US defense chief foresees boost in military ties


VNA - US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on June 3 that Vietnam-US relations still hold a lot of potential for further development as he was on board a Navy supply ship, the USNS Richard E. Byrd, currently anchored in Khanh Hoa province’s Cam Ranh Bay. 
Speaking to the media, Panetta said his working visit to Vietnam this time is to deepen military ties with the country based on the military co-operation agreement reached between the nations last year. 
Accordingly, both sides have agreed to co-operate in search and maritime rescue efforts, disaster relief, security, maritime safety and freedom. 
Panetta also thanked the Vietnamese Government for its efforts to search for the remains of US troops missing during the war.  
He is scheduled to pay a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and meet with senior officials, including Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh on June 4.
Panetta’s visit came after he announced at the Shangri-La Dialogue, which ended on June 3 in Singapore, that 60 percent of US Navy warships will be stationed in the Asia Pacific in the next decade.-VNA