Vietnam wants to further the development of its relations with the UK which will benefit both sides, affirmed Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

PM Dung made this statement at a reception given to newly accredited UK Ambassador Antony Stokes in Hanoi on March 3.

He welcomed Stokes’ assumption of ambassadorship when the two countries are enjoying positive progress in education, culture, trade, politics, diplomacy and other fields and striving to bring their relationship to a strategic partnership level.

He asked Stokes to work closely with Vietnam’s relevant agencies to promote the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Bilateral trade of approximately 2 billion USD had failed to match both sides’ potential, said the PM, suggesting the two countries should accelerate cooperation and investment activities.

He said he hoped the diplomat would prompt UK businesses to increase their investment in Vietnam.

The PM also assured his guest that the UK Government’s development aid source for Vietnam is taking effect.

He touched upon the difficulties in visa granting to Vietnamese which, he said, hindered the two countries’ cooperation programmes.

The PM proposed the Ambassador solve the issue and promote the UK university’s construction project in the country, adding that there are currently more than 7,000 Vietnamese students studying in the UK.

Vietnam has seen a strong development during recent years, particularly in maintaining a high economic development rate, said Ambassador Stokes, emphasising the necessity for the two countries with so much potential to further strengthen their cooperative ties in the future.

He said that there will be high-ranking visits to Vietnam by the UK Royal family and leaders, to promote cooperation and investment activities within the framework of the bilateral strategic partnership agreement.

He shared the view with the Vietnamese PM on the need to raise bilateral trade value and pledged to do his utmost towards attaining the highest possible effectiveness for UK investment projects in Vietnam, including the UK university project in the central coastal city of Da Nang.

The Ambassador also pledged to exert his utmost to settle existing issues in visa application processes and said he hoped to receive the Vietnamese Government’s assistance to boost bilateral ties./.