US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Vietnam

By Vu Anh   April 14, 2023 | 07:56 am PT
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Vietnam
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, April 14, 2023. Photo by Hoang Phong
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Hanoi Friday night to begin his three-day visit to Vietnam per an invitation by Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son.

This is Blinken's first visit to Vietnam as a Secretary of State. He had already visited Vietnam in 2015 and 2016 as the Deputy Secretary of State under the Obama administration.

Blinken is expected to meet with General Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, and have talks with Son.

He would also attend the opening ceremony for the construction of the U.S. Embassy complex in Cau Giay District, as well as meeting students, teachers and scientists at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology

Vietnam and the U.S. normalized their relations in 1995, then upgraded their relationship to a comprehensive partnership in 2013.

The two countries' bilateral trade turnover reached over $123.86 billion in 2022, an 11% increase from 2021. The U.S. is also the largest export market and the second largest commercial partner for Vietnam.

Direct foreign investments from the U.S. to Vietnam reached over $11 billion, accounting for over 1,200 projects, placing it at 11th place among all countries and territories that invest directly into Vietnam. There are around 30,000

Vietnamese students studying in the U.S., contributing $1 billion to the country's economy.

The two countries' defense and security cooperation continues to strengthen, with the U.S. transferring two Hamilton-class vessels to Vietnam in 2017 and 2021. U.S. ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper in April last year said the U.S. was ready to transfer a third Hamilton-class vessel to Vietnam, but did not mention a specific time frame.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said humanitarian cooperation and efforts to resolve the consequences of war between the two countries are also a high priority.

The U.S. has continued to increase the budget for the decontamination of toxins at the Bien Hoa Airport, as well as aiding disabled people in regions contaminated by Agent Orange, among other support.

In March, General Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong had a dialogue with U.S. President Joe Biden, where Trong requested the two countries make economic, science and tech cooperation central to their relationship.

Biden meanwhile affirmed that Vietnam is an important partner to the U.S.

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