On occasion of the United States' Independence Day on July 4, Viet Nam News presents an article written by US Ambassador to Viet Nam David B Shear.
|US Ambassador to Viet Nam David B Shear.
Today the United States of America celebrates the 236th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
This month we also mark 17 years since the normalisation of ties between the United States and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. It is a fitting moment to take stock of just how far our relations have progressed, on a number of fronts including trade, education, health, security and people-to-people exchanges.
When I arrived in Ha Noi to be the US Ambassador last August, I noted that I see it as a priority of my term as Ambassador to further deepen the economic ties between our two countries. Two-way trade last year surpassed US$22 billion, which represents nearly a 50-fold increase since 1995.
We continue to work with Viet Nam and other negotiating partners on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 21st century trade agreement that has the potential to create jobs and boost incomes for people on both sides of the Pacific. TPP is an ambitious undertaking, as we are seeking commitments that are at least as strong as those in any agreement we have negotiated previously. Through TPP, the United States, Viet Nam and our partners can shape the future for trade and investment in the region.
The United States and Viet Nam are working together with regional partners through the Lower Mekong Initiative to fight climate change and strengthen health co-operation. Next week, Secretary of State Clinton will return to Ha Noi for her third time in two years to reaffirm our commitment to engagement in Viet Nam and the region, a striking symbol of how far our friendship has progressed.
Our people-to-people ties continue to grow. Tourists from both our countries are criss-crossing the Pacific in ever greater numbers. The number of Vietnamese students enrolled in US universities has surpassed 15,000. Furthermore, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Fulbright Programme in Viet Nam. Over the past 20 years, more than 1,000 Vietnamese students, teachers and scholars have travelled to the US for advanced study and research under this programme.
|Seat of power: A view of Capitol Hill in Washington, a symbol of the United States. — File Photo
Since our last Independence Day, the US and Viet Nam have continued to broaden and deepen co-operation in the area of regional peace and stability. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta visited Cam Ranh Bay and Ha Noi last month, reinforcing America's interest in strengthening ties with Viet Nam and the Asia-Pacific region.
Of course, the true measure of a relationship is not how you act when you agree, but how you act when you do not. Our growing bond, anchored on mutual respect, allows us to discuss areas of disagreement like human rights. This, perhaps more than anything, demonstrates our commitment to a long-term, multifaceted relationship.
Looking ahead, I am filled with great optimism for the relationship between the United States and Viet Nam, a friendship that will continue to flourish and deepen in the interest of both our peoples. — VNS