The relationship between the United States and Vietnam is no longer shaped primarily by what happened in the past, said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on his recent visit to Hanoi. Today, the U.S. and Vietnam are strengthening their ties across a broad range of areas, including trade, the environment, education, health, and security.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which involves a dozen Pacific Rim nations, has the potential to elevate trade among the countries representing nearly 40 percent of the globe’s output. When completed, this trade agreement will have built a regional platform to create jobs, enhance the environment, improve working conditions and strengthen commercial ties.
In the flood-prone Mekong Delta, the U.S. through the Lower Mekong Initiative is working to improve Vietnam’s resilience to the forces of nature by building sustainable infrastructure and developing ecosystem resource management.
The U.S. and Vietnam are also teaming up to improve education in Vietnam by partnering to build the Fulbright University of Vietnam.
As part of the U.S. Global Health Security Agenda, the U.S. is working with Vietnam to build the capacity to prevent and respond to epidemic disease outbreaks.
With regard to the South China Sea, the U.S. and Vietnam share an interest in freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of disputes, said Secretary Kerry. “The United States has made it clear that we do not favor one set of claims over another – but we do support a process through which disputes can be resolved peacefully and in accordance with international law. . . .Whether big or small, all countries should refrain from provocative acts that add to tensions or might further militarize the sea.”
Finally, the U.S. and Vietnam will continue their joint recovery operations to answer every question regarding the possible fate of Americans or Vietnamese still unaccounted following the war.
“There are steep hills yet to climb,” said Secretary Kerry, “and hard choices to make for our partnership in order to reach its full potential. But we know that the sky above us is the limit; given what we have achieved, and our people’s common aspirations, anything – and everything – is possible.”