The British Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City hosted a reception on Tuesday to celebrate the 88th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II at Caravelle Hotel in District 1.
The event was attended by British Consul General Douglas Barnes, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Vietnam Antony Stokes, Vice Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Nguyen Huu Tin, along with other local officials and representatives of Vietnamese and British enterprises.
Colonel Tim Below, the first UK Defense Attaché to Vietnam, was also invited to the party as a special guest.
In his address at the ceremony, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Vietnam Antony Stokes said it will be the last time he has celebrated this anniversary in Vietnam because his term is nearly finished.
“I have seen Vietnam and the United Kingdom build a broader, deeper partnership. High level visits have stepped up. Two-way trade has more than doubled,” Dr. Antony Stokes said.
According to Ambassador Antony Stokes, the UK is strengthening educational links with more UK-funded Chevening Scholarships and redesigning visa operation, and has developed cooperation in new areas from financial management to international crime fighting.
The UK has also launched a multi-million dollar science program, namely the Newton Fund, and appointed their first Defense Attaché in Hanoi.
In HCMC particularly, the UK is working more closely with the People’s Committee to bring British urban development experience to major infrastructure projects such as the Thu Thiem financial center.
Ambassador Antony Stokes underscored that Vietnam and the UK can also work more closely together on international issues. “We believe that Vietnam can strongly support the application of international law, in response to tensions in the East Vietnam Sea, and in worldwide initiatives such as the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London [opening on Tuesday],” he said.
For his part, Nguyen Huu Tin, Vice Chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee, stated that the bilateral relations between HCMC and the UK have witnessed robustness and encouraging developments, particularly in trade and investment, education and training, culture, tourism, and healthcare.
According to the vice chairman, there were over 7,300 UK tourists to Ho Chi Minh City in 2013, placing Britain in the third place among EU countries with tourists to the city.
The UK has also been one of the city’s largest trading partners and investors within the EU with the bilateral trade reaching US$548.4 million last year, Tin added.
Additionally, the city’s pivotal projects, including Thu Thiem new urban area, have attracted the interest from UK potential investors such as Canary Wharf Corporation.
“Given strong foundations in bilateral ties, I believe that in the coming time, HCMC – UK multifaceted collaboration will continue harvesting fruitful outcome for mutual benefits,” the vice chairman said.