Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to extend my special thanks to our Honorable guests tonight: From the State Department: Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy, Assistant Secretary Kurt Campbell, Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall; from the Department of Commerce: Under Secretary Francisco Sanchez; from the Department of Defense: Under Secretary Michael Vickers, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and many other distinguished guests: my colleague Ambassadors of ASEAN, EAS, TPP countries, all American friends and representatives of the Vietnamese Community in the USA and even in Canada where I was posted before. My special thanks also to the representatives of US Senate and House Offices (I have received quite a few messages of congratulations from US Senators and Congressmen and Congresswomen who could not make it tonight since they are still out of town until after Labor Day). Your presence here with us this evening is much, much appreciated.
Now I would like to begin my remarks with a statement that all of us already know: “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.
This immortal statement in the US Declaration of Independence in 1776 (which was more than 200 years ago) was interestingly and meaningfully echoed on September 2nd, 1945 by our beloved President Ho Chi Minh in the very first sentence of the Declaration of Independence of Vietnam, which marked the founding of a new Vietnam and ushered in a new era of independence, freedom and happiness to all Vietnamese people.
Over the past 66 years, the Vietnamese people have recorded many achievements toward that end. Vietnam today is no longer a war, but a lively and potential market of 87 million hard-working and talented people, and located in the center of the world’s fastest growing region. From a country with a name hardly found in any World Map, today Vietnam has been widely recognized as a pro-active, responsible and reliable partner in the international community. Vietnam today has been making tremendous progress in building a rich people, a strong nation, and a just, democratic and advanced society.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On this occasion, let me share with you a few thoughts on Vietnam – US bilateral relationship. Ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations 16 years ago, our relations have developed with a pace that was unprecedented in some areas, and unimaginable even just a few years ago. Our political, security and defense ties are growing on a solid basis with regular senior level dialogues and exchanges. The United States is now Vietnam's largest export market and one of the biggest foreign direct investors. On the other hand, the U.S. export to Vietnam in recent years has always seen a constant growth of 20-25% annually. We have grounds to believe that investment and trade ties will grow even faster in the years ahead, as we are seriously negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Our cooperation on science and technology, education, health, climate change, non-proliferation, counterterrorism… is expanding through institutionalized mechanisms. The number of Vietnamese students in the United States has surpassed 13 thousand, bringing Vietnam to the top of ASEAN countries in sending students to the United States. Multilaterally, we share strategic interests in maintaining and consolidating peace, stability and development in the region. And we have every reason to believe that Vietnam and the US can further work together to bring our bilateral relationship to “the next level of engagement and partnership” as stated by President Barrack Obama when he received me to present credentials. And I am also especially pleased to note that in her message of congratulations on behalf of President Obama, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton reconfirms that the U.S will continue to be Vietnam’s friend and partner.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The steadily growing relations between Vietnam and the U.S. are only made possible thanks to the endeavors by both peoples and governments, by members of Congress, business community, think-tanks and many Vietnamese Americans. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you, American and Vietnamese, as well as ASEAN, TPP and EAS friends for your past, present and future support and contribution to our relationship, and through you, to all who cannot be here with us tonight.
With that, may I invite you to join me in a toast.
- To the National Day of Vietnam,
- To an ever-growing relationship between Vietnam and the United States,
- To the good health and happiness of you all,
Thank you for your attention.