Vietnam, UK sign defense cooperation agreement

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Vietnam and the United Kingdom on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance the bilateral relationship and exchange of information in areas such as training and peace support operations.

Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Vietnam's Deputy Minister of National Defense, and his British counterpart Lord Astor of Hever, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Defense, signed the MOU at Lancaster House.

The signing was part of activities during a November 23-25 working visit to the UK by the Vietnamese Defense Ministry delegation led by Vinh.

The signing of the MOU follows the Strategic Partnership Declaration signed on Sept. 8 2010, by Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Pham Gia Khiem, and the UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague.

The agreement with Vietnam demonstrates the UK's commitment to pursuing an active foreign policy with emerging powers around the world, the UK Ministry of Defense said in a release.

The UK aims to make the strategic partnership a springboard to improve the growing bilateral trade relationship, it said.

The UK is looking to engage more closely with countries in South East Asia, and the MOU is another example of this regional engagement, according to the release.

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