US wants to help remove Vietnam from special watch list on religious freedom: ambassador

By VNA   April 14, 2023 | 06:07 pm PT
US wants to help remove Vietnam from special watch list on religious freedom: ambassador
US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc E. Knapper at a meeting in Hanoi, April 14, 2023. Photo by VNA
The U.S. Embassy wishes to cooperate with Vietnam to remove the Southeast Asian nation from the U.S.'s special watch list on religious freedom, Ambassador Marc Knapper said.

The ambassador, meeting Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Vu Chien Thang in Hanoi on Friday, said that the Vietnam-U.S. relationship has been expanded in various fields, and the two countries held candid, open talks over various issues and at different levels, recalling the long phone talks between Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Joe Biden last March.

Ten years since the establishment of the bilateral comprehensive partnership and 28 years since the normalization of the bilateral ties, representatives from the two countries have compared notes many times on issues of shared concern, including those relating to religious freedom, in a frank, open and respectful manner, the diplomat continued.

Knapper said he had served as the political counselor of the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam from 2004 to 2007. During that time, the embassy coordinated with Washington in removing Vietnam from the list of countries of particular concern regarding religious freedom.

This decision was made based on the U.S.’s objective assessment that Vietnam has made significant progress in creating conditions for religious followers to practice their belief and religion as they desire, he stressed.

Knapper said he was proud of Vietnam’s achievements in improving conditions for religious followers at that time, emphasizing that the country is also making progress in this regard.

The ambassador said the above-said watch list is not fixed but is reviewed annually, suggesting local authorities quickly take actions to help people facing difficulties in practicing their belief and religion.

He also urged Vietnam to simplify procedures for religious registration, proving its commitments to ensuring the freedom of belief and religion, and affirmed that the U.S. government wants to cooperate with the country in these efforts.

Vietnam should contact the embassy when it finds any inaccurate information in the U.S.’s report on religious freedom, Knapper suggested, noting that the bilateral exchange channel always opens.

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