Editor’s note: British politician Mark Field, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, sent this piece exclusively to Tuoi Tre News ahead of his January 2-3 visit to Vietnam.
I am honoured to be returning to Vietnam for my third visit since being the Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific. I have very fond memories of my previous experiences in Vietnam and look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead for both our countries.
New developments will continue to build on the UK-Vietnam Strategic Partnership, which is now in its eighth year.
We have a new Ministerial-level dialogue on Defence with Vice Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh. Our partnership on defence has also supported the first ever deployment of Vietnamese United Nations peacekeepers to Sudan.
The Strategic Partnership not only increased our cooperation but also presented both countries with new opportunities.
The UK Prosperity Fund programmes in Vietnam are set to deliver socio-economic benefits related to the Industrial Revolution 4.0. These programmes will cover issues as diverse as green finance, healthcare and future cities, capital market development, non-tariff barriers and trade, anti-corruption, and greater transparency in the business environment.
We have also initiated a wide range of new projects together. These include initiatives that combat microbial resistance; deal with unexploded ordinance in central Vietnam; build the capacity of Vietnam’s customs; and tackle modern slavery and human trafficking.
Our countries have also been forging new links, such as through the ‘Inspire Me Festival’ held in Hanoi in November.
It was a great celebration of our 45 years as diplomatic partners and the many things we do together.
Vietnam is an important ally on innovation, gender equality, and reducing plastic waste, which the festival focused on.
|British Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field|
As Vietnam prepares to take up its seat on the UN Security Council, there will be new opportunities to share thinking and collaborate on a wide range of global issues.
Moreover, as the UK leaves the EU, we will be looking to strengthen our relationship with Vietnam and the ASEAN region in many areas including education, innovation, smart cities and cyber security.
Globally, there are also challenges that we can work on together.
The rules-based international system has been built by the international community and it has helped us all become more secure and prosperous. Yet it faces pressures in many areas and we must build new alliances and make new efforts to dismantle protectionism and boost free trade globally.
Strong and growing UK-Vietnam trade should be a key part of this.
One thing is not new or, I hope, a surprise. That is the commitment that I and the UK bring to the partnership between our countries.
Our goal should continue to be to further strengthen not only the UK Vietnam relationship but also the rules based international system.