Vietnam, UK issue joint declaration on strategic partnership

Vietnam and the UK issued a “Joint Declaration on the Vietnam – UK Strategic Partnership: Forging Ahead for Another 10 Years” after the talks in Hanoi on September 30 between Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and UK First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Dominic Rabb. Following is the full text of the joint declaration.

In 2010 Vietnam and the United Kingdom (UK) and signed a Joint Declaration to establish the Vietnam – UK Strategic Partnership. After 10 years of successful implementation and growth, this partnership has taken on a global significance. Bilateral cooperation has been intensified in various fields ranging from political – diplomatic; trade – investment; sustainable socio-economic development; security – defence; education – training; science – technology; healthcare;, people-to-people links. The two sides have also been coordinating closely in multilateral fora, including the United Nations, ASEM, ASEAN – led fora and the WTO. In the next 10 years, the Strategic Partnership will not only be the framework to further the bilateral relationship, but it will also address issues on which the UK and Vietnam will provide leadership in the global community.

On the occasion of the visit by the Right Honourable Dominic Rabb MP, First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, to Vietnam on 30 September 2020, hosted by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh, in the year in which Vietnam chairs ASEAN and joins the UK in the UN Security Council, and as the UK prepares to host COP26 in 2021, both sides wish to refresh and strengthen the Vietnam – UK Strategic Partnership. We will set an upward trajectory for the next 10 years with the shared ambition to lift the Strategic Partnership between Vietnam and the UK to a higher level in the future.

The Vietnam – UK relationship is founded firmly on common values: respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations; non-interference in each country’s internal affairs; mutual respect and benefit; a commitment to global free trade and to low-carbon development to tackle climate change; respect and promotion of the rule of law and human rights; advancement of international law and multilateralism, and the promotion of peace, security and prosperity in line with the UN Charter.

1. Political – Diplomatic Cooperation

We commit to promote top-level dialogue between the Leaders of both countries, specifically to hold: an annual Strategic Dialogue at Vice-Ministerial level; an annual Joint Economic and Trade Committee at Vice-Ministerial level; and an annual Defence Dialogue at Vice-Ministerial level. Meetings will alternate between Hanoi and London. We will seek regular official visits by Leaders and Ministers in both directions, and meetings in the margins of international and regional fora. Both sides will facilitate high level direct contact by telephone or videoconference on issues of importance when appropriate.

We welcome the development of dialogues and visits between government ministries and agencies, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and British political parties, the National Assembly of Vietnam and the UK Parliament, academic and strategic policy institutions. We will support parliamentary cooperation, including bilateral visits by leaders of both sides’ parliaments, heads of parliamentary commissions, the Vietnam’s Friendship Parliamentary Group for the UK and the UK’s All-party Parliamentary Group for Vietnam. We will also support parliamentary cooperation in multilateral fora. We will encourage links between local government agencies and educational institutions, and regional/provincial links to promote trade and education.

With the shared objective of supporting the increasingly large communities of business people, tourists and students in each other’s countries, the UK Embassy in Hanoi, the UK Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh, and the Vietnamese Embassy in London will strengthen links and exchange of information through a quarterly online consultation.

2. Trade, Investment and the Business Environment

We commit to deepening the bilateral trade and investment relationship and pursuing more open trade and investment through global and regional economic integration, as well as upholding an open, inclusive, transparent and rules-based multilateral trading system embodied in the WTO.

The UK recognises Vietnam’s rapid progress on its international integration agenda, including economic reforms. We encourage the promotion of an open and attractive business environment. The UK welcomes Vietnam’s intention to expand its investment in and to increase its exports to the UK market. Vietnam likewise encourages increased UK exports of goods and services to Vietnam, as well as increased investment.

We look forward to further strengthening our trade and investment relationship and will work closely together to finalise and bring into force a bilateral Free Trade Agreement between Vietnam and the UK, to provide continuity for businesses in both countries when the Vietnam – EU FTA ceases to apply to the UK, at the end of the UK – EU transition period. We will also continue to have discussions around the UK’s ambition to accede to CPTPP and to secure ASEAN Dialogue Partner status.

We recognise the importance of creating long term partnerships which promote business as well as government-to-government cooperation, particularly in strategic sectors such as renewable energy, technology and healthcare. We will harness technology to take advantage of modern opportunities and industry 4.0.

Economic, trade and investment issues will continue to be monitored through the annual Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) as well as bilateral Ministerial visits, and at official level.

We commit to enhance financial cooperation, encourage and support our investors to invest, expand their business and develop financial services in the financial and capital markets of Vietnam and the UK.

3. Sustainable Growth, Development Cooperation

The UK will work with Vietnam bilaterally and alongside other development partners to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity, particularly in the areas of sustainable urbanisation and development, water resources management, enviromental protection, ocean governance, hydro-meteorology services, healthcare, innovation, including cooperation on digital economies, smart cities, infrastructure and construction, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

We will work together, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to combat the urgent challenges presented by climate change through concrete actions in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement. We will strengthen cooperation and dialogue on climate change mitigation and adaptation at a technical level as part of this work. The two sides promote cooperation in sustainable consumption and production, and circular economy activities. The UK commits to supporting Vietnam’s low-carbon climate-resilient growth strategy and transitioning to renewable energy including wind and solar power. We will cooperate to make the transition to low carbon economies, including on trade and investment that contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, science and technology and green financing. We will ensure bilateral cooperation to support initiatives around sustainable energy, low carbon economies and green financing.

We will increase cooperation and sharing of expertise to tackle challenges posed by infectious and non-communicable disease burdens. International collaboration post Covid-19 is more important than ever for tackling global health burdens. The collaboration between UK and Vietnamese health experts and scientists has gone from strength to strength as they work together on non-communicable disease, digital health, antimicrobial resistance, and on science and innovation.

We will share experience and consider supporting efforts aimed at bolstering the fight against corruption. We will work together to further good governance and rule of law, accountability and transparency issues.

4. Education, Vocational Training, English Language Training, Higher Education, Science and Education Technology

The UK commits to supporting education reform strategies of the Government of Vietnam. We commit to promoting bilateral cooperation between vocational training institutions of the two countries, and to increasing and strengthening the number, range and quality of joint education programmes and UK qualifications at governmental and institutional level. We encourage more cooperation between our universities and new private sector initiatives aimed at bringing UK educational opportunities to Vietnam. The UK commits to supporting efforts to increase English language proficiency, through support for English teacher development, quality teaching, learning and assessment of English as well as digital offers to support an inclusive approach.

We commit to promoting sustainable growth in science, technology and innovation, and to helping Vietnam equip its workforce with essential skills for the digital age. This includes sharing expertise of online education to improve the experience for both teachers and students.

The UK commits to supporting efforts to increase English language proficiency, through support for English teacher development in schools, universities and key industries.

We encourage more Vietnamese students to choose the UK for higher education and commit to exploring more opportunities for UK students, teachers and experts to come to Vietnam. We commit to encouraging more applications from more diverse backgrounds to the UK’s Chevening Scholarships.

We will expand collaboration on research and innovation, including clinical trials, vaccine development and measures to ensure the medical supply chain’s sustainability to cope with pandemic emergency, support global efforts to develop and deploy safe and equitable healthcare for everyone who needs it.

5. Defence, Security and Serious organised crime

We will continue ministerial and senior military official level exchanges; including the annual Vice-Ministerial Defence Policy dialogue and the Defence Cooperation Working Group, in order to further enhance bilateral defence and security cooperation. Priority areas will include United Nations peacekeeping operations, military healthcare and training, English language provision, maritime security, including maritime law enforcement capacity building, defence industry cooperation and collaboration on geospatial and hydrographic cooperation.

We will ensure the successful operation of the Vietnam – UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty on criminal matters 2009 and the Vietnam – UK Prisoner Transfer Agreement 2008, and related agreements on migration and combating and preventing serious and organised crime.

We commit to increasing exchanges of delegations at Ministerial, Senior officials and desk officer level in order to further enhance bilateral cooperation to combat serious and organised crime. Priority areas include irregular migration, people smuggling, human trafficking, child sex abuse and exploitation, cybercrime, transnational drug trafficking and money laundering/ economic crime. We propose to hold annual migration talks at senior official level enabling both sides to review cooperation and to discuss new challenges as well as pathways for regular and safe migration, commit to developing a joint operational team and increasing capacity building and training. We commit to protecting and safeguarding the victims of these crimes. We commit to working towards an extradition treaty between Vietnam and the UK .

We also commit to strengthening legal and judicial cooperation based on the UK – Vietnam Memorandum of Understanding on legal and judicial cooperation signed in 2008.

6. People-to-People Links and Equal Rights

We commit to creating conditions to promote greater understanding between the peoples of both countries. We will encourage networks to consolidate links and collaboration in arts, culture, sports, media, scientific research, and tourism.

The two sides will continue to foster inbound and outbound tourism and extend support to the operation of the Visit Vietnam Office in the UK. We will strengthen cooperation in sports training and exchanges of sport experts and teams. The UK will share experiences and support Vietnam to organise international sports events. The UK continues cooperation and supports Vietnam in developing cultural industries and promoting cooperation in organising events, exchanges of performing art troupes and experts in the field of art and culture.

We value the contribution of the Vietnamese community in the UK to the social and economic development of Vietnam and the UK, and in promoting friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

Vietnam and the UK will co-operate in the promotion and protection of human rights, including with regard to the implementation of international human rights instruments to which they are party.

We will continue to work to encourage more media exchanges, promote greater access for each other’s media organisations and more cooperation on capacity building and training.

We are both committed to promoting gender equality in our two countries and ensuring access to education for everyone, especially for girls, around the world.

7. Global and regional issues

We commit to a closer coordination through multilateral fora, including the United Nations and within the framework of ASEAN. This will include exchanges on promoting the rules based international system; maritime security; conflict prevention; non-proliferation; human rights; human trafficking, people smuggling, women in peace and security, explosive remnants of war, climate change, and environmental protection.

We reaffirm the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, security, safety, freedom of navigation and overflight, implementing the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in good faith, pursuing the peaceful resolution of disputes without the threat or use of force and respecting legal and diplomatic processes, in accordance with international law, particularly UNCLOS. We express serious and continued concerns over developments in the South China Sea, including disruptive activities, land reclamation and militarisation of disputed features, and underscore the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoidance of actions that may further complicate the situation or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability. We emphasise that UNCLOS is the basis for determining maritime entitlements, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and legitimate interests over maritime zones, and UNCLOS provides the comprehensive legal framework within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out. We reiterate the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety as well as the swift conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (COC) that is consistent with international law, particularly UNCLOS, without prejudice to the rights of States or the interests of third parties under international law.

We commit to strengthening the UK-ASEAN relationship to promote collaboration in the three ASEAN communities: political-security, economic and socio-cultural. The UK has submitted its application for Dialogue Partner Status under Vietnam’s Chair of ASEAN. Vietnam welcomes and supports the UK to further enhance its relationship with ASEAN.

Both sides commit to regular and working-level exchanges of views on regional issues of interest. Areas include recognising ASEAN centrality, strengthening ASEAN mechanisms and narrowing the development gap in ASEAN through exchanges of best practices and assistance for capacity building, and ensuring peace, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the waters in the Southeast Asia region and the Asia-Pacific region as a whole. This is coupled with deepening the UK-ASEAN trade and investment relationship, delivering future growth that is sustainable, inclusive and maximises the opportunities Industry 4.0 presents.

Source: Vietnam News Agency