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US Consul General lauds Vietnam relationship

By Minh Nga   July 23, 2020 | 05:12 pm PT
US Consul General lauds Vietnam relationship
U.S. aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt docks off Da Nang in central Vietnam for a visit March 5-9, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.
Vietnam has offered the U.S. "a stable, prosperous, and independent partner," says Consul General in HCMC Marie Damour as the two countries celebrate their 25th anniversary of relationship.

While their trade relation is "pretty good," the U.S. benefits from the ties with Vietnam in many different ways, she said at a panel discussion held in Ho Chi Minh City Thursday to mark the event.

"Vietnam has offered the U.S. a stable, prosperous, and independent partner in Southeast Asia that contributes to international peace and security, and to supporting the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as rules of the world trade system. All of those things contribute to the U.S.’s security," Damour said.

"When we say we view Vietnam as a critical partner, we genuinely mean that because without trusted partners like Vietnam, we would not be nearly as successful and economically stable."

Vietnam has probably been the most successful country in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, she said, noting also that the entire Vietnamese society had got involved, something she would like to see in the U.S.

Damour also said that ever since Vietnam entered its Doi Moi renovation process in 1986 and opened its economy to the world, the country has achieved "light-speed" development.

On July 11, 1995, former U.S. President Bill Clinton announced the normalization of relations between the two countries, 20 years after the end of the Vietnam War.

Twenty five years on, Vietnam and the U.S. are now comprehensive partners, with bilateral trade increasing from $450 million in 1994 to $77 billion in 2019. For several years, the U.S. has been Vietnam’s biggest export market, while Vietnam has been one of the U.S.’s fastest growing export markets.

Dam Bich Thuy, President of Fulbright University Vietnam, said at the discussion that she appreciated the people-to-people diplomacy of the U.S.

The U.S. really "knows how to deal with people," she said, adding that many young people in Vietnam have been dreaming of going to the country, a destination where it seems anything is possible.

The U.S. has a way to nourish such ideas, Thuy said. She also said that the relationship between the two nations has become so sustainable because "it so deeply rooted, rather than just some treaty or agreement that the two have signed with each other."

American soldiers from aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt paints the icon of U.S. and Vietnams 25th diplomatic relationship anniversary on the wall of a charity center in Da Nang during a visit on March 5, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.

American soldiers from aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt paint the icon of U.S. and Vietnam's 25th diplomatic relationship anniversary on the wall of a charity center in Da Nang during a visit on March 5, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong.

Nonpartisan support

Regarding the relationship between Vietnam and the U.S. in the near future, especially in the context of the upcoming presidential election in November, Consul General Damour said "there is support across the political spectrum in the U.S. for the relationship with Vietnam."

"The priorities that we’ve had with Vietnam are widely supported regardless of whether our congress-people are from the Democratic Party or the Republican Party.

"I don’t see much change regardless of who’s gonna sit in the White House," she said.

Nguyen Thanh Trung, director of the Center for International Studies (SCIS) at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, said that the ties between the two countries were on a firm footing.

"I think the relationship between Vietnam and the U.S. is on a track that is very hard to change, and I think it’s not dependent the decision of any individual. We have built so many things that we have to be on that track," he said.

Trung also said he does not think China was a factor in deciding where that Vietnam-U.S. relationship can reach.

It is more important that Vietnam and the U.S. can overcome challenges from both sides and share their common outlook and vision to take their bilateral ties further, he added.

In a statement issued by the nation’s Press Secretary on July 10 to commemorate 25 years of diplomatic relations, the U.S. congratulated Vietnam on its ASEAN chairmanship and announced that both countries had reached an agreement that would bring Peace Corps volunteers to Vietnam for the first time.

The U.S. also reaffirmed it will stand alongside Vietnam in support for the peaceful resolution of disputes, the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, and unimpeded commerce.

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