Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tuấn
HÀ NỘI — The visit to Việt Nam by US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper on November 20-21 aimed to deepen the bilateral defence ties in a practical and effective manner, said Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng.
The visit was to promote the implementation of defence cooperation agreements signed between the two defence ministries and officials of the two countries, towards strengthening the Việt Nam-US Comprehensive Partnership, Hằng said at the ministry’s regular press conference on Thursday in Hà Nội in response to reporters’ questions about results of the Việt Nam-US cooperation.
She said the comprehensive partnership has developed in many fields in recent times, including security and defence cooperation. The two sides have continued promoting bilateral defence link, including maritime security cooperation and enhancement of maritime law enforcement capacity, contributing to maintaining peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world, she said.
This was the first official visit to Việt Nam by Esper as US Secretary of Defence at the invitation of Defence Minister General Ngô Xuân Lịch.
During his stay, Esper held talks with Minister Lịch, during which they agreed to step up cooperation in accordance with the contents of the memorandum of understanding on promoting defence collaboration signed in 2011, the joint vision statement on defence cooperation signed in 2015 and the cooperation plan for 2018-20 between the two defence ministries, focusing on delegation exchange, consultation and dialogue mechanisms and joint work to address post-war consequences.
Hằng said the US is one of Việt Nam's main partners in efforts in settling post-war consequences along with other countries such as Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the UK, as well as international organisations like the UN Development Programme and the UN Children's Fund.
The Defence Ministry of Việt Nam and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) completed detoxification at Đà Nẵng airport, and the US pledged to continue funding for dioxin remediation at Biên Hoà airport.
Việt Nam and the US will also further promote cooperation in searching for missing-in-action servicemen, she said.
No losses of Vietnamese citizens in Hong Kong reported yet
No human and property losses related to Vietnamese students and citizens in Hong Kong have been reported so far via the hotline of the Vietnamese Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau (China), said Hằng in response to reporters’ queries regarding Việt Nam’s citizen protection in Hong Kong.
In the past few days, Việt Nam’s Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau has kept a close watch on developments in Hong Kong and taken citizen protection measures seriously, including the establishment of a hotline to help Vietnamese citizens when necessary. The Consulate General has assisted 40 Vietnamese students who are pursuing university, doctoral and master’s degrees to return home safely at their request, she said.
The Consulate General will continue to keep itself updated about Vietnamese citizens and students in Hong Kong, and stands ready to support them and employ citizen protection measures when necessary and being requested.
Vietnamese citizens can call the consulate’s hotline +85 225 914 510 or the citizen protection switchboard +84 981 84 84 84 if they need assistance.
Việt Nam has also asked Hong Kong authorities to ensure security and safety for Vietnamese citizens studying, living, working and travelling there, she said.
Regarding the six Vietnamese fishermen missing in a boat fire off the Republic of Korea (RoK)’s Jeju Island, Hằng said the Vietnamese Embassy in the country has coordinated with local agencies to get updated information and appealed to the RoK to actively implement search and rescue operations.
According to the spokesperson, the RoK said its Government is concerned about the incident and has instructed the highest mobilisation of resources to serve search and rescue operations, and pledged to team up with Việt Nam in citizen protection.
The embassy has also closely coordinated with labour export enterprises to collect information and updated families of the victims on the situation, she said, adding that the embassy is ready to take citizen protection measures when necessary. — VNS