Vietnam esteems relations with US

(VNA) Vietnam attaches importance to its cooperation with the US and wishes to develop the relationship both bilaterally and multilaterally, said National Assembly (NA) Vice Chairman Nguyen Duc Kien.

Kien made the statement while receiving a US parliamentary delegation led by Senator Thomas Harkin, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labour and Pensions (CHELP), in Hanoi on July 7.

He acknowledged positive and effective developments in the relations between the two countries in general and between the two parliaments in particular.

The visit demonstrated US parliamentarians’ greater attention to Vietnam and a potential for future closer relationship between the two sides, he said.

The NA Vice Chairman requested that the US parliamentarians, with their influence, make active contributions to developing the bilateral ties, especially in economics, trade and investment, facilitate Vietnamese exports to the US market as well as the implementation of existing commitments between the two countries in health, education and training and in addressing the consequences of Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam.

For his part, Senator Thomas Harkin said that during his first return to Vietnam since 1995, he has witnessed rapid changes in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City .

He expressed his wish to make more contributions to strengthening bilateral relations in health, education and trade.

Regarding the settlement of the AO/dioxin consequences in Vietnam , the senator said he considers it a moral obligation and an important issue. He promised that with his role and duty, he would contribute more to addressing this issue.

On the same day, the US delegation was received by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, who highly valued Senator Thomas Harkin’s great contributions to boosting the normalisation of Vietnam-US ties as well as his support for the US government’s activities to help Vietnam overcome the aftermaths of AO/dioxin.

PM Dung also suggested the US government and parliament increase their assistance for Vietnam to redress serious effects caused by the toxic chemical, especially in cleaning dioxin-contaminated land areas and seeking over 300,000 Vietnamese people missing in the war.

He expressed his wish that Senator Thomas Harkin, as the CHELP Chairman, continues fostering the bilateral ties in health, education, labour and climate change.

The US delegation also had a working session with Minister of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan during which the two sides expressed that they are ready to strengthen cooperation and information exchange on issues relating to labour and the rights of labourers.

On the occasion, the US parliamentarians held a press briefing to inform about the results of their Vietnam visit.

Speaking at the meeting, Senator Thomas Harkin affirmed that based on statistics collected during their trip to witness dioxin cleaning activities in the central city of Da Nang, one of the hardest-hit localities by US bombs during the war, the clearance of the toxic chemical is totally feasible.

He also pledged that as a senator, he would try his best to accelerate the dioxin clearance process in Vietnam .

Regarding the two countries’ 15-year-old diplomatic ties, the senator said that members of both the US Senate and House of Representatives had a positive response to the development of the bilateral ties.

“We can not change the past but we can make the future better”, he added.

Sharing views with Thomas Harkin, Senator Bernie Sanders said he was proud of great achievements in the Vietnam-US relation over the past 15 years and vowed to further develop the bilateral ties in the future.

About the AO/dioxin issue, he said that it is the issue of not only Vietnam but also US war veterans as they themselves and their families have been seriously affected by the toxic chemical./.