Vietnam, UK to focus on defense industrial, maritime cooperation

By Truong Son, Thanh Nien News

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Vietnam and the UK have agreed that defense industrial and maritime cooperation will be the two key focus areas for their bilateral defense collaboration in 2015, according to a release by the British Embassy in Hanoi Friday.
The Defense Working Group from the two countries’ ministries of defense held its third annual meeting in Hanoi one day earlier to identify areas of bilateral defense collaboration in 2015.
Defense industrial cooperation was identified as the most significant area for increased bilateral engagement, and an agreement was struck to inaugurate a specific task force to advance and pursue defense industry collaboration.
The working group also agreed to focus on maritime domain, using it as a “proving ground” for developing a clearer mutual understanding of the sales and procurement processes of each nation, sharing information on future defense capability requirements, and developing a strategy for enhancing sales and procurement opportunities.
The two sides agreed to hold exchanges of senior level delegations, including both ministerial visits and for the chiefs of the Vietnamese People’s Air Defense, Air Force and Navy to visit the UK in the coming year.

Group Captain Tim Below, the UK Defence Attaché and his Vietnamese counterpart.
They said the visits would facilitate direct advancement of cooperative programs, as well as providing the opportunity for deeper senior discussion on strategic issues such as those pertaining to the East Sea (Vietnamese term for South China Sea), peacekeeping, and ASEAN initiatives.
The working group also discussed the UK Ministry Of Defense’s investment in training for officers of the Vietnamese People’s Army. Accordingly, the English Language Training program funded by the UK MOD and delivered by the British Council will be increased three times to US$100,000 starting in March this year.
The meeting also examined many other areas of cooperation, ranging from tightening hydrographic and geospatial interaction to enhanced cooperation in cyber security.
“The UK is committed to working with Vietnam, and with the agreements struck today, 2015 is going to be a very exciting year for our defense relationship,” Defense Working Group Captain Tim Below, the UK Defense Attaché, said.

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