US commits to strengthen, deepen ties with VN

(VNA) The US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has reaffirmed the commitment of the US to strengthen and deepen its relationship with Vietnam and the nations of Southeast Asia.

Hilary made the remark at the joint meeting with reporters at the US Department of State on Oct. 1 following a meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem.

“We believe that this is a region vital to global progress, prosperity, and peace, and we are fully engaged with our partners in ASEAN on a wide range of challenges," she said.

She and Deputy PM Khiem had a productive discussion focusing on many issues, including regular dialogues on security, trade, human rights, especially freedom of expression; humanitarian cooperation, natural disaster cooperation and Vietnam’s chair of the UN Security Council in October, she added.

In the UNSC, Vietnam and US will work to advance nonproliferation, women’s rights, and other areas, Hilary said, adding that the two sides are also going to work to deepen their already strong and growing economic ties.

Last year, Vietnam-US two-way trade surpassed 15 billion USD. “That is more than tenfold of an increase since our bilateral trade agreement went into effect in 2001," she remarked.

Secretary Hilary said that next year will mark the 15th anniversary of the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two countries. "We can be proud of the progress we’ve made," she said.

On this occasion, she expressed the deepest sympathy of the United States for the loss of life and destruction of property caused across so many countries through the impact of Typhoon Ketsana. "We stand ready to assist the people of Vietnam as they recover from this tragedy, just as we are working with the victims of the earthquakes, of the tsunamis," Hilary said.

For his part, Deputy PM Khiem said that his discussion with the US Secretary of State took place in an atmosphere which is very friendly, constructive, and candid.

"I reaffirmed the commitment of the Vietnamese Government to attach importance to relations with the United States, and we consider the US as one of the top partners of Vietnam," said the Deputy PM.

He said bilateral ties have been growing very fast in the past years, and "we need to build on that progress for further expansion of bilateral economic and trade ties, and also cooperation in education training, our science and technology cooperation.”

Vietnam has high value for the quality of higher education of the US, and currently over 10,000 Vietnamese students are studying in the country, Deputy PM Khiem noted.

He also appreciated the US cooperation with ASEAN, as well as the initiative of America in cooperating with the Mekong sub-region countries, adding both sides strongly believed in the very strong and solid growth of cooperation in this area.

Asked about Vietnam taking the chair of ASEAN in 2010, Secretary Hilary said, "I’m looking forward to Vietnam assuming the chairmanship of ASEAN. We think there are a number of important issues that Vietnam will be able to lead ASEAN in addressing. I look forward to the ASEAN meeting in Vietnam, and I intend to be there."

Regarding the possibility whether President Obama could make an official visit to Vietnam when Vietnam becomes the Chairman of ASEAN in 2010, Secretary Hilary said the President shared her deep commitment to deepening and strengthening relationship between Vietnam and the US and also the importance of ASEAN./.