Vietnam and the UK have vowed to continue strongly promoting bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation, describing it as the key area of their cooperation.

The commitment was made at talks between Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and his UK counterpart, William Hague, in Hanoi on April 25.

Both sides agreed to create favourable conditions for their businesses to access markets and increase investment and operations in each country.

At the talks, the two FMs discussed socio-economic development and external policies of each country, specific measures to promote the Vietnam-UK strategic partnership as well as cooperation at international and multilateral forums in future.

UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague spoke highly of Vietnam ’s socio-economic achievements, particularly in poverty reduction.

He expressed his impression with Vietnam ’s international integration and affirmed that the UK pursues its policy of strengthening comprehensive cooperation with Vietnam .

William Hague said he wishes to increase the UK presence in Asia and ASEAN in particular.

Both FMs expressed pleasure that the Vietnam-UK strategic partnership, which was established in September, 2010, continues to develop strongly in all areas.

They affirmed a commitment to continue working closely to implement specific areas through existing cooperative mechanisms such as the strategic dialogue, the joint economic trade committee, and devising and carrying out annual action plans.

Both sides agreed to maintain exchange of delegations at all levels and regular contacts between the two countries’ senior leaders, increase cooperation between the legislative bodies, ministries, agencies and localities as well as cooperation at multilateral forums and in major international organisations, especially at the United Nations and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

The UK also committed to continuing development assistance to Vietnam , especially in Vietnam’s needy fields of poverty reduction, coping with climate change, education and training.

It also pledged to help Vietnam promote trade ties with the European Union, accelerate the early signing of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the EU and Vietnam , and support the EU to promptly recognise Vietnam as a market economy.

The two sides will strive to raise bilateral trade to 4 billion USD and the UK ’s foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam to 3 billion USD by 2013.

The FMs welcomed speedy and effective development of the two countries’ cooperation in education and training.

The UK confirmed its support to Vietnam to develop the Vietnam-UK university in the central city of Da Nang .

They also committed to creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese students to study in the UK as well as encouraging British students to study in Vietnam .

They also agreed to closely work to organise the 40 th anniversary of their diplomatic ties in 2013 in order to boost cooperation in culture and tourism.

The two FMs also discussed international and regional issues of common concern, such as situations in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the two ministers stressed the importance of ensuring international maritime security, freedom and safety in the East Sea as well as settlement of disputes through peaceful measures based on international law.

They were unanimous on the increase of cooperation and coordination between the two foreign ministries, contributing to promoting multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and the UK./.