Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited Vietnam

* VNA - Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong reiterated the Vietnamese Party and State’s consistent stance on developing ties with the US for their people as well as for peace, stability and development in the region and the world while receiving US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter in Hanoi on June 1. 


Expressing his delight at the positive progress of the two countries’ multifaceted cooperation since the end of the war 40 years ago and 20 years of the normalisation of diplomatic ties, the Party chief hailed the US authorities, Congress, individuals and collectives for their support to post-war recovery efforts in Vietnam, including the partnership between the Vietnamese Defence Ministry and the US Department of Defence in bomb and mine clearance, environment detoxification, humanitarian assistance and search for remains of missing-in-action US servicemen. 


He stressed the need to continue this activity to raise mutual trust and understanding, making it easier to solidify bilateral defence ties. 


Carter, for his part, affirmed the US’s wish for further close all-around links with Vietnam, and agreed with the facilitation of high-level visits, including an upcoming trip to the US by the Vietnamese leader which he described as significant. 


On the security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation and the recent developments in the East Sea, Carter informed the host about the outcomes of the recently-held Shangri-La Forum in Singapore, stressing that the US supports the settlement of disputes by diplomatic means on the basis of respect to international law. 


At the reception, both host and guest also discussed regional and global issues of shared concern.-VNA


* State President Truong Tan Sang welcomed the first-ever trip by US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter in Hanoi on June 1, saying that his visit came in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties. 


The two countries have been looking towards the future, manifested by the establishment of comprehensive partnership, regular high-level exchanges with the highlight of the upcoming visit by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, and meetings at the 2015 United Nations forums, the President said, adding that such occasions afford opportunities to talk about issues concerning peace and stability in the region and the world.


He also asked for early conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and fully lifting ban on weapon sales to Vietnam. 


Vietnam is ready to continue working with the US on humanitarian issues such as search for remains of missing-in-action US servicemen, bomb and mine clearance, Agent Orange/dioxin detoxification in Da Nang and Bien Hoa, the State leader declared. 


Thanking the US for its support in improving the capacity of search-and-rescue forces, the host urged the US to provide all necessary assistance to Vietnam in raising the capacity of maritime law enforcement forces. 


On the East Sea issue, he stressed that Vietnam continually pursues the policy of building a prosperous, independent and self-reliant country with hope to partner with countries on the basis of solidarity and friendship. 


The host said any dispute in the East Sea should be addressed via peaceful dialogues and respect to international law, especially the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, towards the formulation of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea. 


Vietnam wants countries to deliver on their promises at international forums, including exercising self-restraint and refraining from the use of forces, he said, adding that Vietnam is steadfast to strongly protesting actions that may change the status quo in the East Sea for military purpose and violate international law. 


According to him, the irrelevance of China’s self-claimed “nine-dot” line in the East Sea is complicating the issue, and Vietnam welcomes all countries that support the country and the ASEAN’s stance on the settlement of emerging issue in the East Sea. 


Carter said US President Obama is looking forward to the upcoming visit by the Vietnamese Party chief, adding that it will be a historic visit in the history of bilateral ties. 


The guest said Vietnam and the US share similar position regarding peace, security and maritime safety in the East Sea which will be discussed more in the coming time.-VNA


* Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh held talks with visiting US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter in Hanoi on June 1, during which both sides agreed defence cooperation during the past time has met the requirement of the MoU on this field signed in 2011 between the two countries. 


The Vietnamese Defence Minister lauded the US defence chief’s visit in the context that both countries are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the normalisation of bilateral relations. 


The minister said he believes the visit will contribute to promote the Vietnam-US defence collaboration in line with the 2011 memorandum of understanding (MoU) on strengthening bilateral defence partnership. 


Speaking to the media following the talks, Minister Phung Quang Thanh said Vietnam welcomes the US’ activeness in implementing programmes to surmount war aftermaths. 


He announced that during the talks, the two sides signed a joint vision statement on defence relations, defining the orientation for future bilateral affiliation on the foundation of the 2011 MoU. 


The future defence collaboration will cover activities addressing war aftermaths (searching for missing in action soldiers, dioxin detoxification, dealing with unexploded ordnance); the exchange of delegations; dialogue and consultation; experience sharing in search and rescue, disaster relief, peace-keeping operations and maritime security; training’ military medicine; mutual consultations at multilateral forums, the ADMM+; and other fields of mutual needs and capacity. 


The document also targets deeper friendship, mutual understanding and trust between the two countries, while fostering the comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and the US on the basis of respecting political institutions, independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and law of each other without harming security of other states. 


Meanwhile, the US defence chief said both sides concurred to deepen bilateral defence ties, laying the foundation for partnership in the next 20 years. The signing of the statement will create necessary conditions for the two defence ministries to realise their commitments, he added. 


This is a new step forwards in the Vietnam-US defence collaboration, especially in the area of maritime security, stated Carter. 


On the other hand, he said, the US and Vietnam are working together to ensure peace, stability in the region as well as in a broader range. 


The US will offer an 18 million USD support package to Vietnam’s Coast Guard to buy patrol vessels, while assisting Vietnam in building the peace-keeping training centre, he announced. 


The US pledges to support a Vietnam of independence, strength, prosperity and respect for human rights and the rule of law, he affirmed, adding that his country will continue working with Vietnam in coping with problems left by the war. 


Regarding the East Sea dispute, particularly the illegal construction of islands, Defence Minister Thanh reiterated Vietnam’s constant policy of settling sovereignty disputes through peaceful measures in conformity with international law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Declaration on Conduct of Parties on the East Sea and taking no actions to expand or complicate disputes. 


ASEAN member countries will make joint efforts with China towards the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea, he said./.