HA NOI — Viet Nam's top leaders yesterday received US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said she saw Viet Nam's increasingly important role in the Lower Mekong sub-Region and Southeast Asia.
|Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong welcomes US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. — VNA/VNS Photo Tri Dung
Clinton is on her third visit to the country in three years as America's top diplomat, before heading to Cambodia later this week for an annual security meeting that will include foreign ministers from 25 Asia-Pacific nations and the European Union.
In her meeting with Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Clinton expressed her joy to be back in Viet Nam.
Strong development between the two countries in economics, trade, education and training were encouraging American enterprises to invest in Viet Nam, she said.
The Party leader said he was also happy with the advancement of bilateral ties since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1995.
The US was an important partner of Viet Nam, said Trong, who suggested more co-operation in economics, trade, investment, technology, education and training, the environment and climate change mitigation.
In the meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Clinton spoke highly of Viet Nam's socio-economic development achievements.
The US Secretary of State said that the two sides needed to continue discussions on upgrading their relationship to the level of strategic partners.
She affirmed that the US Government pledged to respect Viet Nam's independence and sovereignty, and supported a developed and prosperous Viet Nam with an important role in regional and international arenas.
Applauding Clinton's visit, Dung expressed his pleasure with the results of the Vietnamese-US relationship, which he said had brought benefits to both nations.
He affirmed that the two sides should continue their efforts to promote bilateral ties on the basis of respecting independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, as well as contributing to peace, stability and development in the region and the world at large.
The US Secretary of State expressed her concurrence with Dung's viewpoints.
Dung and Clinton also exchanged views on recent developments in the East Sea and Greater Mekong Sub-region co-operation. They emphasised the importance of maintaining peace, stability and co-operation as well as ensuring maritime freedom, security and safety in the East Sea.
Welcoming US businesses
PM Nguyen Tan Dung yesterday received representatives from more than 20 US businesses who accompanied US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Viet Nam.
At the reception, Dung said that the visit represented the US Government and business community's attention to strengthening economic, trade and investment co-operation between the two countries.
Vietnamese and US businesses needed to boost co-operation and tap into their vast potential, satisfying the two countries and businesses' best interests, Dung said.
The Government leader affirmed that Viet Nam would create favourable conditions for foreign investors, including those from the US, to operate effectively in the country.
The US businesses expressed their belief in Viet Nam's co-operation prospects, saying that they wanted to expand operations in Viet Nam, contributing to strengthening friendship and co-operation between the two countries. — VNS
The two sides affirmed that the East Sea sovereignty disputes should be solved by peaceful means on the basis of international laws, particularly the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and strict implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) towards a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea.
The US Secretary of State said she was concerned about recent developments in the East Sea and affirmed that the US Government strongly supported the rights of coastal states in their exclusive economic zones and continental shelves under the 1982 UNCLOS.
"We look to ASEAN to make rapid progress with China for an effective code of conduct in order to ensure that as challenges arise, they are managed and resolved peacefully," said Clinton.
During talks between Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Clinton, both sides agreed to work together in negotiations for the Agreement 123 for peaceful nuclear co-operation, stronger educational ties within the framework of the Viet Nam Education Fund, and co-operative projects to cope with climate change and rising sea levels.
Minh asked the US Government to remove trade barriers against Vietnamese products, recognise Viet Nam's market economy status and grant the country the Generalised System of Preferences (GPS).
He expressed he hopes that the US will satisfy Viet Nam's interests in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and increase support for the country in addressing the war consequences, especially the issues of Agent Orange/dioxin.
Both sides agreed to continue joining hands in maintaining peace, stability and co-operation in the East Sea, and to resolve disputes through peaceful resolutions and on the basis of international laws.
Speaking to the press after the talks, Clinton reaffirmed the US commitments to working with the country in important issues such as maritime security, non-proliferation, public health, disaster relief and particularly trade and economic growth.
Trade between the US and Viet Nam grew from $1 billion in 2001 to $22 billion in 2011 after the Bilateral Trade Agreement took effect in 2001.
Clinton said the trade development potential between both countries would grow even further after the signing of a new regional trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, expected to be finalised by the year end. In legacy issues, including Agent Orange, unexploded ordnance and the search for Vietnamese and American missing in actions during the war, she said the US would continue to provide support and that both sides were looking at a long-term plan for Agent Orange issues. — VNS