The UK considers Vietnam an important priority partner in Southeast Asia, outgoing UK Ambassador Antony Stokes has said.

Meeting Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in Hanoi on July 16 before leaving, the ambassador affirmed that the UK always supports an extensive and in-depth cooperation between Vietnam and the European Union.

He noted with pleasure that the Vietnam-UK relationship has thrived in all fields, especially in economy, trade, education and defence-security, since the two countries signed the Strategic Partnership in September 2010 and General Secretary Trong’s first official visit to the UK in January 2013.

Regarding the East Sea situation, Stokes said the UK has closely followed recent complicated developments in the region, affirming his country’s consistent viewpoint that the parties concerned are responsible for ensuring security, safety and freedom of navigation in the East Sea as well as settling emerging issues by peaceful means with respect for international law.

On his part, Party leader Trong suggested Vietnam and the UK further enhance their all-round collaboration via different channels, including the party channel.

The two sides should enhance cooperation and mutual support in multilateral activities and at regional and international organisations and forums, especially the United Nations, ASEAN and the EU, he said.

The Party leader also said the two countries should increase the exchange of delegations at all levels to strengthen mutual understanding and trust.-VNA