Viet Nam and US Leaders Meet, Issue Joint Statement

President Bush Meets with Prime Minister Dung of Vietnam
Oval Office 1:53 P.M. EDT - June 24th, 2008


PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. Prime Minister, welcome to the Oval Office. I fondly remember my trip to your country. I remember the wonderful hospitality that you and your government gave to Laura and me. I remember the thousands of people lining the street of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and it was just a memorable trip. So it's my honor to welcome you back here.

PMNTD_PresGWB.jpgWe had a good dialogue. We talked about economic cooperation. We talked about educational cooperation. We talked about the need to work together on the environment. I thanked the Prime Minister for his work on accounting for the POWs and MIAs. We discussed the neighborhood, the region. We talked about freedom -- religious and political freedom, and I told the Prime Minister that I thought the strides that the government is making toward religious freedom is noteworthy. And I appreciated the efforts that he and his government are making.

All in all, we had a very good discussion. Our relationship with Vietnam is getting closer, in a spirit of respect. And I thank you for coming to help make that relationship even stronger. Welcome.

"We had a good dialogue. We talked about economic cooperation. We talked about educational cooperation. We talked about the need to work together on the environment. I thanked the Prime Minister for his work on accounting for the POWs and MIAs. We discussed the neighborhood, the region. We talked about freedom -- religious and political freedom, and I told the Prime Minister that I thought the strides that the government is making toward religious freedom is noteworthy. And I appreciated the efforts that he and his government are making." President G.W.Bush.

PRIME MINISTER DUNG: (As translated.) Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to thank you, Mr. President and American friends, for your warm hospitality.

I would like to tell you that Mr. President and I have just had successful talks in a friendly, constructive and understanding spirit. And we took note with great pleasure of rapid development in the Vietnam-U.S. relationship toward a friendly and constructive partnership, multifaceted cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect and mutual benefit. We agreed with each other on a wide range of issues, which will be fully reflected in our joint statement.

And now I would like to give you some highlights of our conversation. Mr. President and I agreed to establish a new dialogue mechanism at the senior level on the strategic matters of economics, education, environment, science, defense and security. And President Bush reiterated his support for Vietnam sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.

We agreed to establish a high-level education task force to effectively advance the education cooperation between our two countries. The two sides also agreed to set up a new subcommittee to assist Vietnam in conducting researches to respond to the climate change and the rising sea level.

And President Bush reaffirmed that U.S. is actively reviewing Vietnam's request to join the GSP program, and acknowledged Vietnam's request to be accorded the market economy status. The U.S. is also considering the import of fruits from Vietnam. Also, the two sides agreed to commence negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty.

Both sides also agreed to strengthen cooperation to address humanitarian issues left over by the war, such as the American MIA issue, mine-clearing, remediation of the Agent Orange consequences, the Vietnamese MIA issue.

Ladies and gentlemen, my visit to the U.S. this time is the follow-up of the foreign policy of independence and sovereignty, diversification and multilateralization of our external relations. Vietnam wants to be friends with all countries and trusted partners with all nations and nationalities in the international community, and along that line, Vietnam will continue to strengthen the fine relationship between Vietnam and the United States under the framework defined by the two countries' leaders.

I hope that with the fruitful outcome of my visit the Vietnam-U.S. relationship will be elevated to new heights in the interest of both peoples, of peace, stability, and development cooperation in the region and the world.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Transcript: Courtesy of White House.


Joint Statement Between the United States of America and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam

President George W. Bush welcomed Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to the United States of America and to the White House today for the fourth bilateral meeting between leaders of our two countries in as many years. The President and the Prime Minister discussed the progress made since they last met in Vietnam in 2006 and committed to specific efforts to carry this increasingly-robust bilateral relationship forward. The two leaders agreed the relationship is based on a positive, growing friendship, mutual respect, and a shared commitment to pursuing constructive and multi-faceted cooperation on a wide range of issues that will contribute to the development of the depth of the relationship, which is in the long-term interests of both countries. They also shared their vision and goals for a stable, secure, democratic, and peaceful Asia-Pacific region and discussed future U.S.-Vietnam contributions to that end.

The leaders welcomed the deepening economic ties, noting that two-way bilateral trade topped 12 billion USD in 2007 and that the United States is Vietnam ’s top export market. Prime Minister Dung affirmed Vietnam ’s resolve to maintain macroeconomic stability and determination to implement its commitments under the World Trade Organization, the Bilateral Trade Agreement, and the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement; improve its legal system; and create conditions favorable for foreign investors and trade growth.

The two leaders agreed that trade and economic ties are significant to the bilateral relationship. They announced that the United States and Vietnam would initiate negotiations toward a Bilateral Investment Treaty, signaling our commitment to open investment regimes and fair, non-discriminatory, and transparent treatment of foreign investment. President Bush affirmed that the United States is seriously reviewing Vietnam ’s request to be designated as a beneficiary of the Generalized System of Preferences program, and he acknowledged Vietnam ’s request to be accorded Market Economy Status. They noted the importance of efforts within the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum to promote free and open trade and investment, including the prospect of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. President Bush reiterated the United States ’ general opposition to restrictions on food exports at a time of rising prices. The two leaders called on all countries to join in the effort to solve the world food problem. President Bush reaffirmed the United States ’ commitment to pursuing actions to maintain or expand existing assistance levels and to address the underlying conditions contributing to high food prices.

The two leaders discussed expanding and strengthening our senior-level dialogues. They endorsed the creation of new political-military and policy planning talks, which will allow for more frequent and in-depth discussions on security and strategic issues. The two leaders noted the benefit of an open and candid dialogue on issues relating to human rights and fundamental freedoms. President Bush and Prime Minister Dung agreed on the importance of the rule of law in modern societies, and President Bush underscored the importance of promoting improved human rights practices and conditions for religious believers and ethnic minorities. Prime Minister Dung informed President Bush of the policies and efforts made by Vietnam in this area, and President Bush took note of Vietnam ’s efforts to date and encouraged further progress. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to promoting and securing fundamental human rights and liberties.

The two leaders were pleased with the successes of Vietnamese Americans and noted their contribution to the promotion of the relationship between the two countries. President Bush welcomed these contributions and reiterated the U.S. government’s support for Vietnam ’s national sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity.

President Bush expressed appreciation for Vietnam’s cooperation in our joint humanitarian effort to achieve the fullest possible accounting for Americans who remain missing in action and Vietnam’s willingness to carry out additional measures, noting that the Joint Field Activities have allowed for the identification and repatriation of the remains of 629 U.S. soldiers and reaffirmed the U.S. Government’s continued assistance in obtaining information for Vietnam’s own accounting efforts. Prime Minister Dung highlighted the United States ’ assistance in this area as well. Prime Minister Dung applauded bilateral progress in addressing environmental contamination near former dioxin storage sites in Viet Nam , particularly the ongoing implementation of 3 million USD in U.S. funding for environmental remediation and health projects.

President Bush congratulated Prime Minister Dung on his country’s two-year membership on the United Nations Security Council. The two leaders reaffirmed that the two countries will continue consultations on the pressing issues that will face the Security Council. The Prime Minister informed the President that Vietnam is completing the preparatory process for its effective participation in UN peacekeeping operations. Prime Minister Dung thanked President Bush for the invitation for Vietnam to participate in the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), through which Vietnam will participate in training courses and other activities on peacekeeping operations. President Bush noted the ongoing visit of the humanitarian ship the USNS Mercy to Vietnam .

The two leaders expressed their wish to enhancing further U.S. relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and President Bush expressed his appreciation for Vietnam ’s active role in ASEAN. The two leaders discussed the areas of cooperation with ASEAN, to include humanitarian assistance and Cyclone Nargis. President Bush reiterated that the United States is willing to work with ASEAN, the United Nations, and other non-governmental organizations to bring additional, much-needed humanitarian assistance to those affected by the devastating cyclone, and they discussed the need for entry and prompt access to all international aid workers to the disaster area.

The two leaders underscored the importance of cooperation on education and agreed to launch a high-level bilateral Education Task Force that will chart a roadmap and identify effective modalities for enhanced U.S.-Vietnam education cooperation. The two leaders also welcomed the continued success of the Fulbright Program in Vietnam and the growing number of Vietnamese students who choose to study in the United States . President Bush underscored the importance of a future Peace Corps program in Vietnam . Prime Minister Dung agreed in principle to the President’s proposal on such a program and that the two sides will continue discussion to finalize related arrangements.

Prime Minister Dung thanked President Bush for assistance under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), noting that many people in Vietnam , including vulnerable children, are now receiving care, support, anti-retroviral treatment.

The President expressed his commitment to continue the development of intercountry adoption cooperation between the U.S. and Viet Nam that ensures the best interests of the child, respects his or her fundamental rights, and prevents the abduction and trafficking of children. The Prime Minister underscored that Viet Nam shares these goals and stressed that Viet Nam will speed up preparations for an early accession to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions. The Prime Minister also welcomed U.S. technical assistance in facilitating this step.

Prime Minister Dung thanked President Bush for the United States ’ assistance on Vietnam ’s Atomic Energy Law as well as for technical information and training on nuclear safety.

Finally, the two leaders discussed cooperation on climate issues. Prime Minister Dung and President Bush welcomed the commencement of the Delta Research and Global Observation Network (DRAGON) project in Vietnam , which will establish an institute at Can Tho University to cooperate on training and research to produce healthy ecosystems and sustainable deltas. The two leaders also agreed to work together to promote Vietnamese climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, including the formation of a new subcommittee under the bilateral Science and Technology Agreement to discuss and coordinate joint initiatives.-