Hawaii to better ties with Vietnam: Governor

(VNA) The Governor of the State of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie, promised to better relations with Vietnam and to develop cooperation with the Southeast Asian country in terms of business and exchange of students and tourists.

At a reception for Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Le Cong Phung on March 10 in Honolulu, the Hawaii Governor agreed upon the Ambassador’s proposal that while Vietnam – US relations have matured after more than 15 years of diplomatic relations, Hawaii should strengthen relations with Vietnam as well as establish ties with its cities and provices.

“You can rest assured that our relations with the Vietnamese community here will be better,” Governor Abercrombie told the Vietnamese diplomat. “I will continue supporting the Vietnamese community here”.

He informed the Ambassador that the Vietnamese community in Hawaii , who account for 3 percent of the State’s population (about 36,000 people), has integrated itself in an exemplary way in Hawaii.

He expressed satisfaction at the considerable contributions made by the Vietnamese community in Hawaii to the State’s achievements.

Dung his working visit to Hawaii from March 9-12, Ambassador Phung was briefed by the State Lieutenant Governor, Brian Schatz, about Hawaii’s preparations for the Asia – Pacific Cooperation Forum summit, scheduled for Nov. 7-13 this year in Honolulu.

Ambassador Phung had a working session with senior officers of the United States Pacific Command (PACOM) at the headquarters in Honolulu.

Ambassador Phung and Admiral Robert Willard discussed the desire of Vietnam and the U.S. to increase broad bilateral cooperation as well as military relations.

During their constructive conversation, they agreed on the importance of maintaining a stable and secure maritime common, noting that disagreements over territorial claims and the appropriate use of the maritime domain appear to be a growing challenge to regional stability and prosperity.

They addressed how both Vietnam and the United States, in addition to other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members, ASEAN Regional Forum participants, other maritime nations and the broader international community, all have national interests in freedom of navigation with respect for relevant international law.

They held that it was ripe for the two countries to boost greater cooperation, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, search and rescue, peacekeeping operations, maritime security, exchanges including defence research institutions, military medicine, as well as high-level dialogues. They also highlighted Vietnam’s role in ASEAN and the ARF.

During his stay in the newest state of the U.S., Ambassador Phung had working sessions with senior officials of the East – West Centre, the Asia – Pacific Centre for Securities Studies and the University of Hawaii . He also met with members of the Association of Vietnamese Students in Hawaii and attended the Association members’ participation in Honolulu festivals./.