|Nguyen Van Thao greets the guests|
By New Worker correspondent
NCP leader Andy Brooks joined politicians, diplomats, journalists and members of the Vietnamese community in London in celebrating Vietnam’s National Day at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington on Tuesday.
The National Day commemorates the Vietnamese declaration of independence from France on 2nd September 1945. On that day Vietnamese communist leader Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi, and the beginning of the struggle for freedom that finally ended with the defeat of US imperialism in 1975 and the establishment of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Naturally this year’s celebration focused on the growing British–Vietnamese ties that have developed in recent years. Ambassador Nguyen Van Thao spoke highly of the efforts that have greatly expanded trade and cultural links with Britain and Kate White from the Foreign Office reaffirmed Britain’s commitment to signing a bilateral trade agreement with Vietnam after the UK leaves the European Union.
Sadly Nguyen Van Thao will soon be leaving as his tour of duty in London is over – but he can depart pleased at the many positive developments in British–Vietnamese relations during his watch and confident that this will continue in the future.
Two-way trade reached $5.6 billion in 2016, up 30 per cent compared with 2014, whilst education and tourism remain important cooperation aspects between the two countries. At present, there are about 12,000 Vietnamese students in Britain, with the figure rising annually. The number of British tourists to Vietnam is also rising, especially after Vietnam offered visa exemptions for UK visitors and the launch of daily flights connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with London. Vietnam has welcomed more than 250,000 British tourists since the beginning of this year.