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Vietnam, US establish comprehensive strategic partnership

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Vietnam and the U.S. announced the establishment of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for peace, cooperation and sustainable development on Sunday.

The decision to upgrade Vietnam-U.S. relations was stated in the announcement of the Central Party Commission for External Relations, following a meeting between General Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Joe Biden, who arrived in Hanoi Sunday afternoon for a two-day state visit.

“For the benefit of people of the two countries, and the desire to strengthen cooperation for the goals of peace, cooperation and sustainable development in the new context, Vietnam welcomes the two countries establishing relations at a new level, a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for peace, cooperation and sustainable development,” Trong said in the announcement.

The Vietnamese leader emphasized that Vietnam’s consistent foreign policy focuses on independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation and development, diversification and multilateralization of foreign relations; being proactive and active in comprehensive international integration.

He said Vietnam adheres to the “four nos” defense policy, which means no partaking in military alliances, no siding with one country to act against another, no foreign military bases in the Vietnamese territory or using Vietnam as leverage to counteract other countries, and no using force or threatening to use force in international relations.

Regarding complex situations and international conflicts, Vietnam wants parties to hold dialogues and resolve them peacefully by respecting the basic principles of international law and the United Nations Charter, he said.

“I hope that through this important and meaningful visit, Mr. President, his delegates and all of you will have a chance to witness a Vietnam being innovative, dynamic, with a long civilization and history, and to feel the friendliness, welcoming and love for peace of the Vietnamese people,” he told the press after the meeting with Biden.

He said Vietnam appreciates the U.S.’s support for Vietnam and ASEAN’s stance on matters related to the East Sea (South China Sea), requesting the U.S. to continue its support and actively contribute to promoting peace, security, cooperation, ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight and the legitimate interests of countries in the East Sea, going against the use of force or threat of it, avoiding actions that contravene international law and resolving disputes by peaceful means.

Trong said during the meeting that Vietnam had cooperated with the United States to fight fascism during World War II. President Ho Chi Minh had quoted part of the U.S. Declaration of Independence in the opening of Vietnam’s Declaration of Independence, sending a letter to the U.S. Government requesting to establish full relations with the U.S. However, the relationship between the two countries then went through ups and downs, especially the longest and harshest war in the 20th century after WWII. He said that since the two countries normalized relations in 1995, especially after establishing the Comprehensive Partnership in 2013, the relationship has developed strongly, deeply, substantially and effectively.

The Vietnamese leader said those past milestones were important foundations for the countries to establish a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for peace, cooperation and sustainable development.

Appreciating Biden paying a visit on the occasion of the countries’ 10-year anniversary of establishing Comprehensive Partnership, Trong recalled fond memories of his exchange with Biden, then U.S. vice president, when he visited the U.S. in July 2015. He appreciated the recent dialogues exchanged between the two leaders.

During their meeting Sunday, Trong and Biden agreed that the most important factors for the development of Vietnam – U.S. relations are full respect for basic principles that guide the two countries’ relations, including respect for the United Nations Charter, international law and each other’s political institutions, independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

“We emphasized that mutual understanding, the understanding of each other’s circumstances, respect for each other’s legitimate interests and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs are basic principles and always important in the two countries’ relations and international affairs,” Trong said

He said Vietnam highly appreciates the U.S.’s assertion that it supports Vietnam to be “strong, independent, self-reliant and prosperous.”

He emphasized a number of major directions to promote Vietnam – U.S. relations, including continuing to strengthen mutual understanding, implementing the guiding principles, creating long-term stability, conducting high-level meetings and cooperation between sectors and levels, and people-to-people exchanges.

“The scope of the new partnership inherits the existing cooperation between the two countries and bring it to a new high, with the promotion of economic, trade and investment cooperation in the direction of innovation being the foundation, focus and motivation of the relations,” Trong said, adding that enhancing cooperation in science and technology is a breakthrough in the new partnership.

Biden expressed joy to visit Vietnam and emphasized that his visit has historical significance not only for the relationship between the two countries, but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the world, stating the United States’ viewpoint on supporting an open, stable, secure, connected and prosperous region.

“Today we can trace 50 years of progress in the relationship between our nations, from conflict to normalization, to this new elevated status that will a force for prosperity, security in one of the most consequential regions in the world,” he said.

The U.S. leader emphasized the importance of Vietnam’s role and position in the region, appreciating its active role in many regional and global issues, including responding to climate change. The president affirmed his support for ASEAN’s central role and his desire to cooperate with Vietnam to contribute to ASEAN’s solidarity and prosperity.

He said the establishment of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is essential to both Vietnam and the U.S., demonstrating the strength of the bilateral relations in a time the countries have to deal with challenges that can cause great impacts to regional and global relations.

Biden emphasized that the South China Sea has an important position in international prosperity and stability. He also stated the United States’ appreciation to the goals of the Indo-Pacific Economic Cooperation Framework.

He expressed his appreciation for Vietnam’s achievements in development, contributions to international work and the leadership role of General Secretary Trong. He expressed his support for Vietnam’s development, including economic and scientific-technological cooperation in the new period, the development of the electronics industry and response to climate change, and clean energy development.

Mentioning a Vietnamese company that signed a $4 billion contract last year to build an EV and battery factory in North Carolina and create 7,000 jobs, the president said there will be more important commercial deals signed during his visit.

He said he is also proud of the ways the two countries have built mutual trust and understanding in dealing with war legacies, which showed how much the two countries can achieve by leaving the painful past behind and looking forward to the future of progess, based on mutual agreement and solidarity.

Biden became the fifth U.S. president to visit Vietnam since the countries normalized relations.

Economic cooperation has been a focus in the two countries’ relations.

Bilateral trade turnover reached over $123.86 billion in 2022, an 11% increase from 2021. The U.S. is Vietnam’s largest export market and its second-largest commercial partner. Vietnam is the seventh-largest commercial partner for the U.S.

Direct foreign investments from the U.S. to Vietnam reached over $11 billion, accounting for over 1,200 projects, placing it at 11th place among all countries and territories that invest directly into Vietnam.

The countries have also reinforced their collaborations in dealing with war legacies.

The U.S. made financial and technical contribution to complete dioxin cleanup at Da Nang Aiport and is working on clearance at Bien Hoa Airport. Vietnam and the U.S. have also worked to repatriate the remains of 733 U.S. soldiers missing in Vietnam during the war.

By Nhu Tam- – September 10, 2023 

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