Senators John McCain and Sheldon Whitehouse visit Vietnam

* Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong on August 8 received a delegation of the US Senate led by Senators John McCain and Sheldon Whitehouse in Hanoi. 

The US Senators said the US-Vietnam relations have come a long way since normalization and are seeing good progress. They recommended several measures to boost bilateral cooperation in the time ahead, while affirming that the US Congress and Government wish to further the relations based on an equal footing and mutual respect with Vietnam in all fields and via different channels, including the ties with the Communist Party of Vietnam. 

The senators shared their assessments about the current situation in the world and the region, while expressing special concerns about maritime navigation freedom and recent tensions in the East Sea . They were of the view that respect for international standards and law is extremely necessary for all countries. 

The Party General Secretary expressed his satisfaction at the positive developments in the Vietnam-US multi-faceted ties, particularly those recorded over the past one year since the two countries established a comprehensive partnership. 

He reiterated that the Party and State of Vietnam consider the US a partner of leading importance of Vietnam and back the promotion of Vietnam-US relationship at all levels and in fields suitable with the interests of the two peoples as well as for peace, stability and development in the region and the world. 

General Secretary Trong said he hopes the two countries will undertake measures to effectively implement their comprehensive partnership and to prepare for celebrations of the 20th anniversary of normalization of bilateral ties in 2015. 


* Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on August 9 held a reception for visiting US Senators John McCain and Sheldon Whitehouse in Hanoi.

During the meeting, PM Dung stated that Vietnam is keen on working with the US to bolster bilateral ties in various areas, especially politics, diplomacy, economics, trade, investment, education and training, and science and technology.

He proposed that the US support Vietnam in the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), while applying flexible stance on Vietnam during the negotiation process.

Hailing the contributions of the two Senators to the development of ties between the two countries, PM Dung noted with pleasure that the Comprehensive Partnership between Vietnam and the US is growing in all fields.

Expressing wish to further defence-security ties with the US , PM Dung said Vietnam hopes for the US ’s support in improving the country’s ability to safeguard its national sovereignty.

He suggested the US to assist Vietnam in overcoming the aftermath of war, especially in bomb and mine clearance and Agent Organe/Dioxin consequences. 

The PM added that Vietnam is ready to coordinate with the US in the area of cyber security.

Regarding human rights issue, PM Dung made it clear that Vietnam has exerting efforts to better ensure human rights as this is not only a goal of the country but also a legitimate desire of Vietnamese people. 

The human rights situation in Vietnam has been positively improved, he noted, stressing that Vietnam is willing to hold dialogue with the US on the area.

For his part, Senator John McCain noted that the global situation continues becoming complicated with clashes occurring in many areas. 

Notably, maritime security, safety and freedom in the East Sea have always been a hot issue concerning many countries in the world, he said. 

Both McCain and Whitehouse agreed that in order to ensure peace, security, and maritime and aviation safety and freedom in the East Sea, all parties concerned, including China, should abide by international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, refraining from using or threatening to use force, and settling all disputes through peaceful measures.

They also emphasised the need to strictly implement the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) as well as the building of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in an early date.

McCain pledged that he and Whitehouse will propose to the US Congress to lift the ban on lethal weapons sales to Vietnam.

The two Senators also stated that the US is keen on further boosting partnership with Vietnam in maritime security, cyber security, environmental protection and water resources preservation.


* Chairman of the National Assembly Nguyen Sinh Hung held out hope that the Vietnam visit by US senators John McCain and Sheldon Whitehouse, starting on August 8, will leave an important imprint that helps further the partnership between the law-making bodies and people of Vietnam and the US. 

McCain is currently a member of the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Armed Services, while Whitehouse is serving as a member of the Senate’s Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on the Budget, the Committee on Environment and Public Works, and the Committee on Health, Education, Labour and Pensions.

At a reception for the senators in Hanoi the same day, Chairman Hung described the senators’ visit significant at a time when security in the region and the globe is developing complicatedly. 

He noted that with his extensive understanding of Vietnam, McCain has made important contributions to the Vietnam – US cooperation since the two countries normalised their relations in 1995.

He voiced his hope that both sides will further the exchange of high-ranking delegations to mark 20 years of the normalisation of their relations.

Highlighting joint achievements that the countries have attained, McCain said he and Whitehouse will ask the US Congress to soon lift the ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam.

The senators said they wish for closer partnership between the two countries, especially in security – defence, cyber security, and hydro-power plant construction.

McCain added the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which is set to be realised in the near future, will create an opportunity for development cooperation for each country as well as the whole region.

At the meeting, the two sides also discussed other matters of mutual concern, including the East Sea issue, expressing their concerns about China’s serious violation of international law in the East Sea that affected international maritime security and safety and threatened peace and stability in the region and the world. 

Chairman Hung said Vietnam always wants to maintain peace, unceasingly build up friendship and expand cooperation with all countries around the world.

He thanked the visiting senators and their peers for making concrete actions to support Vietnam’s stance on safeguarding the national sovereignty on the basis of international law for the regional and global peace and prosperity.-VNA


* The same day, Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh had a meeting with Senator McCain, during which the two sides agreed that the two countries should bolster cooperation in maritime security, navigation safety, personnel training and exchange of army delegations on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of normalization of ties. 

General Thanh underlined various cooperative activities between the two countries in the field of defence, which he said yielded practical results. The cooperation covers maritime security, search and rescue, disaster relief, bomb and mine removal, detoxification of Agent Orange/dioxin, and most recently, the US has shared experience with Vietnam in joining the United Nations peacekeeping force. 

Senator McCain said following this visit, he will urge the US Congress to lift the ban on lethal weapon sale to Vietnam.