Việt Nam-US strategic trust "never been stronger, deeper": US official

June 24, 2024 - 14:19
He said the US has tremendous respect for Việt Nam and only Việt Nam can decide how best to safeguard its sovereignty and advance its interest.
General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng of the Communist Party of Việt Nam and US President Joe Biden elevated Việt Nam-US relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the former's visit to Việt Nam in September 2023. — Photo from the US White House

HÀ NỘI — Strategic trust between Việt Nam and the United States is at an 'all-time high' and both sides are working to ensure the partnership 'delivers tangible benefits for the people of both countries'.

The US Assistant Secretary of States for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink, who also served as the US Ambassador to Việt Nam for the 2017-21 term, spoke about the ties between Việt Nam and the US and the recent upgrade to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during a meeting with the press as part of his visit to the country last week.

The upgrade would not have happened without the great amount of trust that the two sides have consolidated over the last three decades, according to the US official, who stressed that the trust between the two countries "has never been stronger, never been deeper."

"Both our countries and the whole world benefit when Việt Nam is successful," he added.

"We are invested in a strong, and prosperous and resilient and independent Việt Nam, because Việt Nam being successful is in our national interest, and I think that's more clearer than ever.

"The totality of our cooperation and engagement is what's most striking to me, but my personal view is maybe some of the most exciting and important work we're doing is probably investing."

He highlighted the economic and trading relationship, which reached US$124 billion last year, an all-time high, and the US remains Việt Nam's biggest export market while US exports to Việt Nam are also growing well, especially in agriculture.

One important component of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is the investment in Việt Nam's capacity, including its IT sector, and building a semiconductor system, helping to train and upskill the Vietnamese workforce, the US diplomat noted.

Other focuses of priorities include promoting clean, sustainable energy, which he deemed "exciting and important for both countries," cooperation in health and medical issues, as well as in security spheres.

With regards to Việt Nam's foreign policy, he said the US has tremendous respect for Việt Nam and only Việt Nam can decide how best to safeguard its sovereignty and advance its interest.

He said: "What I'm confident about is that the United States and Việt Nam have never been more aligned about our shared vision for the kind of region and world we want to live in.

"I think we've never been so close in the joint endeavors in which we're engaged in the cooperation that we're carrying out.

"So we're very bullish on our future together with Việt Nam, part of being friends and partners in comprehensive strategic partners is also being able to speak candidly with one another, including in areas where we don't totally agree."

Regarding the impacts of the outcomes of the upcoming US election and its Indo-Pacific strategy and policies, Kritenbrink said there's no doubt that "America has been a power in Asia and the Indo-Pacific for over a century, and that will continue no matter what."

He added: "I would say there is strong bipartisan support in the US and in Washington and on Capital Hill for our partnership with Việt Nam and our commitment and engagement with the Indo-Pacific."

The US trade volume with the Indo-Pacific is about $2 trillion annually, and "that's not going to change irrespective of what happens with the election," the US official claimed, adding that the US remains the largest investor by far in the region.

The fact that people-to-people ties between the US and other partners in the Pacific are "very strong and will remain so" is another fundamental that won't change, he stressed.

On the heightened tensions in the East Sea (known internationally as the South China Sea), which has an important role in global commerce, Kritenbrink stated that the US continues to "stand for a rules-based regional order, including in the maritime domains of Asia, including the South China Sea.

"We believe in the respect for international laws, we think that all maritime claims must be rooted in international laws, within which all disputes should be resolved peacefully, and that freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight and unimpeded commerce should be maintained," the US diplomat said. — VNS