VOV.VN - There are six reasons behind the success of United States President Joe Biden’s recent trip to Vietnam, which has been described as historic in the relations between the two sides, according to Pham Phu Phuc, a journalist and analyst of international issues.
Phuc, who worked in the US for several years, granted an exclusive interview to VOV.VN, shedding light on bilateral ties following the lifting of their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership, as well as factors in making President Biden’s visit historic. Following are excerpts from the interview:
VOV: What do you think of both countries deciding to upgrade their ties?
Journalist Phuc: Well, bilateral relations between Vietnam and the US have been fostered across various fields since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1995, especially since the establishment of their comprehensive partnership in 2013. It’s time now to take ties to a new level, particularly because of Vietnam’s increasing role and position in the world, as well as rapid and unpredictable changes occurring in the Asia-Pacific region and the world in general. This requires extensive cooperation and constructive contributions of every country in the world.
VOV: How significant is the lifting of joint relations given the current context?
Journalist Phuc: President Biden said on September 10 that the upgrade of relations would be beneficial to both countries and peoples, as well as to global peace and stability in general.
On the economy, the upgraded partnership will certainly help to promote US investment flows into the Vietnamese market, whilst of course it will enable Vietnam to gain access to scientific and technological advances of the US and the West. Currently, Vietnam is the US’ seventh largest trading partner with more than US$130 billion in trade exchanges last year, and the figure will certainly be much higher soon. The new partnership will also open the door for many other Vietnamese products to enter the US market.
Politically, the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership will serve to create strategic trust between the two sides. That is the US’ affirmation that it will respect Vietnamese independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity which is an extremely important issue for Vietnam.
With regard to security, the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership will in some ways contribute to Vietnam maintaining national independence and sovereignty amid unpredictable changes occurring both regionally and globally. By lifting their ties to the highest level, the two sides will share strategic information and interests.
In fact, the lifting of bilateral relations to the comprehensive strategic partnership level requires both countries to take into account a range of issues. Vietnam has so far established its comprehensive strategic partnership with China (2008), Russia (2012), Japan (2014), India (2016), the Republic of Korea (2022), and the US the latest.
VOV: During high-level talks in Hanoi on September 10, the two sides agreed to upgrade their relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for peace, cooperation, and sustainable development. How can we understand the phrase ‘for peace, cooperation and sustainable development’?
Journalist Phuc: This is a very important phrase which speaks for itself. That is the goal the two countries will strive for throughout the process of implementing the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The US will help Vietnam maintain lasting peace and strengthen cooperation between the two sides in a sustainable manner. A prosperous Vietnam will benefit the US, as mentioned by President Biden. This is a very specific, realistic, and feasible goal, I think.
Indeed, Vietnamese economic and military capacity remains much lower than that of the US. Once both sides are comprehensive strategic partners, it is the responsibility of the two to raise the level of that relationship. That goal must therefore meet the expectations of both Vietnam and the US, because a strong, mighty Vietnam is also in the US’ interest, and the US is also set to benefit from it.
VOV: What will bilateral relations be like following the upgrade of their ties?
Journalist Phuc: There will be no obstacles or few obstacles to bilateral relations. Of course, the new partnership will develop very quickly and strongly. Looking on the bright side, it will probably go beyond the expectations that many people have.
On the economy for instance, many leading US businesses accompanied President Biden to Vietnam to sound out market opportunities. I believe that Vietnam will become a very important link in the economic and technological supply chain of the US and the world in general moving forward.
I also think that the new comprehensive strategic partnership will entail greater cooperation between the US and Vietnam, as well as with other countries in Southeast Asia, the Asia-Pacific region, and more broadly many other countries and organisations.
VOV: US media outlets described President Biden’s visit as historic. How can we perceive this comment?
Journalist Phuc: Not only the US media, but also international press described his visit as historic for the following reasons:
Firstly, since the two countries normalised relations in 1995, all US presidents have come to Vietnam during their terms. This is rarely seen in the relationship between the US and any country that is not an ally of the US.
Secondly, this is the first State visit to Vietnam by an incumbent president of the US at the invitation of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam. It is unprecedented.
Thirdly, both the President and Vice President of the US have come to Vietnam during the same term.
Fourthly, the trip coincides with the 10th anniversary of Vietnam-US partnership. Also during this visit, the two sides announced the upgrade of ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
Fifthly, this visit testifies the commitments made by the US President himself, that the US respects the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political institutions of Vietnam, whilst it does not interfere into Vietnam’s internal affairs.
Finally, the lifting of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries shows their joint efforts in realising President Ho Chi Minh’s wish in his letter sent to former US President Harry S. Truman in 1946 that Vietnam hopes to have a full cooperative relationship with the US.