|Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son (R) and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell (Photo: Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Deputy FM Son applauded practical developments in the two countries’ relations, particularly in trade and economic cooperation while suggesting both countries step up cooperation in other fields such as science, technology, education, security, and dense and settling the war consequences.
He hailed the remarkable progress in bilateral economic and trade ties, with the US being Vietnam’s largest export market and Vietnam emerging as one of the fastest-growing importers of the US, with an annual growth of close to 20%.
In his remarks, Stilwell said that the US respects the comprehensive partnership with Vietnam and supports a strong, independent, and prosperous Vietnam. He agreed that priorities should be given to economic, trade, and investment cooperation which will be the momentum for the comprehensive partnership. He said his nation will help Vietnam to resolve the consequences of war, including a project on dioxin remediation at Bien Hoa airbase.
“That we are standing here today celebrating 25 years of normalized relations is proof that we are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. We have the ability to overcome resentment, distrust, and bitterness and replace them with trust, respect, and cooperation. The United States and Vietnam have again proven that former adversaries can become trusted partners. And as much as that achievement matters to us, it is also a profound and timely lesson to the rest of the world.
The time has come to look ahead, and to understand that our friendship is no longer shaped by what was. Rather, it is shaped by what can be and our shared future together, rooted in mutual respect and cooperation,” he said.
The US wants to boost cooperation with Vietnam in the Lower Mekong Initiative, at regional forums, and particularly during Vietnam’s 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship and 2020-2021 UN Security Council non-permanent membership term.
“Today, we are working hand-in-hand to address a range of challenges in the Mekong region, ASEAN, and the Indo-Pacific writ large -including regional security, wildlife and drug trafficking, and transnational crime.
We are eager to support Vietnam as it assumes positions of global leadership next year, from joining the United Nations Security Council for a two-year non-permanent term to chairing ASEAN during a pivotal time in the organization’s history,” the US diplomat said.
He also repeated the US policy of maintaining security, safety, freedom of navigation and aviation, and unimpeded trade in the East Sea. The US supports the settlement of disputes in the East Sea by peaceful means in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The same day, the two diplomats attended a ceremony to debut the logo of the 25th anniversary of Vietnam – US diplomatic ties, the first in a string of events celebrating the occasion.
The logo, designed by a Hanoi artist and selected in a nationwide contest, will be used by both the US Embassy and the Vietnamese government to celebrate the 25th anniversary of US-Vietnam bilateral relations next year.
At the event, the US Embassy in Vietnam screened a video clip featuring US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s message congratulating the anniversary celebration.