This month marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Vietnam.
“It was a historic step,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, “one that first required us to face the dark legacy of war between our two nations.”
In the 1980s, the U.S. and Vietnam worked to overcome the devastation of war through the repatriation of the remains of American soldiers in Vietnam. This led to better ties and the formal re-establishment of relations in 1995. “Since then,” said Secretary Pompeo, “we’ve built a friendship on common interests, mutual respect, and bold resolve to overcome the past and look toward the future.”
The United States has contributed significantly to Vietnam’s remarkable economic growth. In the past two decades, bilateral trade has grown an incredible 7,000 percent. Indeed, American companies are helping by pouring billions of dollars in investment into the country. Vietnam is now one of the fastest growing economies in South East Asia, lifting millions out of poverty.
The United States and Vietnam have also expanded people-to-people ties, including in the field of education. Nearly 30,000 young Vietnamese citizens are currently studying at universities in the United States.
While in the past, the U.S. and Vietnam were opponents on the battlefield, today, “our security relationship is all about cooperation,” said Secretary Pompeo. Recently the USS Theodore Roosevelt visited Da Nang, the second U.S. aircraft carrier to visit Vietnam since the end of the war. And, with the lifting of the U.S. arms embargo four years ago, the U.S. and Vietnamese militaries are looking to further increase security cooperation.
Secretary Pompeo noted that “there are still challenges in our relationship.” But the ability to “have honest discussions when we disagree is confirmation of our potential as partners.”
“In the coming years, the United States and Vietnam must stay focused on the future,” stressed Secretary Pompeo, “building our cooperation in areas from cybersecurity to education to energy to defense.”
As we celebrate 25 years of partnership in 2020, said Secretary Pompeo, “let us renew our commitment to a strong and independent Vietnam and a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.”