Vietnam central to new Indo-Pacific strategy: US envoy

By Hoang Thuy, Viet Anh   February 17, 2022 | 06:00 am PT
Ambassador Marc Knapper said Thursday that the U.S. highly valued Vietnam's role as well as cooperation with the country in five focus areas of the former's new Indo-Pacific strategy.

"The U.S. and Vietnam have a great relationship, developing in all aspects including security, trade, investment, climate change, health, people-to-people diplomacy, energy, science and technology," Knapper said in Hanoi on the sidelines of a conference on overcoming the post war landmines legacy.

He said that the U.S. highly appreciates the important role of Vietnam under its new Indo-Pacific Strategy, which was announced on Feb 11, including an outline of the future path in cooperation between the two countries.

The five focus points of the new strategy are the pursuit of a free and open Indo-Pacific, expanding cooperation, promoting prosperity, enhancing security and strengthening resilience of the region, he noted.

"We are working with Vietnam on all these aspects."

U.S ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper. Photo by VnExpress/Hieu Duy

U.S ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper. Photo by VnExpress/Hieu Duy

In its new Indo-Pacific Strategy, the U.S. said it will "strengthen relationships with leading regional partners, including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Pacific Islands."

It stressed that "a free and open Indo-Pacific can only be achieved if we build collective capacity for a new age."

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said at another press meet Thursday that Vietnam hoped initiatives in the Indo-Pacific will contribute to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region. Vietnam also desired to see respect for international law, the upholding of legitimate rights and interests of all countries, and ensuring ASEAN's central role in the evolving regional architecture.

Hang said Vietnam was interested in and wished to promote cooperation with the U.S. as well as all other partners in order to promote an effective response to the pandemic, boost economic recovery, tackle climate change and make headway in other fields to ensure peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

Knapper said he was proud of the long history of cooperation in the medical field with Vietnam, from dealing with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis to the fight against Covid-19. The U.S. has donated millions of vaccine doses and ventilators to Vietnam, he said.

"We have done this not because we expect a response from Vietnam, but because it's the right thing to do and we care about the Vietnamese people."

The U.S. Senate confirmed Knapper as the next ambassador to Vietnam on Dec. 18, a full eight months after his nomination by President Joe Biden.

He served as a political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Hanoi during 2004-2007.

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