Vietnam and the United Kingdom held their first strategic dialogue meeting in London on Oct. 26 as part of activities to implement commitments in the strategic partnership agreement signed between the two governments in September 2010.

The meeting, which was co-chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State Jeremy Browne, reviewed the implementation of an action plan following the strategic partnership and discussed orientations for promoting bilateral relations in the time to come.

The two sides focused discussions on bilateral issues, including defence, organised crime and counter terrorism, as well as regional security.

On regional security, Minister of State Jeremy Browne noted the important and growing role that the ASEAN and other ASEAN-led regional mechanisms had to play and welcomed the catalytic role that Vietnam have played during its Chair of ASEAN in 2010.

The UK looks forward to signing the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, he said.

On defence, the two sides looks forward to closer defence cooperation, including more frequent exchange of delegations and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on defence cooperation.

They shared views and concerns over existing conflicts and emerging threats and discussed international and multilateral responses and how the two nations could cooperate more closely to minimise threats. The UK welcomed Vietnam ’s potential future contribution to UN Peacekeeping Operations.

Counter-proliferation, nuclear security and other non-traditional security challenges were discussed, with both sides strongly reaffirming the importance of countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Both sides underlined the importance of making tangible progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation to fulfil the commitments set out in the 2010 NPT Action Plan, towards the shared long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

The two sides also reiterated the importance of preventing nuclear material and know-how falling into the hands of terrorists.

Vietnam and the UK agreed to cooperate on a range of international initiatives such as the Nuclear Security Summit and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

On international organised crime and counter terrorism, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to working together to counter these global threats.

The UK welcomes the participation of Vietnam in the London Cyber conference due to take place in early November.

The two sides also discussed situations in the East Sea , saying that the maintenance of peace, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation in the East Sea is in the common interests of the international community.

The UK was concerned by tensions in this vital global trade artery and expressed its hope that all parties can resolve all territorial disputes in the East Sea peacefully, in line with international law.

The two sides reaffirmed the importance of the 2002 ASEAN – China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and encouraged the parties to reach an agreement on a code of conduct (COC).

At a press briefing, Deputy FM Bui Thanh Son stressed the significance of the dialogue, saying that the two countries made good progress after one year of signing the Strategic Partnership Agreement, particularly regular exchange of delegations over the past years. Trade and investment between the two countries have grown rapidly, expecting a growth of 40 percent this year compared to the previous annual average increase of 20 percent.

Minister of State Jeremy Browne said Trade Minister Vince Cable will visit Vietnam next week to attend a meeting of the Vietnam-UK Joint Committee on Economic and Trade Cooperation.

He said he wished for further development in the two countries’ cooperation./.