The United States and Vietnam are moving forward on defense cooperation and addressing issues from past conflicts, following a day of talks in Hanoi recently. Coming on the fifteenth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries, the discussions marked the third in a series of annual meetings aimed at strengthening bilateral ties.
The leader of the U.S. delegation, Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro, said the two sides discussed the regional and global security situation and nonproliferation, as well as bolstering cooperation in maritime security, search and rescue, ship visits, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and transnational crime. The participants also conferred about future Vietnamese participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions. The Vietnamese government first expressed interest in participating in U.N. peacekeeping operations back in 2007, saying it would do so when conditions are appropriate. We look forward to welcoming Vietnam's participation in such efforts.
The two sides addressed efforts to remove unexploded bombs and landmines from past conflicts and to account for missing personnel on both sides. The U.S. has allocated $3.5 million to assist Vietnam this year in addressing explosive remnants of war. The talks also addressed efforts to continue dealing with contamination from dioxin, caused by the U.S. use of the defoliant Agent Orange. To date, some $9 million has been provided to fund the ongoing remediation program and to support disabled Vietnamese.
The discussions confirm an increasingly robust bilateral defense relationship between our two nations, one based on friendship, mutual respect and a shared commitment to ensuring a peaceful, stable and secure Asia-Pacific region. A closer political-military relationship is a natural evolution of our maturing political, economic, cultural and social ties.