On a cold and windy morning in Danang last week this year of celebration and ambition drew towards a spectacular end, as HMS Daring sailed in, the first British warship ever to do so.
Britain’s first Defence Attache resident at Hanoi, Group Captain Tim Below, walked up the gangplank with me to be greeted by the ship’s outstanding captain, Commander Angus Essenhigh. Since General Nguyen Chi Vinh and Lord Astor of Hever signed our first defence agreement in 2011 we have come far.
Danang People’s Committee, the Ministry of National Defence and the Vietnamese Navy were with us to welcome HMS Daring. We have reached this new milestone together.
The friendly visit of one of the world’s most technically advanced warships, which recently delivered medicine and water to the typhoon-damaged Philippines, shows our serious ambition for a stronger UK presence in South East Asia. We are building a partnership for peace, underpinned by international law, in the region and in the wider world.
I wish you a peaceful and happy Christmas!