Senior officials from Vietnam and the United Kingdom have applauded the growth of bilateral relations between the two nations, particularly in the last few years.

At a September 5 ceremony held in London to celebrate Vietnam ’s 68 th National Day and the 40th anniversary of its diplomatic relations with the UK , diplomats declared they would not rest on their laurels, and committed to strengthening the relationship even further in the time to come.

In his opening address, Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Vu Quang Minh stated that the Vietnam-UK friendship is based on a strong foundation of historical, cultural and human values. He made clear his expectation that their ties will grow steadily in the next 40 years and beyond.

Prince Andrew, Duke of York, said that Vietnam is a special country with whom the UK needs to develop a special relationship. He said British businesses are now leading in financial investments in Vietnam while education is a key focus, with around 8,000 Vietnamese students studying at universities in the UK , far more than in any other country in Europe .

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence, Lord Astor of Hever, who last year visited Vietnam , also said that bilateral ties should be boosted.

“There is no doubt that we are in what will be the Asian Century. This is something that Her Majesty’s Government recognises and which has been reflected in what my Foreign Office colleagues describe as a “network shift” of diplomatic effort into Asia . This shift reflects the increasing importance that Britain places on this region,” he said.

“Our developing relationship with Vietnam , a significant and important country in the region, contributes materially to this,” he said, adding “I am keen to see that this relationship includes a defence and security relationship; not least because we recognise Vietnam as a significant security actor in the region.”

Lord Astor stated he was looking forward to a new defence section being established in Hanoi by the end of this year. He said a first resident defence attaché would be in post from November and his appointment would make tremendous difference to the speed at which the countries’ defence relationship develops.

About 800 participants attended the ceremony, including representatives from various bodies of the British government, city of London, friendship organisations, ambassadors from diplomatic missions based in London and members of the Vietnamese community.-VNA