Ambassadors of ROK and Vietnam brief UK parliamentarians
On 3 December, BGIPU hosted an Asia-Pacific London Ambassadors Roundtable event which featured presentations from H.E. Ms Enna Park, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, and H.E. Mr Tran Ngoc An, Ambassador of Vietnam. The event was chaired by BGIPU Executive Committee Member and Vietnam APPG Chair, Wayne David MP, and was well-attended by a range of UK parliamentarians, including the Chair of the International Development Committee and the former Minister for Asia and the Pacific.
Both Ambassadors provided in-depth information on the current political, social and economic situations in their countries and Members were pleased to hear of the success which both the Republic of Korea and Vietnam had had in dealing with the global pandemic. Parliamentarians were also happy to hear that both nations are still predicted to have positive GDP growth in 2020 despite the huge shocks to the financial system caused by the virus.
Next year’s COP26 being hosted by the UK was also a key discussion point. Both Ambassadors emphasised their commitment to support the UK in its mission to deliver an ambitious COP26 in Glasgow next year. Ambassador Park noted that although Korea is heavily dependent on the industrial sector, the Korean Government has pushed through a declaration to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Equally, Vietnam as a nation highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, having experienced severe flooding in recent weeks, has prioritised mitigating the negative impacts of climate change. Both Ambassadors stressed their Government’s desire to work with the international community to strive towards the common goal of protecting the planet.
Both Ambassadors presented an optimistic outlook on the future of the multilateralism, with hopes that a Biden Administration will present an opportunity for a return to the rules-based international system. China was also seen as both a challenge and an opportunity and again, with hopes that the change in US presidency would lead to movement back towards global collaboration through multilateral fora. However, the Ambassadors were also wary of China’s growth and were grateful for the UK’s support in recent geopolitical disputes.
The relationship between parliamentarians and the diplomatic service is one of utmost importance and the event proved a valuable exchange for both in a year where the usual opportunities for physical engagement have been missed. BGIPU would like to thank H.E. Ms Enna Park and H.E. Mr Tran Ngoc An, for taking the time to speak to UK Members and the London Embassies for their assistance with arranging the meeting.