Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc had talks with US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper on Wednesday in Hà Nội. — VNA./VNS Photo Thống Nhất
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam highly values its comprehensive partnershipwith the US, considering it one of the country’s most important partners, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc told visiting US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper during a reception in Hà Nội yesterday.
The US Defence Secretary’s visit to Việt Nam, from November 19-21, aims to realise co-operation agreements in national defence between the two countries, contributing to enhancing friendship and understanding between their armies and people.
During their talks, the Vietnamese PM spoke highly of the talks between Vietnamese Defence Minister Ngô Xuân Lịch and the US official, as well as the results of bilateral defence ties within the framework of the bilateral comprehensive partnership and agreements reached by the two countries’ leaders.
Noting that the Vietnamese Government supports bilateral defence ties, the Vietnamese Government leader suggested the two defence sectors work to realise signed agreements, including joint statements between the two countries’ leaders.
Việt Nam will continue to work with the US side in the search for missing-in-action servicemen, he said.
Hailing defence co-operation as one of the foundations for the Việt Nam-US relationship that contributes to maintaining peace and stability, ensuring navigation and aviation freedom in the East Sea (known internationally as the South China Sea), Esper said the US wants to promote collaboration and defence ties with Việt Nam.
He thanked Việt Nam for assisting the US in searching for servicemen listed as missing in action during the war, and pledged to continue helping Việt Nam in this work, as well as step up dioxin detoxification.
He expressed readiness to back Việt Nam in United Nations peacekeeping missions and expand joint work in other areas.
Lauding the significance of the year 2020 when Việt Nam becomes ASEAN Chair and the two countries celebrate the 25th anniversary of the normalisation of bilateral ties, he said the US hopes to help Việt Nam fulfil its assigned tasks.
The US appreciates its comprehensive partnership with Việt Nam and wants to boost co-operation with the country, he said.
The PM proposed both sides continue providing mutual consultation and support at multilateral forums, particularly at forums hosted by ASEAN, and support defence forums held by the Vietnamese Defence Ministry next year.
He also asked for the US’s assistance in United Nations peacekeeping missions, especially in ensuring the operations of Việt Nam’s Level-2 field hospital in Sudan.
The PM said Việt Nam was determined to develop balanced and sustainable trade with the US.
He expressed his wish to welcome the US President, Secretary of Defence and other officials to important international events during the ASEAN Chair Year 2020.
Esper said the US supports Việt Nam and ASEAN’s stance on the East Sea issue and will strive to contribute to ensuring peace, stability, navigation and aviation freedom in the East Sea.
The US defence chief also thanked Việt Nam for its assistance in holding the DPRK-US Summit in Hà Nội back in February this year.
Defence Minister General Ngô Xuân Lịch (left) and US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper review the guards of honour at the welcome ceremony on Wednesday in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang
The same day, Esper also gave a speech at the Diplomatic Academy of Việt Nam in Hà Nội and had talks with more than 200 Vietnamese students and scholars on Việt Nam-US bilateral ties and regional and global issues.
In his speech, Esper shared about his trips to the Republic of Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, and Viet Nam after attending the ASEAN Defence Minister’s Meeting in Thailand. During Esper’s meetings with his counterparts, they highlighted the need to maintain order in line with international law to bring security and prosperity to the Indo-Pacific amid rising challenges.
He emphasised that the US wants a strong, independent, prosperous Việt Nam that plays an increasingly important role in the Indo-Pacific region, and spoke highly of development in bilateral ties since the normalisation of Việt Nam-US relations.
Stressing that defence ties continue to be a highlight in bilateral relations, he committed to continue working with Việt Nam to step up the development of the bilateral relationship, especially in maritime security, the United Nations peacekeeping mission, humanitarian assistance, and search and rescue operations.
Later in the day, Esper met Politburo member and permanent member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat Trần Quốc Vượng where the two expressed satisfaction at progress in bilateral relations.
During the talks, Vượng reaffirmed Việt Nam's consistent policy of taking the US as one of its top important partners and hoping to boost them in various fields, including defence co-operation. — VNS