Last week, Vietnam’s Communist Party Chief Nguyen Phu Trong embarked on a historic trip to the US to celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic normalization between the two former foes. Trong is the first ever Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary to visit the US.
In the 20 years that has passed since the nonalization of the diplomatic relations, the two sides have witnessed dramatic and positive development in Vietnam – US relations, especially in political and economic cooperation. During a visit to Vietnam in late 2013, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that no other two countries “have worked harder, done more and done better to try to bring themselves together and change history and change the future” like Vietnam and the US.
Over the last 20 years, economic and trade cooperation has been dramatically boosted, the US has become Vietnam’s leading economic parner and is currently the biggest export market. During the past three years, two-way trade turnover increased over 20 percent annually.
The visit by Trong is a significant chance for both sides to enhance Vietnam-US Comprehensive Partnership in an active, mutual understanding and sustainable manner.
Cooperation in science, technology, education and training has taken positive and substantive steps in recent years. The signing of a Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (123 Agreement) is also a breakthrough, which paves the way for bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear sector. Cooperation in many other fields, such as healthcare, humanitarianism, environment, defense and security, has also expanded.
The two sides have established a dialogue which is increasingly open and friendly. The US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and Vietnam Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh recently signed a Joint Vision Statement on Defense Relations, which orients their defense cooperation in the coming years.
Cooperation in regional and multilateral issues has also become more and more effective and practical. These include strategic issues such as counter-terrorism, maintaining peace, stability and cooperation in Asia-Pacific, maritime safety and security, climate change response.
The achieved progress is positive, in the right direction and contributing to the development of each country, bringing practical interests for the two peoples and contributing positively to the maintenance of peace, stability, security, cooperation and development in the Asia-Pacific region.