Việt Nam, US step up cooperation after COVID-19

July 14, 2022 - 05:37
Việt Nam and the US have resumed meetings and delegation exchanges and made efforts to increase bilateral cooperation on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of their diplomatic ties (July 12), after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

Moderna vaccines given by the US through the COVAX Facility are handed over to Việt Nam at Nội Bài International Airport in Hà Nội last July. — VNA/VNS Photo

Kiều Trang*

WASHINGTON D.C. — Việt Nam and the US have resumed meetings and delegation exchanges and made efforts to increase bilateral cooperation on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of their diplomatic ties (July 12), after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

In politics and diplomacy, the bilateral relationship has maintained its positive development pace.

After the pandemic was brought under control, the two sides conducted all-level meetings and delegation exchanges, notably President Nguyễn Xuân Phúc’s bilateral activities with the US on the sidelines of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly last September, and the working trip to the US and the UN by Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính for the ASEAN-US Special Summit last May, as well as meetings between the PM and President Joe Biden and Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry on the fringes of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in 2021.

Việt Nam has also welcomed US delegations, including those led by Vice President Kamala Harris in August 2021, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin in July 2021, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry in February 2022 and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman last month.

The two sides have maintained dialogue mechanisms online and exchanges through letters and talks, during which the US reiterated its commitment to backing a strong, independent and prosperous Việt Nam, highly valuing the country’s position and affirming the importance it attaches to their bilateral ties.

The US also suggested the two sides take further steps to enhance their relations, prioritising cooperation in economy, trade, national defence-security, and healthcare.

Two-way trade has also grown strongly, reaching nearly US$52 billion as of May 2022, up 26 per cent year-on-year.

The US has remained Việt Nam’s biggest buyer, while Việt Nam is the ninth biggest trade partner of the US. They are working towards a harmonious and sustainable trade balance while continuing with talks to foster cooperation and handle pending issues in their trade ties.

During the visit to the US by PM Chính in May, Vietnamese and US firms signed trade contracts and agreements valued at over US$30 billion.

In the first six months of 2022, US investors poured 231 million USD into 36 new projects in Việt Nam, ranking among the top 10 foreign investors, not to mention investment through a third country.

US enterprises have expressed their willingness to cooperate in the areas like infrastructure development, supply chain building and digital economy.

For collaboration in national defence and security, the two sides have partnered to settle war consequences and improve navigation capacity.

During her recent visit to Việt Nam, Sherman announced the US’s additional funding of $19 million for bomb and mine clearance in Việt Nam.

Educational cooperation has also made progress, as the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced the financial commitment of $37 million to support the construction of Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV)'s new campus in HCM City.

Currently, Việt Nam has six US-invested educational institutions in Hà Nội, HCM City, Quảng Ninh, Hải Phòng and Bình Dương.

Cooperation in healthcare and pandemic control remains a highlight of relations. The US has to date donated nearly 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Việt Nam, of which nearly 39 million doses came via the COVAX Facility.

The US also opened its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Southeast Asia Regional Office in Hà Nội during the visit by Vice President Harris.

The two countries have also closely coordinated on regional and international issues of shared concern, the pandemic, and especially within the frameworks of the UN Security Council and ASEAN mechanisms. — VNS

*Kiều Trang is Vietnam News Agency correspondent based in Washington D.C.