Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc yesterday expressed his delight at the development of Việt Nam-US ties, especially after their status was elevated to comprehensive partnership.
Receiving visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry in Hà Nội, he said he believed that the two nations will further strengthen their relationship based on mutual respect and respective national development goals.
The two sides need to devise a plan to continue exchanges and joint work in post-war recovery efforts, and expand co-operation to other areas, he said.
The PM reiterated an invitation to US President-elect Donald Trump to visit Việt Nam and attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Summit 2017 here.
He said Việt Nam will continue partnering with the new US administration to push for stable, long-standing, practical and effective bilateral relations.
Kerry, who is on his last visit to Việt Nam as the US Secretary of State, said he believed that the new administration will continue the policy of strengthening ties with the region, including Việt Nam, and pledged to be a friend of country and its people.
Wider market access
In talks held with Kerry earlier in the day, Acting Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn asked the US to recognise Việt Nam’s market economy status soon, open the door wider for Vietnamese goods, and reduce trade barriers.
He also called on the US to prioritise co-operation in addressing war consequences, especially dioxin decontamination at the Đà Nẵng and Biên Hòa airports, and implement effectively the Joint Vision Statement on Defence Co-operation issued in 2015 and the Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Co-operation signed in 2011.
On the East Sea situation, the two sides stressed the need to abide by international law, and to use legal and diplomatic processes to settle disputes so as to maintain peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the sea.
Kerry said the US advocated the settlement of disputes in the East Sea via peaceful means and legal and diplomatic processes on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
He also reiterated the US’s commitment to respecting Việt Nam’s political institutions, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He affirmed that the US is willing to provide more assistance for Việt Nam in coping with climate change, especially in developing clean energy, building sustainable infrastructure, managing water resources and ecological systems.
He also pledged to accelerate dioxin detoxification at Đà Nẵng and Biên Hòa airports.
TPP in doubt
Later in the day, Kerry flew to the southern economic hub of HCM City and delivered a speech to leaders and students of HCM City’s University of Technology and Education.
He said both the US and Việt Nam need to work out how to advance economic and strategic relationships with partners in the region at a time when important choices have to be made by governments around the world.
Kerry said the future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the centrepiece of the Obama administration’s so-called pivot to Asia, was in doubt as Donald Trump, who opposes the trade agreement, would be sworn in as US president next week.
However, he believed that US commitments to the region would not change.
“I can’t predict what the new American administration will do with respect to trade. But I can absolutely tell you that the fundamental reasons for the TPP have not changed,” he said.
“That fundamental need of countries to be able to sell their goods to other countries hasn’t changed.
“I hope you are going to agree with me that the values embedded in the TPP, the fundamental values, such as a rules-based approach to economic relations, higher standards on labour, on the environment, and safeguards against corruption, are consistent with Việt Nam’s interests and the demands of the Vietnamese people themselves for good government and for economic opportunity,” he said.
Also in HCM City, Kerry, along with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), presented a letter of intent to Fulbright University Việt Nam (FUV), supporting the design and construction of the university’s main campus.
The OPIC project aims to bolster the university’s academic programmes as well as expand enrollment to 7,000 students.
FUV, officially announced by US President Barack Obama in May 2016, is a private, nonprofit Vietnamese university inspired by the American liberal education tradition and dedicated to serving Vietnamese society through innovation in teaching, learning, and discovery. FUV emerged from a two-decade long initiative of the Harvard Kennedy School to create the Fulbright Economics Teaching Programme, Việt Nam’s first centre of public policy teaching and research. — VNS