US Senator Benjamin Cardin visits Vietnam

US Senator Benjamin Cardin has said he will express concern, on behalf of the US Congress and Government, over the situation in the East Sea and China’s provocative acts, especially its recent sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat, at the upcoming Shangri-La Forum in Singapore. 
At his meeting with President Truong Tan Sang in Hanoi on May 28, Senator Cardin, who is Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Asian and Pacific Affairs under the US Senate Committee on External Relations, also said the US backs the peaceful measures that Vietnam has adopted to address the dispute. 
The Senator informed President Sang that the US Senate Committee on External Relations has approved a resolution criticising China’s installation of Haiyang Shiyou - 981 rig as a provocative act, which affects peace, stability of the region and the world. 
On economic front, the US looks forward to forming new models of cooperation with Vietnam, including negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal as its government is embarking on key steps under its Asia-Pacific rebalance strategy, he said. 
The Senator also expressed his welcome of what Vietnam has achieved in TPP and human rights talks, as well as the country’s efforts in amending its Constitution and legal system. 
President Sang said he hopes the US parliament and government will further back the call for all parties in disputes to seriously and responsibly observe international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and work to soon finalise the Code of Conduct in the East Sea. 
He informed the US Senator of drastic moves that Vietnam has made during its ongoing economic restructuring, and took the occasion to ask the US to recognise Vietnam as a full market economy and lift its ban on the sale of legal weapons to Vietnam, stating that such moves will be beneficial to their comprehensive partnership. 
Regarding human rights issues, the President said they are among the key points in the 2013 Constitution, adding that it is crucial for the two sides to maintain dialogues to raise mutual understanding.-VNA