Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh and Lord Astor of Hever sign the Defence Co-operation Memorandum of Understanding .

The UK and Vietnamese governments have agreed to strengthen ties over defence, trade and security.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two countries was signed by Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Lord Astor of Hever and Vietnam's Deputy Minister of National Defence Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh at Lancaster House.

The MoU follows the Strategic Partnership Declaration signed in September last year by Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem and Foreign Secretary William Hague.

The agreement with Vietnam exhibits the UK's commitment to pursue an active foreign policy with emerging powers across the world. The UK aims to use the strategic partnership as a catalyst for boosting the growing bilateral trade between the two countries.

"We had fruitful discussions on a number of topics and hope that the MoU will help to facilitate a deeper level of cooperation between our two nations, enhancing the bilateral relationship envisaged in the Strategic Partnership Declaration signed in London last year," Lord Astor said.

The UK is also looking to strengthen ties with other Southeast Asian countries.