|Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang
The visit seeks to accelerate the implementation of defence cooperation agreements signed between the two defence ministries and officials towards fostering the Vietnam-US Comprehensive Partnership, Hang said, adding that the all-around partnership has grown steadily across a variety of fiels in recent times, including security and defence cooperation.
Both sides have pushed for stronger bilateral defence links, including maritime security cooperation and enhancement of maritime law enforcement capacity as a contribution to maintaining peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world, the official stressed.
This is the first official visit to Vietnam by Esper as US Secretary of Defense at the invitation of Defence Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich.
During his stay, Esper held talks with Defence Minister Lich, during which the two sides consented to bolster cooperation in line with the contents of the memorandum of understanding on promoting defence collaboration signed in 2011, the joint vision statement on defence cooperation inked in 2015 and the cooperation plan for 2018-2020 between the two defence ministries, with a particular focus on delegation exchange, consultation and dialogue mechanisms and joint work to deal with post-war consequences.
The US is one of Vietnam's major partners in efforts in addressing post-war consequences alongside other countries such as Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the UK, as well as international organisations like the UN Development Programme and the UN Children's Fund, Hang said.
The Defence Ministry of Vietnam and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) finalized detoxification at Da Nang airport, and the US pledged to continue funding for dioxin remediation at Bien Hoa airport.
The two nations will also further augment cooperation in searching for missing-in-action servicemen, the official added.