Deputy Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn speaks at Việt Nam’s international integration delivered at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London on Monday. — VNA/VNS Photo Do Sinh
LONDON (VNS) — International integration is a consistent focus of Việt Nam’s foreign policy at present and will continue to be in the coming years, Deputy Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn said.
In his speech on Việt Nam’s international integration delivered at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London on Monday on the occasion of his participation in the 5th Việt Nam-UK Strategic Partnership Dialogue, Sơn said international integration is the next step of the Renewal (Đổi Mới) process, which was a turning point for Việt Nam’s development orientation over the last 30 years.
According to the Deputy FM, Việt Nam has set up strategic partnerships with 15 countries, and comprehensive partnerships with 10 others. The country is also an active and responsible member with practical contributions to the international community, especially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM), the United Nations Human Rights Council and Security Council. The country signed 11 free trade agreements (FTAs) with its partners, including five that were completed last year.
In its international integration and market-opening process, Việt Nam always attaches importance to the role played by the UK and hopes for all-around co-operation with the country, Sơn stressed.
The UK is now one of Việt Nam’s leading trade partners within the European Union. Two-way trade increased to $5.4 billion in 2015, from $1.7 billion five years earlier. UK investors poured $4.6 billion into 216 projects in Việt Nam in the five-year period.
In the coming period, both sides will work to realise priorities agreed upon by their leaders during UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Việt Nam in July last year. The goals will focus on links in political strategy, defence and security, trade and investment, development, education and training, culture, science and technology, and labour, he noted.
The Vietnamese official called on UK investors to take more actions to take full advantage of opportunities in Việt Nam’s integration process, especially when the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement are approved and take effect.
During his talks, Son also answered questions on Việt Nam’s contributions to the UN’s peacekeeping activities and East Sea-related issues. He said he hoped the UK would continue to make more contributions to maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea, including promoting the settlement of disputes through peaceful measures in line with international law.
On the same day, the Deputy Foreign Minister had a meeting with representatives from the Việt Nam-UK Network, at which time he expressed his gratitude to British officials for their efforts to deepen bilateral relations. — VNS