Update: 09:15 | 31/10/2020
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has affirmed his nation’s continued support for a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam.
Meeting his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi Friday, Pompeo said he appreciated the continuous strengthening and expanding of the two countries’ comprehensive partnership on the basis of respecting each other's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and political institutions.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) is with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi, October 30, 2020.
The foreign affairs ministry said in a statement that Pompeo also affirmed the U.S.’s support for Vietnam to play an increasingly important role in the region.
He also said the U.S. was committed to maintaining stable relations and continuing to cooperate with Vietnam to ensure bilateral relations progress substantially, reliably, effectively and sustainably, making a positive contribution to security, peace, cooperation and development in the region and the world.
Foreign Minister Minh said that Vietnam highly values its comprehensive partnership with the U.S., as well as the two countries' collaboration in organizing activities to celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations despite difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The minister thanked the U.S. for its support to Vietnam, which includes a sum of $2 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in responding to the pandemic and the flooding that ravaged the central region for three weeks since October 6.
During their talks, the two officials discussed measures to further promote bilateral relations, including resumption of regular delegation exchanges, humanitarian cooperation and confronting the legacies of war, as well as increasing bilateral trade and investment on the basis of mutual benefit.
"Our everyday interactions are highlighted by increasing trade and investment ties, strategic cooperation, and collaboration on humanitarian and legacy of war issues, including the solemn duty of accounting for our wartime missing," Pompeo said.
Minh said both sides should effectively implement an action plan towards sustainable and harmonious balance of trade and emphasized the potential for further cooperation in the energy sector. He also said Vietnam was committed to creating a favorable investment and business environment for the long term success of American businesses in Vietnam.
He suggested the U.S. continues to support the central role and solidarity of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), thus promoting the ASEAN-U.S. strategic partnership.
Pompeo expessed high appreciation of Vietnam's role as ASEAN Chair for 2020 and a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2020-2021 term.
He expressed his wish that the two sides continue to strengthen coordination in handling common challenges, contributing to maintaining peace, stability, security and development in the region and around the world.
During his October 29-30 visit, Pompeo also met with PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Minister for Public Security To Lam.
The trip was made to "reaffirm the strength of our comprehensive partnership, celebrate the 25th anniversary of U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic relations, and discuss issues in the South China Sea and Mekong regions of mutual concern," the U.S. Department of State said in a statement.
Vietnam and the U.S. officially normalized their relationship on July 11, 1995, 20 years after the end of the Vietnam War.
The former foes are comprehensive partners today, with bilateral trade increasing from $450 million in 1994 to $77 billion in 2019.
The U.S. is now Vietnam’s largest importer and Vietnam remains the U.S.’s fastest-growing market in Southeast Asia. Despite the adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, bilateral trade value rose nearly 10 percent in the first half of this year.
Pompeo's third visit to Vietnam is part of an itinerary that includes several Asian countries. He had previously attended the U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi, India, and visited Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
His first visit to Vietnam was in July 2018, when he discussed with Vietnamese leaders ways to further the two countries’ partnership as well as global and regional issues of mutual interest, including North Korea’s denuclearization. The second one was in February 2019 when he accompanied President Donald Trump for the latter’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi.