Vietnam, Britain to sign 'strategic partnership'

30th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Vietnam and Britain are to sign a "strategic partnership" agreement next week in a sign of their deepening ties, the British ambassador said Monday.

The pact, covering everything from trade and investment to development and security, will be signed during a visit to Britain by Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem, British ambassador Mark Kent told reporters.

Kent said relations between the two sides were growing rapidly in a wide range of areas and this was "a good moment" to wrap them into a strategic framework.

Britain believed relations with Asia were going to be increasingly important, he said.

London and Hanoi established diplomatic ties in 1973.

Two-way trade last year reached almost two billion dollars.

Kent said the strategic partnership also included human rights, and Britain believed "that for societies to continue to develop and flourish, the free flow of information and ideas is important."

Western donors have said that Vietnam's restrictions on journalists, the Internet, and associations threaten the country's progress.

© 2010 AFP

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