President’s visit – A sign of Vietnam-UK excellent friendly relations: VUKN Chairman
President Vo Van Thuong’s visit to the UK to attend the coronation of King Charles III is another sign of the excellent friendly high-level relations between the two countries at such an auspicious time, according to Chairman of the Vietnam-UK Network (VUKN) Mark Kent.
In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)’s resident correspondent in the UK, Kent, who worked as British Ambassador to Vietnam in the 2007-2010 tenure, pointed to potential for a modern, forward looking collaborative relationship between the two countries.
Kent said he was aware that there was scope for more cooperation in trade, investment, education, science and technology and response to global challenges like climate change as Vietnam was vulnerable to flooding from rising sea levels.
He also found potential for further people-to- people exchanges, in particular tourism, given many splendid destinations throughout Vietnam, even though at that time there were no direct flights between Vietnam and the UK.
The VUKN Chairman said the relations between the UK and Vietnam have changed dramatically since 2010, adding that the Strategic Partnership established in 2010 was renewed in 2020, and the bilateral relationship is growing stronger, deeper and wider than ever before.
Trade and investment between the two countries have continued to grow thanks to the UK-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA) and now the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with the support of Vietnam.
Kent took the example of Vietnam’s imports of Scotch whisky, which grew over 300% in the last three years.
He was also pleased that British companies are helping Vietnam upgrade its infrastructure to meet the needs of its growing modern economy.
The VUKN Chairman noted that the two countries have enhanced scientific cooperation and are doing much together and globally to fight climate change, while collaborating in global security and peacekeeping, and the fight against organise crime.
He also highlighted cooperation in education, people-to-people exchange, tourism, sports, culture, arts and cuisine.
Ken said his network has done much to support people-to-people ties since its establishment 10 years ago, adding that it looks forward to signing a memorandum of cooperation later this year with its Vietnamese counterpart, the Vietnam-UK Friendship Association.
To commemorate the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic relations, the network will hold a concert in London later this year, bringing together world renowned Vietnamese musicians.
In another interview with the VNA's reporters, Professor Patrick Callaghan, Associate Pro Vice Chancellor, London South Bank University (LSBU), said Vietnam and the UK have great potential for cooperation in education and science - the areas in which Vietnam has strong interest and for which the UK has an outstanding reputation.
He stressed that the relationship between Vietnam and the UK is now thriving as seen from the photo exhibition on 50 years of the Vietnam-UK relations held at LSBU on April 27.
The professor pointed out that bilateral trade now largely depends on goods, but it can be extended into other areas in the service industry which the UK is very strong at.
He suggested the two countries boost their partnership through cooperation in science and education, including higher education, further education and even secondary education.
Callaghan said the two countries’ universities, including LSBU, can collaborate in such key areas as transnational education, doctoral degree training, engineering, health and social care research.
Speaking of cooperation between LSBU and Vietnam, he said the number of Vietnamese students choosing to study at LSBU, especially at the LSBU Business School, has greatly increased in recent years.
The LSBU Business School considers Vietnam a priority market in such areas as student recruitment, transnational education, research and knowledge transfer, Callaghan said, adding the university is now in discussion with Vietnamese higher education institutions for collaboration in transnational education, student exchange and research.