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Historical milestones in Việt Nam-US relations

VIETNAM, September 10 - HÀ NỘI — High-level visits of Vietnamese and US leaders have motivated the growth of Việt Nam-US bilateral relations on the foundation of mutual benefit, equality and respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty and political institution.

The year 2023 is an important milestone in the Việt Nam-US relations, as the two countries celebrate the 10th anniversary of their comprehensive partnership, and US President Joe Biden is making an official visit to Việt Nam following Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng’s invitation from September 10-11.

Commenting on the significance of the visits by senior leaders of the two countries in recent years, Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Phạm Thu Hằng said that the Việt Nam-US relationship is to continue to develop in a stable, substantial and long-term manner in all fields.

Twenty-eight years since the two countries officially established diplomatic relations, visits by senior leaders of the two sides have left important imprints on bilateral relations, enabling the two countries to put the past aside, overcome differences, promote similarities, and move into the future on a win-win basis.

Today, Việt Nam-US relations have shown comprehensive and practical developments, positively contributing to security, peace, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

In November 2001, Bill Clinton made a visit to Việt Nam, becoming the first US President to pay an official visit to Việt Nam. He is considered an important contributor to the process of normalizing the bilateral relations both during and after his office tenure.

In June 2005, Prime Minister Phan Văn Khải visited the US at the invitation of President George W. Bush. This was the first time that a Vietnamese Government leader had visited the US since the war ended.

In following years, the two countries exchanged many high-level visits, including those by US President George W. Bush in November 2006, Vietnamese President Nguyễn Minh Triết in June 2007, and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng in June 2008.

In July 2013 during the US visit by President Trương Tấn Sang at the invitation of US President Barack Obama, the two sides set up a comprehensive partnership, shaping the framework for bilateral relations for a new period and development orientations of their ties in following years.

The important foundation for the development of the Việt Nam-US comprehensive partnership is both sides' commitment to fundamental principles such as to respect independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and equal and win-win cooperation on the basis of international law.

On this foundation, the two sides have continued to strengthen the political and diplomatic relations through visits at high and all levels, enhancing the mutual understanding and deepening the bilateral ties.

Notably, Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng visited the US in 2015, and US President Barack Obama visited Việt Nam in 2016. Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc made a visit to the US in 2017. US President Donald Trump visited Việt Nam twice in 2017 and 2019. In 2021, US Vice President Kamala Harris paid a visit to Việt Nam, and in May 2022, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính visited the US.

“We’ve just agreed to direct our agencies and people to engage in developing our comprehensive relations, whether it is in politics, diplomacy, trade, science, technology, education, health, environment, or climate change response. We will coordinate multilaterally on defence and security," Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng said at the Oval Office in the White House on July 7, 2015.

During their telephone talks in March 2023, Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng and US President Joe Biden repeated their invitation to each other. At the talks, Biden described Việt Nam is an important partner, affirmed his support for an independent, self-reliant and prosperous Việt Nam, and reaffirmed his respect for the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and political institution of Việt Nam. He agreed that this respect is an important foundation for relations between the two countries.

Biden’s two-day visit, starting today, will be another historical milestone in bilateral relations. The two sides are scheduled to discuss a wide range of issues of shared concern. These include promoting Vietnamese economic growth with focus on technology and innovation, expanding the ties between the two peoples through education exchange and workforce development programmes, responding to climate change, and strengthening peace, prosperity and stability in the region.

In his recent greetings to Việt Nam on the occasion of the National Day, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “I look forward to President Biden’s historic visit to Hà Nội on September 10 to celebrate all we have achieved together and to plan for our shared future.”

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Việt Nam Marc Knapper has told the media that the State visit by President Biden aims to spread a message that the two sides commit to bringing about prosperity and confidence to each other, and that the US hopes to prove that this relationship is meaningful and important for the people in Việt Nam and the US as well.

In his greetings sent to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Việt Nam-US comprehensive partnership on July 26, Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn affirmed that the anniversary is a chance for the two sides to discuss specific steps towards a brighter future, with Việt Nam considering the US as one of its important partners.

Along with the sound political relations, economy-trade ties have been one of the most successful fields in the Việt Nam-US relationship. The US is currently Việt Nam’s largest trade partner. Two-way trade rose over 240 times to more than US$130 billion in 2022 from $451 million in 1995.

In terms of investment, the US has been one of the biggest investors in Việt Nam with nearly 1,150 underway projects, and a total investment capital of over $10.3 billion, ranking 11th out of 141 economies investing in Việt Nam.

Meanwhile, humanitarian cooperation and collaboration in overcoming war aftermaths have continued to receive high priority and generated results. The US has joined hands with Việt Nam in carrying out a dioxin detoxification project in Biên Hoà airport, while supporting persons with disabilities in dioxin polluted areas in Việt Nam, and providing aid to projects to clear bombs and mines as well as search, repatriate and verify the remains of Vietnamese soldiers who died during the war. Việt Nam has assisted the US in searching for US service members missing in action (MIA) and handed over to the US side 733 sets of remains of US missing soldiers.

The Vietnamese Government has affirmed the willingness to coordinate closely with the US to beef up the bilateral ties in a deep, wide and substantial manner, especially in trade, investment, technology and innovation for the benefit of both peoples, and contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and sustainable development in the region and the world.

Việt Nam will continue to support the US in actively and responsibly cooperating with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, including within the framework of regional mechanisms such as the ASEAN-US comprehensive strategic partnership, the Mekong-US partnership, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. — VNS