Vietnam, US review cooperation in settling war consequences


Vietnam and the US have reviewed their cooperation in dealing with the consequences of war during a conference in Washington DC on March 26, which was jointly held by the National Steering Committee on the Settlement of Post-war Unexploded Ordnance and Toxic Chemical Consequences (Office 701) and the US Institute of Peace (USIP).


This symposium was co-hosted by Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Defense Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Head of Steering Committee 701’s Standing Board and U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. 


From the Vietnamese side, H.E. Ha Kim Ngoc, Vietnam Ambassador to the United States as well as representatives from various Ministries, Authorities and agencies attended this event. 


From the United States side, nearly 200 delegates and honorable guests attended the symposium, including representatives from the U.S. Congress; high-level officials of the U.S Department of Defense, Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, non-governmental organizations, former U.S Ambassadors to Vietnam, American friends, among others.



Addressing the event, Deputy Defence Minister Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh underlined that trust between the two governments has paved the way for the development of partnerships between the two countries.


He held that the two sides should look further to the future as they have already overcome challenges in gaining each other’s trust through activities in repairing the effects of war.


Sen. Lieut. Gen. Vinh highly valued the support of Senator Patrick Leahy, Vice Chairman of US Senate Appropriations Committee, in easing some of the pains of war for Vietnamese people. He underlined that local people are willing to help search for US pilots who went missing during the war in Vietnam.


US Senator Patrick Leahy lauded the efforts of the Vietnamese Government in searching for US soldiers missing in action (MIA) in Vietnam, even when the country still faced many difficulties and periods of poverty due to the devastations of war and the US’ embargo.


Senator Leahy said that over the years, the US has supported Vietnam in many bombs and mine clearance projects, as well as projects to support Agent Orange/dioxin victims and remediate dioxin contamination around Da Nang airport.


He said that the US will continue providing funds for Vietnamese people with disabilities in areas affected by Agent Orange/dioxin, revealing that he will lead a US parliamentarian delegation to visit Vietnam in early April to attend the opening ceremony of the dioxin remediation project in Bien Hoa airport, as well as the signing of a memorandum of understanding on launching a fund to support the project with Office 701.


Throughout three discussions on the foundation of the Vietnam-US post-war relations; the healing of the pains of war; and the future path to building a sustainable partnership, Vietnam affirmed that the settlement of the aftermaths of war, including searching for US MIAs, is among the top priorities of Vietnam-US cooperation. The humanitarian partnership is the motivation for their collaboration in the future, contributing to building bilateral trust. The US side showed appreciation for Vietnam’s ongoing efforts in searching for US MIAs.


At the event, insiders from both Vietnam and the US shared their stories, highlighting the difficulties and challenges in the process of normalizing relations between the two countries, affirming that settlement of war consequences is always an important foundation for the bilateral partnership–VNA