On the evening of 5th September 2013, the embassy of Viet Nam in London hosted the National Day reception at Cadogan Hall (London), followed by a night of cultural performances to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of Viet Nam – UK diplomatic relations. Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, attended the ceremony and gave the opening remarks emphasizing the growing relationship between Viet Nam and the UK over the last 40 years. The Prince is a good friend of Viet Nam and has visited the country on various occasions since 1999.
Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Defence, Lord Astor, who was the first British defence minister to visit Viet Nam (2012), speaking at the ceremony reaffirmed the British government’s interest in strengthening defense and security ties with Viet Nam “because we recognise Viet Nam as a significant security actor in the region.” Lord Astor announced the first British resident defence attaché would be posted in Viet Nam from November and the HMS Daring, a Type 45 Destroyer, will be visiting Viet Nam’s port at the end of the year.
Chairman of the All Parties Parliamentary Group on Viet Nam the Rt Hon George Howarth MP, highlighted the parliamentary ties between the two countries over the last 4 decades. Other dignitaries speaking at the ceremony includes Lord Powell, the Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, Le Hoang Quan, Founder of Britain – Vietnam Friendship Society Len Aldis, Executive Chairman for the Vietnam-UK network Ben Chapman, President of British Vietnamese Association Son Thanh.
Commemorative medals for Contribution to the Cause of Diplomacy were presented by the Vietnamese Government to Len Aldis and Ben Chapman in recognition of their invaluable and devoted contributions to reinforcing and developing the ties between Viet Nam and the UK. Recognitions from Vietnamese Foreign Minister were also presented to other individuals and organisations including Paul Smith of Harvey Nash, Doug Nicholls of the Trades Union Friends of Viet Nam.
About 800 people attended the ceremony, including representatives from the British government, London city, friendship organisations, ambassadors and representatives from diplomatic missions. Also at the function were business people and hundreds of British friends, representatives of the Vietnamese community and students living and studying in the UK.