|Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc affirmed Viet Nam's policy to put the past aside and look to the future, opening up a new chapter of friendship and co-operation in the two countries' relations.
HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam and the US yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of their co-operation to search for remains of US servicemen who died during the war in Viet Nam.
A ceremony was held in Ha Noi by the Viet Nam Office for Seeking Missing Personnel and the US Department of Defence's Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.
Addressing the event, Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc made it clear that the MIA search was the first field of co-operation between the two countries after the war ended, which laid the initial foundation for the normalisation of Viet Nam-US relations in 1995. Co-operative activities in this fields were still contributing to the multifaceted co-operation between the two countries, he said.
He affirmed Viet Nam's policy to put the past aside and look to the future, opening up a new chapter of friendship and co-operation in the two countries' relations.
The senior diplomat asked the US side to increase support for Viet Nam in solving the legacies of war such as bomb and mine clearance, Agent Orange detoxification and the search for Vietnamese soldiers' remains, adding that Viet Nam appreciated the assistance the US had provided in these fields in the past.
He said co-operation in humanitarian activities would continue to be the two countries' priority, especially when the two sides had established a comprehensive partnership.
US Ambassador to Viet Nam David B. Shear expressed his thanks to the Vietnamese Government for its effective co-operation over the past 25 years in searching and recovering the remains of US servicemen, expressing his hope to continue co-operating with the country in the pursuit of the shared humanitarian objective.
He also briefed the attendees on the fine development of the two countries' all-round ties, expressing his wish that the two sides would deepen ties across the board between the US and Viet Nam.
Major General Kelly McKeague from the US Department of Defence and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, recognised the valuable support from the Vietnamese Government as well as provincial authorities and people of Viet Nam in the search for missing service members from the war.
"Without extending your hand in friendship and overcoming the legacy of war, our successes of the past 25 years would not have been possible," he said, adding that the US was not alone in this humanitarian mission, as an estimated 300,000 Vietnamese who lost their lives still remained unaccounted for.
He said the US was pleased to provide information in its possession or discovered by researchers in the US archives that could be helpful Viet Nam's efforts to identify the dead.
Ann Mills Griffiths, Chairman of the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, expressed her deep appreciation for the co-operation Viet Nam had provided in the humanitarian work over the decades in letter to the ceremony.
She said the joint success that Viet Nam and the US had achieved in this field had set an example for the two countries to work constructively together in the spirit of humanitarian co-operation and good will. — VNS