The first Southeast Asia forum to further promote cooperation between the UK and ASEAN member nations took place in London on March 5.

Addressing the opening of the quarterly event, Vietnamese Ambassador Vu Quang Minh said the forum took place when the UK’s development strategy and diplomatic policy are heading towards the East, focusing on Asia in general and ASEAN members in particular.

Host Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire said he hoped the forum will help deepen the partnership and mutual understanding between his country and ASEAN nations through regular meetings, conferences and fact-finding tours.

He highlighted Southeast Asia’s attraction for the UK because of its geo-political importance, economic growth potential and its location in the center of the regional growing trade network.

The UK diplomat spoke of potentials for both sides’ cooperation in economics, security and international issues.

Talking with the Vietnam News Agency in the UK, Swire confirmed his country’s wish to develop its cooperation with ASEAN countries.

The UK exported more to ASEAN countries than to Japan and India , he noted, emphasizing the importance of stability in the region, particularly for countries wishing to invest in the region.-VNA