More than 50 members of the Vietnam-UK Network took part in a virtual farewell on 21 January 2021 with Vietnam’s Ambassador to the UK and to Ireland, HE Mr Tran Ngoc An. Ambassador An, who arrived in London a little over 3 years ago, will depart with his wife in the next few weeks. Those who paid tribute to his achievements here included Heather Wheeler MP, a former FCDO Minister for Asia and now Special Envoy for Trade with Vietnam, her predecessor as Trade Envoy, Lord Vaizey, the UK’s Ambassador to Vietnam, HE Mr Gareth Ward and Wayne David MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Vietnam. Several other attendees sent their good wishes during the event.
Speaking about his busy time in London, Ambassador An highlighted the renewal of the Strategic Partnership between the two governments, Vietnam’s Chairmanship of ASEAN, the conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement with the UK, and the start of talks between political parties. He welcomed the steady growth in two-way trade and investment, as well as tourism and educational links. The tragic case of the Vietnamese immigrants had involved very close and ongoing cooperation between his Embassy and the UK authorities. Since then, Covid-19 had of course affected normal working practices, but this had not prevented progress in many areas. He hoped that British tourists would soon be in a position to return to Vietnam.
VUKN Chairman Warwick Morris congratulated the Ambassador on his and his team’s many important achievements. He thanked him warmly for his strong support for the Network and for his active involvement in its activities. The Ambassador was then presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Network, which read: ‘In recognition of an outstanding contribution to the development of UK-Vietnam relations, and with grateful thanks for your invaluable support for the Vietnam-UK Network throughout your time in London.’ Ambassador An said how much he appreciated the work of the VUKN and its members, through the running of various events and functions, for helping the Embassy with inward delegations, and for providing support and advice on a range of issues.
Vice Chairman Paul Smith did the introductions, chaired a short Q&A session and made the closing remarks. In wishing the departing Ambassador every success in the future, he expressed the hope that he would keep in touch with the Network.