Monday, 18 Dec 2017

Ambassador: Vietnam-US relations see new opportunities

Updated at Saturday, 28 Jan 2017, 14:21
The Hanoitimes - Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh made the statement during a recent interview featuring the new Donald Trump-led US administration’s adjustment of policies to Asia-Pacific, the future of Vietnam-US ties and his personal feeling in the context of the US’s power transition.

The Vietnamese Ambassador has expressed his belief that the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership will keep thriving for the benefit of the two countries. Ambassador Vinh said Vietnam-US relations have developed strongly over the past 20 years and they have become comprehensive partners in all field.

 “The Vietnam-US relations in economics and trade have benefited both countries and served as an impetus for regional growth. Their two-way trade turnover has reached US$50 billion and bilateral ties have expanded in all fields in line with their comprehensive partnership. 3 US Presidents - Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama - have paid visits to Vietnam. The two countries have expanded cooperation in bilateral and multilateral forums," the Vietnamese diplomat said.

Ambassador Vinh said the US cannot stand apart from Asia-Pacific. The US and other countries must work together for mutual benefit. Asked about the effect on regional countries like Vietnam of the US withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Ambassador Vinh said countries have the right to decide whether to participate in the TPP but without US participation, Vietnam will have to find ways to promote its economic and trade links with the US.

Vinh said over the past two decades, Vietnam and the US have seen leaps in bilateral diplomatic ties and become comprehensive partners on the basis of shared benefits. Two-way trade has soared to 50 billion USD from 500 million USD. 

The bilateral partnership has expanded across science-technology, investment, education, national defence-security.  No matter what adjustments President Trump makes, both sides will still maintain existing shared interests and seek new ones, he said, adding that he believes similarities will be much more than differences and new, better cooperative forms will be needed, he noted. Apart from bilateral connections, the two countries also have cooperation frameworks in service of their own interests and the region at bilateral and multilateral forums. 

According to him, the US will not steer clear of the Asia-Pacific region and its interests in the East Sea of peace, stability and freedom. Together with regional countries, the US will attach importance to peace, stability, security, maritime safety and freedom in the East Sea – a strategically geo-political area and a major sea route. 

To that end, countries will rely on international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as enhance regional cooperation in this regard, he said. Commenting on the US’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, Vinh said the US, in any form, must connect with the region for its own interests because the Asia-Pacific region contributes to a half of the world’s economic and trade growth. 

Sooner or later, he said, the US still has to convey a message about economic and trade connectivity with the region, as it is also for its own interest and the expectation of the region. No matter what the future of TPP is, Vietnam will keep pushing forward economic reform and global integration, which is also a requirement for national development and free trade agreements in which Vietnam is a member, he said. 
Translated by Anh Kiet
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