Viet Nam News -
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam wants close co-operation with the UK Government across the board for their mutual benefit as well as for regional and global peace and prosperity, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc told UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond at a meeting in Hà Nội yesterday.
The PM welcomed the visit by the top UK diplomat which follows the successful visit by Prime Minister David Cameron in May 2015.He expressed his pleasure at the sound and intensive cooperation between the two countries that is based on a bilateral strategic partnership.
Two-way trade has seen positive strides to top US$5.4 billion in 2015, however, this has yet to be on par with bilateral potential and desire, he said. Underlining benefits from the conclusion of negotiations on the Việt Nam - EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the PM said he hoped UK businesses would inject more investments into Việt Nam in the fields of their strength such as finance, banking, infrastructure development, insurance, science and technology.
He also proposed the UK Government step up the official signing and ratification of the EVFTA to actualise the pact’s benefits and contribute to deepening the relations between Việt Nam and the EU, including the UK. He suggested potential realms for future cooperation and called on the UK Government to continue support for high-quality human resources and English teaching in Việt Nam, while creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese students to study in the UK.
The Government leader hailed the statement at the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, pertaining to the East Sea issue for the common goal of ensuring navigation and aviation safety and avoiding actions that raise tensions in the region and run counter with international law.
He asked the UK Government to pay more attention to and persuade the EU to have a stronger voice in requesting China to respect international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as well as settle any disputes via peaceful means, without use of force or threats to use force, and end any actions to change the status quo of the East Sea.
It was imperative to stop the reclamation and construction of artificial islands and militarisation in the East Sea, while implementing earnestly and fully the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and forge ahead with negotiations to build a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), he said.
The UK Foreign Secretary also took the opportunity to congratulate Nguyễn Xuân Phúc on his election as new Prime Minister.
He told the host that the UK was ranked second among EU countries in investment in Việt Nam, saying the signing of the EVFTA would facilitate comprehensive cooperation between the two nations in the future.
He underlined prioritising fields for bilateral collaboration and said that with its strength in finance and technology, the UK was likely to become the EU’s biggest investor in Việt Nam, through cooperative activities that help the Southeast Asian country shift from a business manufacturing economy to a knowledge-based one providing high-quality services.
The two countries could coordinate to cope with challenges in economic development such as anti-corruption and public administrative management, he said.
The diplomat revealed that the UK Government had a standby financial resource of around 500 million pounds (US$712.9 million) for exports, which could help UK businesses invest in Việt Nam and he expressed his hope that Việt Nam would make the best use of this financial opportunity.
The UK was also willing to cooperate with Việt Nam in climate change adaptation as well as in tackling the illegal wildlife trade, he said.
He agreed with the Vietnamese PM’s suggestion to boost bilateral affiliation in education, training, and science and technology, adding that he hoped the Vietnamese Government would further simplify administrative procedures in the aforesaid fields to attract investment from the UK.
He also reiterated the statement of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hiroshima on the East Sea issue, which stressed the support for ASEAN to look towards building a Code of Conduct to ensure navigation and aviation freedom, and he hoped the involved parties could peacefully resolve any disputes in line with international law.
Foreign Minister talks
On the same day, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond held talks with Vietnamese Foreign Minister-cum-Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh.
The two sides expressed delight at the positive development of the Việt Nam-UK strategic partnership and agreed on measures to promote the strategic partnership in various fields including politics, security and national defence, trade-commerce-investment, education and training, science-technology, the environment and climate change.
The two sides agreed to increase exchanges of delegations at all levels and affirmed that co-operation in economy, trade and investment is a priority pillar in the two countries’ relations. They agreed to create favourable conditions for businesses of the two countries to get access to markets, increase investment and business in each country, and to maximize advantages and business and investment opportunities brought in by the Việt Nam-UK Free Trade Agreement after it was approved.
The two sides agreed to expanded co-operation in vocational training to help develop the qualified human resources of Việt Nam.
Apart from bilateral co-operation, the two sides also discussed regional and international issues of common concern. They agreed to continue co-operating and supporting each other at multi-national forums, particularly the UN, ASEM and ASEAN-EU.
The two sides shared views on opportunities and challenges facing the Asia-Pacific region, including the East Sea issue. They agreed that all disputes needed to be settled via peaceful means, without any actions worsening the situation and without use of force or threats to use force, respecting international laws, including the 1982 UNCLOS, the DOC and COC. — VNS