Deputy Minister Bui Thanh Son and UK Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne co-chaired the first-ever UK-Vietnam Strategic Dialogue in London on October 26.

The Dialogue, in the framework of a joint declaration on Vietnam-UK strategic partnership signed in September 2010, was attended by representatives from the Vietnamese Ministries of Public Security and National Defence and the UK Ministry of Defence and the Home Office.

Both sides reviewed the results of implementing the joint declaration and discussed ways to boost bilateral cooperation in the near future.

They also focused on bilateral issues, of mutual concern such as defence, organised crime and counter terrorism, as well as regional security.

Regarding regional security, Mr Browne affirmed the increasing role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other ASEAN-led regional mechanisms. He spoke highly of Vietnam’s catalytic as Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2010, adding that the UK is looking looked forward to signing the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.

On the bilateral front, the two sides wished to enhance defence cooperation, including more frequent exchange of delegations and the signing of a memorandum of understanding on national defence cooperation.

They shared their mutual concerns over the existing conflicts as well as emerging threats and discussed international and multilateral responses and discussed ways the two nations could cooperate more closely to minimise threats.

The UK Foreign Office Minster welcomed Vietnam’s future potential contribution to UN Peacekeeping Operations.

Regarding non-proliferation, nuclear security and other non-traditional security challenges, both sides strongly affirmed the importance of countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to global peace and security. They underlined the importance of making tangible progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation to fulfil the commitments set out in the 2010 NPT Action Plan, towards our shared long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

They also reiterated the importance of preventing nuclear material and know-how falling into the hands of terrorists. The UK and Vietnam agreed to cooperate on a range of international initiatives such as the Nuclear Security Summit and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

The Vietnamese side outlined the steps taken to sign and ratify the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. The UK was committed to working with Vietnam to develop civil nuclear capacity in pursuit of the legitimate development of clean energy to support its impressive economic growth.

On international organised crime and counter terrorism, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to working together to counter these global threats. The UK welcomed the participation of Vietnam in the London Cyber conference due to take place in early November.

Both sides also discussed the situation in the East Sea. They acknowledged that the maintenance of peace, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation in the East Sea is in the common interests of the international community. The UK was concerned by tensions in this vital global trade artery and expressed its hope that all parties can resolve all territorial disputes in the East Sea peacefully, in line with international law. They reaffirmed the importance of the 2002 ASEAN – China Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea and encouraged the parties to reach an agreement on a code of conduct.

Speaking at a press conference after the dialogue, Deputy Minister Bui Thanh Son emphasised the significance of the dialogue. He underlined what both countries have achieved since the signing of the joint declaration to establish the Vietnam-UK strategic partnership a year ago, especially in exchanging delegations and promoting investment, which is expected to increase by 40 percent in 2011.

Mr Browne expressed his hope that the UK and Vietnam would be able to cooperate more closely in other areas as mentioned in the joint declaration, and that Vietnam’s young and dynamic population and open policies would open up more favourable opportunities for businesses and bring about mutual benefits to both nations.

Source: VOV