NA Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong (3rd R), Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Eleanor Laing(4th R) and Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups George Howard (5th R) pose for a photo (Source: VNA) 
London (VNA) – National Assembly Vice Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong has called for the support of British parliamentarians so that the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement will soon be approved by the UK, thus creating a new impetus for economic links between Vietnam and the EU, as well as with the UK.

Meeting with Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Eleanor Laing and Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) George Howard on January 1 as part of her working visit to the UK, Phong appealed to the UK to help Vietnam improve parliamentary skills for young Vietnamese legislators.

Vietnam wishes that the two countries will support each other at multilateral forums like the Asia-Europe Meeting and the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU), she said.

The guest used the occasion to thank the UK Government for providing official development assistance (ODA) for Vietnam over the past years, and called for more aid from the country via the Commonwealth Fund in a bid to improve the local business environment, cope with climate change and develop infrastructure.

She also highlighted substantial potential for cooperation between the two countries in trade, culture, tourism and education.

Regarding the East Sea situation which is of the APPGs’s concern, Phong affirmed Vietnam’s consistent policy of respecting the status quo in the sea, not using or threatening to use force and handling disputes through peaceful negotiations, on the basis of respecting independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and in conformity with international law, particularly the 1982 Convention of the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.

Vietnam considers the combat against saltwater intrusion a national priority, she said, stressing the support of many countries, including the UK, for the country’s efforts in this field.

For her part, Eleanor Laing underscored the significance of legislative ties between the two countries to bilateral relations and pledged more assistance for Vietnam.

Later in the day, Phong met with the staff of the Vietnamese Embassy and overseas Vietnamese in the UK.

During her visit to the UK from May 29-June 3, the NA Vice Chairwoman is scheduled to meet with Duke of York Prince Andrew.-VNA