Fri. May 27th, 2022

The Vietnamese Ambassador to the US, Nguyen Quoc Cuong, has appealed for
a new Vietnam-US partnership framework to be agreed during President
Truong Tan Sang’s upcoming American visit from July 24-26.

In
a recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency, the ambassador said:
“Nearly one decade has passed since the two nations established the
current framework of constructive, friendly partnership and
multi-faceted cooperation on the basis of equality, mutual respect and
benefit.”

“I believe that in light of the strong existing
relations we share and the potential to strengthen them further, it is
time to define a new bilateral partnership framework.”

The diplomat expressed his wish that Presidents Sang and Obama will discuss the content of such an agreement.

He said Sang’s trip will be only the second official visit made by a
Vietnamese head of State in nearly two decades since the normalising of
ties with the US, and the first exchange of high-level delegations in
five years. He remarked that the visit has come at a time when the two
nations are diversifying their exchange channels in the drive for
development.

Cuong added that the visit is a product of
Vietnam’s foreign policy of independence, self-control,
multilateralisation and diversification of international relations,
affirming the country as a friend and trustworthy partner in the
international community.

In addition to talks with US President
Barack Obama, Sang will also work with Congress leaders and meet
politicians, business figures, scholars, leaders of international
organisations and Vietnamese expatriates in the US.

During the
meetings, Vietnamese and US leaders will discuss global and regional
issues of mutual interest and plan the next stages in their
co-operation, which is already built on a firm foundation, to make
bilateral ties deeper and more stable, Cuong said.

Over
nearly past 20 years, the two nations have held high-level meetings on
the fringes of international conferences. They have also worked closely
and effectively at regional and global forums, especially the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the ASEAN Regional Forum
(ARF), the East Asia Summit (EAS) and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’
Meeting Plus (ADMM+).

Economically, the US has been the largest
importer of Vietnamese goods since 2005 with a 100-fold increase in its
imports within the last nearly two decades. Last year, 400,000 Americans
visited Vietnam for business and tourism.

Nearly 16,000
Vietnamese students are pursuing education in the US, doubling the
figure of 2008 and more than any other Southeast Asian nation. It has
the eighth highest number of US enrollments in the world.

Referring to the aftermath of the American War, Cuong conceded that
Vietnam suffered huge losses of life and property during the war. He
said that with the existing resources, it will take another 100 years
for the country to clear all unexploded bombs, mines and ordnance left
from the war in cities and provinces nationwide.

Despite this,
Vietnam is still working unconditionally with the US to find missing
soldiers as one of its humanitarian activities, Cuong said.

By
May 2013, Vietnam had helped the US identify 693 out of 1,983 missing
servicemen and women. The US has also assisted Vietnam in locating,
identifying and returning the remains of about 1,000 missing Vietnamese
soldiers.

According to the ambassador, Vietnam appreciates the
growing cooperation and support that the US government, individuals and
organisations are providing to offer social and medical assistance to
the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange (AO)/dioxin. He expressed his
hope that the US side will work harder on this humanitarian issue.

As for democracy and human rights, he acceded that there remain
differences in approach between the countries, yet it is important that
the two sides stand ready to talk clearly and honestly to enhance mutual
understanding and bridge the differences.

In this spirit, “we
are ready to discuss the topics of democracy, human rights and religious
freedom during President Sang’s visit,” the diplomat said.

“Only friendship and equal and mutually-beneficial cooperation, in line
with the United Nations Charter and international law, and respect for
each other’s political institution, independence, sovereignty and
territorial integrity are the best way to move Vietnam-US relations
forward, achieving the common interests of the two peoples,” the
ambassador stressed.-VNA

By vivian