UK Foreign Secretary visits Vietnam for first time in 17 years

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British Foreign Secretary William Hague finished a two day visit in Vietnam on Wednesday, as he worked with local leaders to boost strategic partnerships.

Hague and Vietnam Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong and the Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung discussed their new focus on trade and investment, education, governance and global challenges, the British Embassy in Hanoi said in a press release.

Hague is the first British Foreign Secretary to visit Vietnam for 17 years. His visit came on the heels of British Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Burma earlier this month.

Prior to his visit, Hague told reporters: "Vietnam is a country with vast potential and a key friend of the UK in South East Asia. "During my visit, I will have the opportunity to explore with my Vietnamese hosts further ways for our countries to work even more closely together."

While in Vietnam, Hague also engaged in talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh and Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang.

He met with representatives from the international business and development communities and held a dialogue themed "education for prosperity" at the British Council with Vietnam National University students.

The UK and Vietnam signed a Strategic Partnership agreement in 2010. Since then, bilateral trade has grown fast.

In 2011, Vietnam's export revenue to the UK increased by 37 percent from the previous year; imports went up 18 percent.

British financial services company Prudential PLC is now the largest foreign employer in Vietnam.

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