Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam wants close cooperation with the UK Government across the board for their mutual benefit as well as for regional and global peace and prosperity, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond at a meeting in Hanoi on April 12.

The PM welcomed the visit by the 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 5.4 billion USD 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 Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the PM said he hopes UK businesses will inject more investments into Vietnam 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 Vietnam and the EU, including the UK.

He suggested potential realms for future cooperation and called on the UK Govenrment to continue support for high-quality human resources and English teaching in Vietnam, 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 is 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 Nguyen Xuan Phuc on his election as new Prime Minister.

He told the host that the UK is ranked second among EU countries in investment in Vietnam, saying the signing of the EVFTA will 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 is likely to become the EU’s biggest investor in Vietnam, 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 has a standby financial resource of around 500 million pounds (712.9 million USD) for exports, which could help UK businesses invest in Vietnam and he expressed his hope that Vietnam will make the best use of this financial opportunity.

The UK is also willing to cooperate with Vietnam 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 hopes the Vietnamese Government will 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 stresses the support for ASEAN to look towards building a Code of Conduct to ensure navigation and aviation freedom, and he hoped the involved parties can peacefully resolve any disputes in line with international law.-VNA