|Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (right) received US Secretary of State John Kerry in Ha Noi yesterday. — VNA Photo Tri Dung
HA NOI (VNS)— Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh yesterday told US Secretary of State John Kerry Viet Nam would push forward with projects to decontaminate areas at Da Nang and Bien Hoa Airports saturated with the dioxin Agent Orange.
Minh asked the US to speed up detoxification projects in Bien Hoa after finishing the work in Da Nang airport, while increasing support to Viet Nam in climate change response.
The visiting US official spoke highly of Viet Nam's determination during negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Kerry said the US would urge involved parties to finalise the process.
He said he would support the further opening of the US market for Vietnamese products, including farm produce.
Kerry also said the US was willing to give Viet Nam further assistance in coping with climate change.
Deputy PM Minh said he was delighted at the growth of the Viet Nam-US relationship in the past two years after the two countries set up their comprehensive partnership. He said Viet Nam and the US had a common interest in boosting bilateral co-operation in all fields, as well as shared interests and responsibilities in preserving peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Deputy PM suggested that the two sides maintain meetings and exchanges of delegations, especially at high level.
He urged the US to be flexible and take into account Viet Nam's development level in addressing remaining issues in bilateral TPP talks.
In addition, he called on the US to completely remove the arms embargo on Viet Nam for stronger mutual trust.
During the talks, both sides discussed regional matters of shared concern, including the outcomes of recent ASEAN meetings in Malaysia.
Kerry said he supported ASEAN's central role, pledging that the US would continue its collaboration for a stronger ASEAN solidarity.
On the East Sea issue, both sides agreed that all relevant parties should strictly implement the Declaration on Conducts of Parties in the East Sea and build a Code of Conduct in the East Sea.
They also agreed disputes should be settled with peaceful measures through diplomatic talks in conformity with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Party leader reception
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong gave a reception for US Secretary of State John Kerry in Ha Noi yesterday.
Trong praised Kerry's contributions to Viet Nam-US ties in recent years as well as his role in recent diplomatic activities between the two countries.
Praising the outcomes of the Kerry's talks, the Party chief said there was a need to maintain regular high-level meetings and contacts between the two sides for deeper mutual understanding and to bolster the implementation of the bilateral partnership.
The Party leader acknowledged the efforts as well as goodwill and constructive attitude of both the Vietnamese and US negotiating teams for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which he said helped facilitate talks for the deal.
He confirmed that Viet Nam's policy was to continue collaborating closely with the US and other sides for the early conclusion of the negotiations.
The Party chief also praised the positive contributions of the US and the Secretary of State to the recent ASEAN Regional Forum and related activities, contributing to maintaining peace and stability in the region.
John Kerry said his visit was part of activities marking the 20 th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties, as well as part of efforts to realise agreements reached by leaders of both countries.
The US attaches much importance to relations with Viet Nam which it consideres an important partner in the region, and will work hard to carry out commitments with Viet Nam in prioritised areas in accordance with the Joint Statement on Comprehensive Partnership in 2013 as well as the recent Joint Vision Statement, according to the US secretary.
He said he believed bilateral ties would continue to flourish in the future for the interest of both countries as well as for peace, stability, co-operation and progress in the region and the world.
President Truong Tan Sang also told the US Secretary of State that Viet Nam highly valued its ties with the US and considered the country a top partner.
Receiving Kerry in Ha Noi yesterday, the President said trust between the two countries was shown in agreements reached during his visit to the US in 2013 as well as in the Joint Vision Statement released during the official visit of Party leader Trong last month.
He confirmed Viet Nam's goodwill and proactive approach to negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), hoping that remaining issues would be dealt with during the TPP ministers meeting later this month.
President Sang proposed that the US focus on and give Viet Nam's footwear and apparel products preferential policies similar to those given by the European Union and the Republic of Korea.
He praised the partial removal by the US of the arms embargo on Viet Nam and suggested that the country lift the entire embargo.
The State leader also asked the US to continue supporting Viet Nam in coping with matters related to dioxin contamination hot spots in Bien Hoa and Da Nang airports.
On the East Sea issue, President Sang applauded the attitude and position of the US and the G-7 in the settlement of disputes among parties in the East Sea as well as their support for Viet Nam's stance on the issue, which he said contributes significantly to the maintenance of peace, stability and maritime and aviation security and safety in the East Sea.
The US Secretary of State held that Viet Nam and the US had travelled a long way to become trusted partners. He said both countries had seen progress in their partnerships in economics, science, technology and security and defence.
Kerry said the US's lifting of part of the arms embargo on Viet Nam was the first important step forwards in bilateral defence co-operation towards the complete removal of the embargo.
Kerry also focused on the establishment of the Fulbright University in Viet Nam, pledging to offer strong support for making the university world-class with links with Harvard University, offering great opportunities for Vietnamese students.
On TPP negotiations, the US official noted that the two sides had reached consensus on almost all common issues. He pointed to the need to finalise the appendix on labour for the early conclusion of the deal.
He briefed the host on the US's concurrence with concerned ASEAN countries in opposing the construction of islands in the East Sea (South China Sea) recently and calling for the parties to respect legal regulations and international law.
Regarding human rights, Kerry acknowledged Viet Nam 's efforts in making domestic law consistent with international regulations in the field. He confirmed that President Barack Obama is impressed by US visits of Vietnamese leaders and is looking forward to visiting Viet Nam soon.
During the meeting, President Sang reaffirmed that Viet Nam has successfully implemented bilateral agreements, and vowed to successfully realise those reached in the recent visit of Party leader Trong.
He also thanked the US for opening the door on a number of Vietnamese agricultural products, suggesting that the country also allow the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta specialties of mango and star apple to be sold in the US market.
The same day, Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam also hosted a reception for the US Secretary of State, during which he noted that there was a great opportunity for Viet Nam and the US to co-operate, especially in education and training, and science and technology. He said the affiliation among universities on both sides in recent years had been a good experience.
Kerry said that education and training and science-technology were among important areas for co-operation between Viet Nam and the US.He added that the success of the Fulbright University in Viet Nam was expected to contribute to strengthening bilateral education ties and become a bright spot in the Viet Nam-US relations.
At the same time, Kerry said the US would continue helping Viet Nam in preventing and eradicating HIV/AIDS as well as in science and technology projects. — VNS