Positive progresses in Vietnam – US comprehensive partnership

Vietnam and the US will celebrate their 25th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations on July 12, 2020. The last quarter-century has witnessed the two countries’ efforts to build and consolidate their comprehensive partnership and cooperation for mutual interest, in line with the spirit of the Vietnam – US Joint Vision Statement: “putting aside the past, overcoming differences and promoting similarities; and looking towards the future”.

US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink (Photo: VNA)
US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink (Photo: VNA)

Shared commitment for peace and prosperity

US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink has described the progresses seen in the US- Vietnam relationship over the past 25 years as “extraordinary.” According to the Ambassador, the ties of trust and friendship have provided a foundation for the bilateral relationship.

He recalled the year 1995, when US President Bill Clinton announced the normalisation of US diplomatic relations with Vietnam, the two countries had nearly no trade and very limited people-to-people connections.

Setting aside their differences, the peoples of the two countries have moved forward as friends instead of foes and worked together to promote trust, friendship and cooperation with a shared commitment to peace and prosperity.

He noted that veterans and their families on both sides were among the first to face the past and start building the bridges that allowed our governments to successfully interact. Americans and Vietnamese began working together to address humanitarian issues and the legacies of war years before the normalisation of relations.

Since 1988, American and Vietnamese teams have partnered to recover our fallen soldiers. Since 1989, the US has provided over US$113 million to assist people with disabilities in Vietnam. Since 1993, the US has contributed over US$130 million to help Vietnam remove unexploded ordnances (UXOs).

According to the diplomat, the two side also took early steps to build people-to-people ties, opening the Fulbright program in 1992, followed by the establishment of the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP) in 1994. Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) has helped to unlock the tremendous potential of Vietnam’s education sector. Established in 2000, the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) provided nearly 600 scholarships for Vietnamese students to receive master’s degrees and PhDs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Every year, tens of thousands of young Vietnamese citizens study at universities in the US. They contribute to the academic excellence of the US campuses, and they return to Vietnam ready to contribute to the growing economy.

Regarding bilateral economic relation, the US Ambassador noted with pleasure that from almost no trade 26 years ago, the two countries have reached over US$77 billion in two-way trade today. Major US firms have invested billions both in Vietnam’s manufacturing sector and in its infrastructure, he said, while expressing his belief that the collaborative work to ensure the free and fair flow of goods and investment between the two countries will continue to contribute to mutual prosperity.

In conclusion, Ambassador Kritenbrink stated that the shared progress in the US-Vietnam relations is indeed remarkable, but it was no accident. The achievements have been built on the courage, goodwill, and painstaking work of those who came before, he explained, stressing that today’s generations have a responsibility to continue building the ties of trust and friendship that are the foundation of the bilateral relationship.

Promoting potential and room for Vietnam – US cooperation

Positive progresses in Vietnam – US comprehensive partnership ảnh 1

Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Ha Kim Ngoc

In an interview granted to Nhan Dan (People) Newspaper, Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Ha Kim Ngoc highlighted the significant outcomes and prospects of bilateral cooperation.

He emphasised that Vietnam and the US have reaped impressive achievements over the past 25 years, illustrating the political determination of the two countries’ leaders as well as the strong support of the two peoples.

He stated that the bilateral ties have been built on the basis of respect for the United Nations Charter and each other’s political systems, independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. These principles have been reflected consistently in bilateral documents as well as across the fields of cooperation between the two countries.

In addition to maintaining high-level visits, the two sides have established many cooperative mechanism and dialogues.

Partnerships in economics, trade, and investment have become a bright spot of bilateral relations over the last 25 years, he said, adding that two-way trade rose more than 170 times from US$450 million in 1995 to US$77.6 billion in 2019. The US is currently the biggest importer of Vietnamese goods.

In addition, defence-security cooperation has also seen solid progress, expanding from addressing war consequences to military medicine training, humanitarian aid, peace-keeping, anti-terrorism and cyber security.

People-to-people exchanges have been fostered with more than 800,000 Americans visiting Vietnam annually and that more than 31,000 Vietnamese students studying in the US.

Over the past quarter century, the Vietnam-US relations have not only benefited the peoples of the two countries but have also contributed to the maintenance of peace, stability, cooperation and respect for the rule of law in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.

Ambassador Ngoc warned that the regional and global situation has seen rapid and complicated developments with both traditional and non-traditional security challenges, and thus stressed the need for Vietnam and the US to step up cooperation in addressing common challenges.

Effective signs of cooperation have been seen in addressing the consequences of COVID-19 and reviving the two economies after the epidemic.

The two sides have strengthened coordination at regional and international multilateral forums, including the United Nations, ASEAN, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+), the East Asia Summit (EAS), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC). The cooperation has been even more evident this year with Vietnam assuming the ASEAN Chairmanship and a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council (UNSC), he noted.

He stressed that Vietnam wants to further promote the potential and room for further cooperation with the US.

Ambassador Ngoc expressed his belief that the Vietnam – US relations will be further lifted to new heights with determination and goodwill from both sides

Important milestones in Vietnam – US relations:

1995: Vietnamese Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet and US President Bill Clinton announced the “normalisation of relations” in bilateral ties (July 12).

2000: US President Bill Clinton paid an official visit to Vietnam from November 16 to 19.

2005: Prime Minister Phan Van Phai paid an official visit to the US from June 19 to 25.

2006: US President George W. Bush paid an official visit to Vietnam and attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ meeting from November 17 to 20.

2007: President Nguyen Minh Triet paid an official visit to the US from June 18 to 23.

2008: Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung paid an official visit to the US from June 23 to 26.

2013: President Truong Tan Sang paid an official visit to the US from July 24 to 26.

2015: Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong paid an official visit to the US from July 6 to 10. National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung paid an official visit to the US from August 31 to September 9.

2016: President Barrack Obama paid an official visit to Vietnam from May 22 to 25.

2017: Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc paid an official visit to the US and attended the 40th anniversary of Vietnam’s membership to the United Nations from May 29 to 31. President Donald Trump paid a State visit to Vietnam and attended the APEC Summit from November 11 to 12.

2018: Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the high-level General Debate of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 73) in New York, the US, from September 26 to 27.

2019: Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc held separate meetings with US President Donald Trump on February 27 on the sideline of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)-USA Summit in Vietnam.

2020: Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc held phone talks with US President Donald Trump on May 6 to discuss cooperation in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.