Vietnam and U.S. have reached a new point of relationship: John Kerry

May 24, 2016 | 06:21 am PT
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday the relationship between Vietnam and the United States have reached a new level.

“We have reached a new point in our relationship now,” he said.

The rising relationship with Vietnam is a prime example of the way in which the United States has been able to forge a new relationship out of the era of war and to create real peace, he added.

Obama on May 23 made a historic decision to lift the ban to sell lethal weapons to Vietnam, which has drawn special attention from the world.

But Kerry said it is normal that the U.S. lifts the lethal arms embargo on Vietnam because the U.S. does not impose the ban on the country which it treats normally. It will help Vietnam have equipment it needs to defend itself and stand up as part of ASEAN.

“Let me just emphasize that: measure this visit alone, major business agreements, Pratt & Whitney, Boeing, wind energy, the Fulbright University, the Peace Corp. coming to Vietnam, the Mekong Delta Initiative, TPP, it seems to me that that alone, without all the other things I have added, define the rebalance impact and a relationship that has really nothing less than transformational,” he said.

Following pacts worth $14.3 billion in total signed yesterday morning, Vietnamese and U.S. companies and agencies continued to ink 11 cooperation deals in the evening with energy being the main focus.

He admitted that the two countries, though, still have some differences that need to be resolved, but the two governments are aware of that and are working together to move their relationship forward. President Obama has met with some representatives of Vietnamese civil society on Tuesday, which Kerry said could not have been imagined 20 years ago. It is the first time a president from the U.S. has sat down and talked with the civil society in Vietnam’s capital, he said.

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