(VOV) - UK Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Jeremy Browne and Foreign Deputy Minister Nguyen Thanh Son conducted the 2nd UK-Vietnam Strategic Dialogue in Hanoi on July 5.
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The dialogue is part of the 2012 Strategic Partnership Agreement and Action Plan between the two nations.
The dialogue covers global and regional security, cooperation on organized crime, counter terrorism and defence. It reflected the continued cooperation between the UK and Vietnam and built upon the success of the first dialogue held in London in October last year.
On global and regional security, Minister of State Jeremy Browne noted the important and growing role that ASEAN and ASEAN-led regional mechanisms had to play and welcomed the designation of Deputy Minister Le Luong Minh as ASEAN Secretary General in 2013.
The two sides discussed recent developments in Myanmar and the Korean peninsula as well as the situation in the East Sea. They expressed their concerns over the recent tensions in the East Sea and acknowledged that the maintenance of peace, stability, maritime safety and freedom in the East Sea is in the common interests of the international community.
FCO Minister of State Jeremy Browne and Foreign Deputy Minister Nguyen Thanh Son
They underlined their shared stance that territorial disputes in the East Sea should be resolved peacefully, in line with international law, as reflected in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The two sides reaffirmed the importance of the 2002 ASEAN – China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and welcomed the continued progress towards a Code of Conduct that creates a rules-based framework for managing and regulating the conduct of parties in the East Sea, including handling disputes and preventing conflicts. They also exchanged understandings on broader geopolitical dynamics of economic power and security as well as current issues of global concern, including Syria.
On organized crime and counter terrorism, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to work together to counter these global threats and the UK announced it will deploy a liaison officer from the Serious Organized Crime Agency to Vietnam in 2013. The UK also welcomed Vietnam’s participation in the London Cyber Conference last November. Other forms of organized crime including human trafficking, cyber crime and money laundering were also discussed, with both Vice Ministers appreciating the existing cooperation between their two countries and looking forward to signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on exchanging immigration information. Jeremy Browne extended an invitation to the leader of the Public Security Ministry to visit the UK after the Olympics to enhance the countries’ relationship in this field and other areas of organised crime.
On defence, the two sides looked forward to next week’s Vietnam visit by Lord Astor of Hever, the UK Under Secretary of State for Defence. Looking back on the progress of the last year they welcomed the signing of the MOU on defence relations in 2011, the recent visit of the Royal College of Defence Studies to Vietnam and to establishing a new working group on defence soon. Vietnam also thanked the UK for its English language training support for military officers and other training in line with Vietnam’s potential future contributions to UN Peacekeeping Operations. Counter-proliferation and other non-traditional security challenges such as climate change and maritime security were also discussed.
The two sides recalled with particular satisfaction their cooperation in negotiations towards an Arms Trade Treaty and on international initiatives such as the Nuclear Security Summit where Vietnam associated itself with the UK paper on Nuclear Information Security. They reiterated the importance of preventing nuclear material and know-how from falling into the hands of terrorists and updated each other on discussions in multilateral forums including ASEAN and the EU on this issue. They also looked forward to further cooperation on civil nuclear development, following the World Nuclear Power Briefing held in Hanoi in January and the visit of the Deputy Minister of Education and Training to the UK in March 2012 to discuss vocational and postgraduate study in the civil nuclear power. In closing, the two Vice Ministers noted with satisfaction the significant progress on the Security and Defence pillar since the last Strategic Dialogue and promised to continue supporting further progress through their offices and colleagues in the coming months in line with the spirit of the Strategic Partnership Agreement.
At the meeting between Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Minister of State Jeremy Browne after the dialogue, the two sides noted with pleasure that bilateral relations continue to strengthen and broaden in the seven areas of the Strategic Partnership Agreement. They looked back with satisfaction to the UK visit by National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung in December 2011 as well as Foreign Secretary William Hague’s recent visit to Vietnam in April 2012.
Following separate visits by the UK Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary to Southeast Asia in April and in anticipation of the UK accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation the following week, Jeremy Browne gave an update on the steps the UK was taking to broaden and deepen its relations with Asia and Mr. Minh noted that despite global economic difficulties, Vietnam is still committed to a proactive and comprehensive international integration policy. Taking international and domestic factors into account, the UK would consider Vietnam’s candidacy for membership in the UN Human Rights Council 2014 – 2016 and will continue cooperating further with the country in this area. The UK also underlined its commitment to supporting Vietnam in good governance, education, and in the fight against corruption. The situation in the Eurozone was also discussed during the meeting.
In order to further enhance their bilateral strategic partnership, the two sides agreed to mark the 40 years of their diplomatic relations in 2013 with appropriate celebrations. In this context, Vietnam reiterated PM Nguyen Tan Dung’s invitation to PM David Cameron to make an official visit to Vietnam in 2013.