visited Britain, will provide a framework to develop the bilateral relationship in a comprehensive way, in particular for strengthening and deepening cooperation in key areas.

These include the political-diplomatic cooperation; global and regional issues; trade and investment; sustainable socio-economic development; education and training; security and defense and people to people links.

The joint declaration says the two sides will promote regular meetings and dialogue between leaders of both countries, enhance parliamentary cooperation and establish the biennial strategic dialogue to review the bilateral ties.

The two sides welcome an intensification of links between the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and British political parties, as well as between the CPV agencies and the UK government agencies, academic and strategic policy institutions.

For global and regional issues, the declaration states that Vietnam and the UK commit to a closer coordination in multilateral fora, including the United Nations, ASEM, ASEAN-EU and the WTO. This will include exchanges of views in the areas of climate change and promoting a low carbon economy; conservation and environmental protection; attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

In trade and investment area, both sides recognize that commitment to free trade and open markets plays an increasingly important part in ensuring continued global development and further intensification of the UK-Vietnam relationship for mutual benefit.

The UK continues to support Vietnam in enhancing economic and trade ties with the EU. The UK commits to support the EU’s early recognition of Vietnam’s market economy status subject to it meeting the established EU criteria. Both sides will work to explore ways and means toward a possible negotiation of a WTO-compatible Free Trade Agreement between Vietnam and the EU.

Both sides will continue to encourage each other’s investment and trade. The UK welcomes Vietnam’s intention to expand its investment and to increase its exports in the UK market, in particular the footwear, garments and textiles, wooden, agricultural and aquatic products. Vietnam likewise encourages more UK exports to Vietnam.

The UK will look to consolidate its position as Vietnam’s number one overseas investor in financial services, and increase UK trade and investment in other key sectors including insurance services, banking, energy, real estate, retail, telecoms, IT and creative industries in the Vietnamese market.

Both sides recognize the potential for the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) model in financing infrastructure development.

Both sides will make efforts to increase two-way trade volume to 4 billion USD and UK’s foreign directed investment (FDI) in Vietnam to 3 billion USD by 2013.

The UK welcomes and highly appreciates Vietnam’s achievements on the reduction in poverty and fulfillment of MDGs where Vietnam is leading by example.

In the context of the 2006-2015 Development Partnership Arrangement between the Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam and the Department for International Development of the UK, the UK will support Vietnam in tackling remaining poverty challenges and achieving the Millennium Development Goals, focusing particularly on primary education, HIV/AIDS and sanitation, as well as on climate change.

Both sides welcome the existing educational links between Vietnam and commit to reinforcing them, according to the declaration.

The UK commits to supporting the education reform strategies of the Government of Vietnam in the areas of primary, higher and further education. Development assistance will support efforts to improve access to, and quality of, primary education in poor and disadvantaged communities.

Both sides commit to the development of a state university in Da Nang which meets international standards in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed earlier in 2010. In this regard, the UK reiterates the readiness of the British Council and a consortium of top class UK universities to provide academic input, and to undertake a feasibility study on the project. Both sides welcome the opening of the British University in Hanoi.

The UK commits to supporting efforts to increase English language proficiency, through support for English teacher development and Vietnam’s 2020 English language strategy.

For security and defense, both sides commit to increase exchanges of delegations at ministerial and senior officials’ level in order to further enhance bilateral cooperation on various issues of common interest.

Both sides will look to enhance cooperation in the area of serious and organized crime, such as immigration crime (both human trafficking and people smuggling), money laundering, drugs, e-crime, wild-life/conservation crime. Both sides will ensure the successful operation of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty on criminal matters, the Prisoner Transfer Agreement, Memorandums of Understanding and related agreements on migration and combating and preventing organized crimes.

Both sides decide to help create conditions to promote a greater understanding between the peoples of both countries.

They will encourage networks to consolidate links and collaboration in the fields of art and culture, sport, the media, scientific research and tourism. Both sides welcome efforts to promote Vietnamese and UK art, culture and tourism in each country, including holding of exhibitions, culture performance, tourism fairs.

The UK and Vietnam value the contribution of the Vietnamese community in the UK to the social and economic development of the two countries. They commit to a regular dialogue with the representatives of the community to foster cooperation and greater understanding.

Earlier, in talks held with Foreign Secretary William Hague, Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem informed the latter of achievements Vietnam harvested after 25 years of renewal. Khiem also briefed Hague on the recent socio-economic development such as a positive economic growth, stable macro economic and social security despite the impact of the world financial crisis.

Deputy PM Khiem invited Foreign Secretary William Hague to pay an official visit Vietnam and the invitation was accepted.
 
Khiem will conclude his 5-day visit to the UK on September 12 before he leaves for Germany.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

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