Vietnam, US eye new level of partnership when conditions allow

By Vu Anh, Nguyen Tien   August 17, 2023 | 06:02 am PT
Vietnam, US eye new level of partnership when conditions allow
Vietnam and the U.S. upgraded diplomatic ties to Comprehensive Partnership in 2013. Graphics by VnExpress/Hoang Khanh
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Vietnam and the U.S. are deepening their dynamic and robust cooperation efforts, making "progress towards new level of relations when conditions are right."

"The comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and the U.S. has developed profoundly in recent years, with effective and practical progress having been made in both bilateral relations and multilateral mechanisms in all fields," foreign ministry spokesperson Pham Thu Hang told the press on Thursday.

"The two sides are discussing measures to further deepen the Vietnam-U.S. relationship in the direction of stability and substantiality, heading towards a new level of relations when conditions are right in order to contribute to ensuring peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region as well as in the world," she said.

Vietnam-U.S. relations were normalized in 1995 and were upgraded to a Comprehensive Partnership in 2013.

Economic and developmental ties between the two states already run deep and are growing even stronger.

Bilateral trade between the two states was worth more than US$123.86 billion last year, up 11% from 2021.

The U.S. is Vietnam's largest export market and its second largest trading partner, while Vietnam is the eighth largest trading partner for the U.S.

U.S. investment in Vietnam has topped $11 billion, the 11th highest of any country or territory.

Education and training have also been an important part of the friendship the two countries share as every year some 25,000 Vietnamese students study abroad in the U.S.

In terms of security cooperation, the U.S. recently handed over to the Vietnamese Coast Guard two Hamilton-class vessels, the second-largest class of vessels in the U.S. Coast Guard, under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program.

The two sides have prioritized humanitarian cooperation, overcoming the consequences of war, and completing dioxin decontamination at the Da Nang and Bien Hoa airports.

Vietnam has helped facilitate the U.S. search for U.S. soldiers who went missing in action during the Vietnam War and has so far returned the remains of more than 730 service members to the U.S.

In March, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong had a phone conversation with President Joe Biden. Trong suggested the two countries focus on economic, scientific and technological cooperation as the driving forces in their relationship. Biden stated that Vietnam is an important U.S. partner, and that the U.S. supports an "independent, self-sufficient and prosperous" Vietnam.

In April, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Vietnam on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Comprehensive Partnership between the two nations.

Upon receiving Blinken, General Secretary Trong said recent positive developments in the two countries' increasingly close and mutually beneficial ties would be the foundation for continuing to raise relations to new heights.

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