US President Barack Obama will pay an official visit to Vietnam in May. The US leader made the affirmation during his meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on the sidelines of the ASEAN-US Summit at Sunnylands in California on February 16. The visit aims to explore the land, people and culture of Vietnam while seeking specific cooperation measures in order to maintain the active pace of the US-Vietnam comprehensive cooperative partnership, he said.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said President Obama will be welcomed by Vietnamese leaders and people and that he will assign the Foreign Ministry to coordinate with US counterparts to make thorough preparations for the visit. He expressed his hope that the trip will open up a new period of cooperation between the two countries, for peace and for the development of the comprehensive cooperative partnership, to elevate bilateral ties to a new height.
During their meeting, the leaders compared notes on major cooperative areas between the two countries as well as international and regional issues of shared concern.
PM Nguyen Tan Dung said Vietnam is very concerned about the increasingly complicated development of the East Sea situation which threatens peace, security, and maritime and aviation safety and freedom in the sea. He blamed the situation on the large-scale unilateral land reclamation of illegally-occupied islands and the large-scale construction of artificial islands from submerged features that have changed the status quo in the East Sea, as well as the militarisation reinforcement under various forms. The PM called on the US to raise a strong voice and take more pragmatic and effective actions to ask for an end to such deeds, especially the large-scale construction of man-made islands and militarisation in the East Sea, respect for and the serious realisation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the East Sea, and the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct.
President Obama said the US is concerned about the East Sea issue and strongly backs diplomatic efforts and legal processes to handle the territorial disputes in the sea on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the DOC.
PM Nguyen Tan Dung used the occasion to call on sides engaging in the recently-inked Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to promptly complete their domestic ratification of the deal.
He proposed the US recognise Vietnam as a market economy as soon as possible and extend the transitional period for Vietnamese tra and basa fish exports from 18 months to three to four years, so that Vietnam can revamp its management measures to meet relevant rules stipulated in the US’s Farm Bill 2014. The Vietnamese leader also called for the US’s technical support in managing food safety and hygiene of Vietnamese tra and basa fish exported to the US. He explained that Vietnam’s tra and basa fish exports to the US will encounter huge difficulties if there are no suitable solutions put in place, resulting in strongly reduced export revenues which will affect the daily life and employment of tens of millions of poor Vietnamese labourers.
PM Nguyen Tan Dung also suggested President Obama continue to assist Vietnam in overcoming war consequences, especially dioxin decontamination and war-era bomb and mine clearance. He called on the US to completely lift its ban on the sale of lethal arms to Vietnam, considering this an important measure to consolidate the political trust between the two countries.
He suggested the US provide more aid to Vietnam in law enforcement at sea and technical support for the Vietnamese marine police.
President Obama agreed with PM Nguyen Tan Dung’s proposals and affirmed that he will instruct relevant US agencies to coordinate with Vietnam to seek solutions to the above-mentioned issues, in order to consolidate mutual trust and understanding while deepening the two countries’ comprehensive cooperative partnership.-VNA