Update: 09:21 | 14/07/2020
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Monday thanked Vietnam for treating British citizens infected with the novel coronavirus, and congratulated the country on its success in tackling the pandemic.
In a phone call to Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Raab expressd his gratitude and appreciation for the dedication of the Vietnamese authorities and doctors who treated British Covid-19 patients.
He also feted Vietnam on its impressive success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at a press conference in London, May 2020.
The country's most critically ill Covid-19 patient, 43-year-old Stephen Cameron, a Scottish pilot in Ho Chi Minh City, was declared fully recovered from the disease on July 6. After spending nearly four months in treatment, Cameron returned home Sunday safe and sound.
Vietnam is seen as one of the few countries successful in combating the pandemic, recording 372 cases as of Monday, with 350 recoveries and not a single death.
In their telephonic conversation, the two leaders also exchanged information on Covid-19 containment measures and initiatives and agreed on measures to further strengthen bilateral ties and trust, a Vietnamese Foreign Ministry statement said.
Raab said the UK had placed Vietnamese citizens on the non-quarantine list of people entering the country.
Deputy PM Minh said the two countries should increase exchanges and maintain cooperation mechanisms, including strategic dialogue at the deputy-ministerial level towards signing the U.K.-Vietnam free trade agreement.
Raab said the U.K. considers Vietnam an important partner in Asia Pacific and Southeast Asia and wished to deepen the UK - Vietnam Strategic Partnership in all areas and bilateral cooperation to maintain momentum as the U.K. departs from the E.U.
Appreciating Vietnam's efforts as the ASEAN Chair and non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council this year, Raab said the U.K. would continue cooperating closely with Vietnam at multilateral frameworks and international forums.
He also affirmed that the U.K. supported the maintenance of peace, security and stability in the South China Sea, known in Vietnam as the East Sea, as well as compliance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.