US President Clinton starts visit to Vietnam

Ha Noi, Nov. 17 (VNA) -- President of the United States of America William Jefferson Clinton and his spouse arrived in Ha Noi on Nov. 16 night, commencing a four-day official visit to the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.

President Clinton was greeted with full state honor at Hanoi' President Palace by Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong in morning Friday, Nov. 17. President Clinton said " I am glad to be here and I'm looking forward to building a new future. This is very moving this morning, this welcoming ceremony. He also said he had been very moved by the friendliness he had notice on the streets of Hanoi since he arrived late on Thursday." I think it's a good omen" he said.

President Tran Duc Luong wished the best for visit of President Clinton and said " I hope that this trip will be very interesting for both countries".

Nhan dan Newspaper' editorial on Nov. 16 said that the visit of President Clinton is an important event in the Viet Nam-US relationship, praised President Clinton for lifting a trade embargo in 1994, normalizing diplomatic relations between the two countries and for bilateral trade agreement signed in July:

"The first visit to independent and unified Viet Nam by U.S. President W. J. Clinton and his spouse, which conforms to the interests and aspiration of the two peoples, will contribute to bettering mutual understanding and continuously boosting the friendly and cooperative ties between Viet Nam and the US, particularly in economic-commercial areas, thus matching the potentials and conditions of the two countries.

The process of normalizing relations between Viet Nam and the U.S. in the late 80's and the early 90's led to the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in July 1995. Since then, bilateral relationship has encouragingly developed through active steps.

The two countries have exchanged visits and their ministries have held dialogues on issues of mutual concern, the paper notes, adding that economic, trade and investment relations have step by step opened.

Two-way trade reached almost USD 1 billion in 1999 while bilateral cooperation in other fields have gradually been boosted. The US now ranks eighth among those countries having trade ties with Viet Nam and ninth among those countries and territories making investment in Viet Nam, the paper stresses.

The signing of the bilateral trade agreement in July 2000 on the principles of respect for each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefits, was an initial result of the joint persistent efforts by both sides through four years of negotiations.

The US President has made important contributions to lifting the US embargo against Viet Nam, normalizing the Viet Nam-US diplomatic relations and boosting economic and commercial cooperation, thus meeting the interests of the two nations.

We warmly welcome the visit by President W.J.Clinton and his spouse Hillary Clinton and wish it to be a success."