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Once enemies and now partners, The United States and Vietnam have built ties with each other through trade and educational exchange, and leaders of our 2 nations have pledged to develop them further.
Meeting in Washington with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem on October first, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. is committed to strengthening ties with Vietnam and working more closely on vital security issues. "This is a region vital to global progress, prosperity and peace and we are fully engaged on a wide range of issues," Secretary Clinton said.
Our 2 countries agreed to normal diplomatic relations in 1995 and since then have developed strong economic ties. Last year, 2-way trade between the U.S. and Vietnam was more than $15 billion, an increase of 1,000 percent since 2001 when a formal trade agreement took effect.
In their discussion, the Secretary and Foreign Minister said they will work to develop greater cooperation on education, science and technology, and security. Already more than 10,000 Vietnamese students are studying at U.S. colleges and universities, and they would like that number to increase.
As Vietnam intensified efforts to help citizens suffering in the aftermath of Typhoon Ketsana, which ravaged coastal areas of Central Vietnam last week, Secretary Clinton also offered assistance for victims of the storm, the worst to hit the region in many years.