Vietnam-UK strategic partnership: Towards new heights
PSNews - 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the UK and Vietnam. This is not only a time for Vietnam and the UK to look back on the path of cooperation over the past half-century, but also an opportunity for the two sides to look forward to a future of strong connection.
The year 2023 is a significant milestone in Vietnam-UK relations as the two countries are celebrating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 13th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership.
After 50 years of cooperation and development, Vietnam and the UK have stood side by side to build bridges of close linkages. The two countries upgraded their relationship to a Strategic Partnership in 2010. In September 2020, the two sides issued a new Joint Statement on Strategic Partnership with seven priority areas of cooperation and affirmed their goal to raise the relations to a higher level in the next 10 years.
Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO) Vice President and General Secretary Phan Anh Son affirmed that, since Vietnam and the U.K. officially established diplomatic relations on September 11, 1973, the bilateral relationship has been continuously consolidated and promoted by the two governments and peoples, and the political trust has been enhanced. After the two countries upgraded their relations to Strategic Partnership in 2010, various cooperation mechanisms between the two countries have been established and effectively implemented, such as strategic dialogue, joint committee for economic and trade cooperation, and defense working group, among others.
State President Vo Van Thuong's visit to the UK to attend the coronation of King Charles III at the invitation of the UK Royal Family and the UK government is a great symbol of the relationship between the two sides.
According to the Vietnamese Ambassador to the UK Nguyen Hoang Long, the visit is of significant importance regarding high-level foreign affairs. "The President’s participation at the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla shows that Vietnam gives high regard and support to the Royal Family, the UK Government and the Vietnam-UK strategic partnership," Long said.
The Vietnamese President congratulated the King, the Queen, the Royal Family and people of the UK and expressed his belief that under the reign of King Charles III, the UK will further prosper. King Charles III expressed his appreciation for sentiment that the Vietnamese leaders have for him and the Royal Family and affirmed that the British Royal Family and the King personally always pay attention to and support the renovation and development of Vietnam as well as the Vietnam-UK strategic partnership. At a meeting with the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the UK Prime Minister said that the potential for cooperation between the two countries is very huge and wished to expand cooperation with Vietnam in various fields. H
Today, the relationship between Vietnam and the UK has never been stronger and will even get stronger, according to the British Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Thailand, Myanmar, Brunei and Vietnam, Mark Garnier, saying he was optimistic for the future. In particular, the two countries are celebrating the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and this is a really important point. This offers the two countries a chance to reflect on the extraordinary growth of their friendship, as well as to look ahead to the future and to the next 50 years.
Regarding economic affairs, Vietnam is among the few Asian partners who have signed an FTA with the UK. The UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) was also signed and took effect from May 1, 2021. In 2022, bilateral trade reached 6.84 billion USD, comprising 6.07 billion USD worth of Vietnamese exports and 771 million USD worth of imports from the UK. Last year, under the coordination of the UK Government, Vetnam and the Group of Seven (G7) adopted the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), which is expected to open up opportunities in energy transition, green growth and sustainable development.
The UK is currently Vietnam’s third-largest trade partner in the European market. Vietnam is also an attractive destination for British investors as the UK ranks in the top 20 countries with foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam.
Besides a close bilateral relationship, Vietnam and the UK also actively support each other at international forums. The two sides coordinated closely and effectively, while Vietnam was a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2008-2009 and 2020-2021 terms. Both sides were also members of the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2014-2016 term. Vietnam backed the UK’s request to become a dialogue partner of ASEAN and actively supported the UK in the negotiation process to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Meanwhile, the UK supported Vietnam’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Marcus Winsley, Deputy Ambassador of the UK to Vietnam, said that bilateral relations are now in their prime. The COVID-19 pandemic is also the time for the two countries to lift cooperation in many areas to a new level, from politics, economy, and education to security and defence, particularly the combat against human trafficking and transnational crimes.
Meanwhile, Ambassador of the UK to Vietnam Iain Frew said there have been many changes since the UK and Vietnam established diplomatic relations in 1973. Vietnam has gone through an impressive journey of economic development and international integration to which the UK is proud to make a partial contribution. Thirteen years have elapsed since the two countries upgraded their strategic partnership, he said both the UK and Vietnam are now joining hands in solving important global issues, including climate change. The two countries have become partners in the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP).
In his view, the two countries still have a lot of potential for cooperation in the fields of health, research, renewable energy, investment and business. He vowed to work closely with the two countries’ people to preserve and develop the strong bond between the UK and Vietnam.