CPV: So said British Ambassador to Vietnam, Mark Kent, in a press conference in Hanoi today August 28 to announce forthcoming events to commemorate 35 years of UK – Vietnam diplomatic relations.
Ambassador Mark Kent emphasized the ever-strengthening relationship between the UK and Vietnam, which was consolidated by the first-ever visit by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to the UK in March 2008. According to Ambassador Mark Kent, the visit was a great success and laid a firm foundation for further UK- Vietnam co-operation.
“In their joint declaration, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Gordon Brown agreed to work together on five priority areas: trade and investment; development (including good governance, accountability and rule of law issues); international issues (including reform of international architecture, Security Council co-operation and climate change); education and tackling illegal migration and organized crime”, add Mr Ambassador.
On this occasion, the Ambassador announced a number of high-level visits and forthcoming events, which will mark the 35th anniversary of UK – Vietnam diplomatic relations, including: a visit by His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, KG, The UK Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, to Vietnam in the week of 8 September 2008; a visit by the British Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw, to Vietnam in the week of 8 September 2008; visits to the UK by senior officials of several Vietnamese ministries in September and October 2008 and a photo essay competition titled “The UK and Vietnam: people-to-people links”, jointly organized by BBC Vietnamese and the British Embassy (the results will be announced in early September).
Mr Ambassador informs that in early August, DFID approved grant aid totaling 20 million GBP (around 40 million US dollars) for the Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC) 7, saying that it is the evidence of the UK Government’s commitment towards Vietnam’s continued sustainable development.
Now, UK companies are 3rd biggest EU investors in Vietnam with total investment worth around 1.9 billion USD in 105 projects. In 2007, bilateral trade was worth over 133.7 million USD.
In the upcoming time, a lot of UK companies and corporations hope to expand their businesses in Vietnam like Prudential, HSBC, BP, Rolls Royce and Vodaphone. Moreover, some UK banks are expected to provide more reliable and international standard services for Vietnamese customers like HSBC and Standard Chartered Banks.
Director of British Council Vietnam, Keith Davies, also highlighted a number of forthcoming events this year to mark 15 years of the British Council’s presence in Vietnam.
Currently, around 5,000- 6,000 Vietnamese are studying in the UK, and the trend is growing very fast. In July 2008 alone, the Visa Session of the UK Embassy to Hanoi issued around 400 visas to Vietnamese pupils and students for educational purpose.
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