US State Secretary Blinken to break ground on new $1.2b embassy in Hà Nội

April 12, 2023 - 16:41
In Hà Nội, Secretary Blinken will meet with senior officials to build on the momentum of US President Joe Biden’s call with Vietnamese General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng late last month.
A render of the new US Embassy campus in Cầu Giấy District, Hà Nội. — Photo courtesy of the US Embassy

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam is one of the United States’ most important partners in the region and the upcoming visit by US State Secretary Antony Blinken seeks to take the partnership to next level, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of East Asian & Pacific Affairs Daniel J. Kritenbrink has said.

Kritenbrink, who also served as the US Ambassador to Việt Nam for the 2017-21 term, was speaking during a recent press briefing via teleconference ahead of the US State Secretary's trip to Việt Nam and Japan on April 14-18.

In Hà Nội, Secretary Blinken will meet with senior officials to build on the momentum of US President Joe Biden’s call with Vietnamese General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng late last month, he noted.

Blinken is also scheduled to break ground on the US new embassy campus in Hà Nội, which is located on a 3.2ha land lot in Cầu Giấy District, with total investment around US$1.2 billion.

“It is amazing to think that less than 30 years after normalising relations and moving into our first embassy in Hà Nội in 1995, we will now be putting shovels into the ground to begin building a stunning new symbol of the US commitment to our enduring partnership and friendship with Việt Nam,” Kritenbrink said.

He thanked the Vietnamese partners for signing the conditions of the construction agreement on the year that the two sides celebrate the 10th anniversary of the comprehensive partnership.

The official lauded the progress in the advancement of the relationship between the two sides, the foundation of which has been built by addressing the legacies of war.

He added: “And while those efforts continue, of course, to be an important part of our friendship, we today enjoy a future-oriented partnership that does so much more, including promoting regional security and prosperity as we work together to build and sustain a stronger, more resilient, and more dynamic future for Americans and Vietnamese.”

The US views Việt Nam as a trusted partner in the Mekong region, a leader within ASEAN and an important member of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, he said, underlining how the US has now become one of Việt Nam’s key trading partners.

“The US is now Việt Nam’s number-one export market, and Việt Nam is our eighth largest trading partner in goods. Many major US multinational companies are expanding their footprints in Việt Nam, and Vietnamese companies are building their presence in the US as well,” Kritenbrink said, adding that Việt Nam has become a key link in the global supply chain.

Việt Nam is the leader in the region, not only in encouraging new economic initiatives but also in confronting the climate crisis, the Assistant Secretary added, recalling how President Biden stressed to General Secretary Trọng the US desire to cooperate with Việt Nam on its ambitious climate goals.

The US official touched on the “robust security relationship” between the two sides, demonstrated by the naval ship visits and the large amount of security assistance that is provided to both the Vietnamese military and the coast guard and law enforcement entities to build Việt Nam’s capacity.

He stressed the broad-based, future-oriented nature of the partnership – including other aspects like healthcare issues, human rights, people-to-people ties, and education – that would benefit both countries and peoples.

On the efforts to upgrade diplomatic ties to a strategic partnership at the moment, the US official said that “there’s not anything to really say or announce today,” but stressed that “whatever label or bumper sticker you want to put on the relationship, there’s no doubt that this partnership we’ve built with Việt Nam is robust, it’s incredibly diverse and broad-ranging.”

He believes that the US State Secretary’s trip will advance further the partnership and strengthen and deepen it, as did the US President’s recent phone call with General Secretary Trọng.

The US official is also optimistic about Việt Nam-US relations’ future, and remarked that Washington and Hà Nội are “almost completely aligned on the kind of Indo-Pacific that we want to see and in which we want to reside – a region that’s free and open, where all countries large and small play by the same rules, where large countries don’t bully small ones, where countries trade freely but also fairly, and where disputes are resolved peacefully and in accordance with international law.” — VNS