Auspicious time to elevate Việt Nam-US partnership: Blinken

April 15, 2023 - 22:06
“For us, for President Biden, for Washington, this is one of the most dynamic and one of the most important relationships we’ve had.  It has had a remarkable trajectory over the last couple of decades,” US State Secretary Blinken told the press.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has remarked that from his country’s perspective, it is currently an “auspicious time” to upgrade ties with Việt Nam.

He made the statement on Saturday in a briefing with the press in Hà Nội in response to questions as to whether the two countries would elevate ties to Strategic Partnership this year.

The briefing took place after Blinken had talks with the country’s top leaders – General Secretary of the Communist Party Nguyễn Phú Trọng, Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, as well as with his counterpart Minister of Foreign Affairs Bùi Thanh Sơn, as part of his official visit to Việt Nam.

“We’ve had for the last ten years this Comprehensive Partnership that has created an incredibly strong foundation of cooperation across many different areas,” he told the media.

“We think this is a good moment to go even further, and by that, we mean this: to make even more effective the existing cooperation that we have, and then to work in new areas of cooperation and collaboration in the partnership,” Blinken said, adding that this is something that US President Joe Biden and Vietnamese General Secretary discussed when they spoke on the phone in late March.

“So I think what you’ll see in the weeks and months ahead is our teams working on this.”

He commented on the “dramatic change” in trade between the two countries, from virtually no trade in 1994 before the lifting of the embargo to the point where Việt Nam-US trade is approaching $140 billion.

“We’re also working very closely together in regional organisations like ASEAN, APEC, and collaborating to advance the international rule of law that both of our countries strongly adhere to and want to make sure is upheld and strengthened,” the US diplomat said.

“And so, in so many ways, we become genuine partners trying to advance mutual interests and doing it in a way that reflects the interests of our people.”

“As I said a moment ago, earlier today, I had the opportunity to break ground for our new embassy compound, and that in and of itself is very symbolic of the relationship," he said. "The fact that we need that compound because we were doing so much together that our diplomatic presence is even more important than it’s ever been.”

He strongly believes that Việt Nam-US ties can and will develop stronger in the coming decades.

“For us, for President Biden, for Washington, this is one of the most dynamic and one of the most important relationships we’ve had. It has had a remarkable trajectory over the last couple of decades,” Blinken told the press.

US supporting Việt Nam’s successes

“I’m here at the behest of President Biden to further broaden and deepen that partnership following the President’s call with the General Secretary last month and building on earlier high-level visits, including from Vice President Harris, Secretary of Defense Austin, US Trade Representative Tai, USAID Administrator Power, and recently as well members of Congress,” he said in a remark.

Throughout his engagements today, Blinken said he is focused on how the US can continue to support Việt Nam’s success – which is good for the Vietnamese people, Americans, and the entire region.

According to the diplomat, the US believes that Việt Nam can achieve its goal of becoming a connected, high-income country by 2045 by pursuing growth that lifts all communities while building resilience to adapt to climate change.

“We know Việt Nam is increasingly vulnerable to threats posed by the climate crisis," he said, pointing to the recent participation of Việt Nam in the Just Energy Transition Partnership to deliver its ambitious net zero goal by 2050.

"As Việt Nam takes steps to become a leader in climate energy transition, the United States is investing in that tremendous potential.”

The two countries are also finalising the transfer of the third US Coast Guard cutter to Việt Nam, complementing a fleet of 24 patrol boats and other equipment, training, and operational facilities provided since 2016.

“All of these efforts bolster Việt Nam’s capacity to contribute to maritime peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Blinken said.

The US is committed to supporting a strong, prosperous, independent, and resilient Việt Nam, Blinken said.

“We respect Việt Nam’s right to shape its future under its own political system.”

The US State Secretary also underscored the efforts to address the consequences of the war in Việt Nam, including joint works to clear unexploded ordnance with the completion of the survey of the heavily bombed Quảng Trị Province in central Việt Nam next month and the new $73 million contract to treat contaminated soil and sediment at Biên Hoà Air Base. — VNS