Twenty years after the United States and Vietnam normalized their relations, the two countries have steadily strengthened their cooperation. The bilateral relationship has never been stronger, cooperating on a full spectrum of issues including education, science and technology, climate change, sustainability, public health, and security.
Indeed, in May of this year, during a visit to Vietnam, President Barack Obama announced the lifting of the decades-old arms embargo. By doing so, President Obama removed the lingering vestiges of the Cold War and ensures that Vietnam has access to the equipment it needs to defend itself. This change also underscored the commitment of the United States to a fully normalized relationship with Vietnam, including strong defense ties with Vietnam and the region for the long term.
Building upon the May 2016 visit of President Obama to Vietnam and the July 2015 visit of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to the United States, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry invited Dinh The Huynh, Executive Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee, to Washington to deepen engagement between the two governments.
Secretary Kerry and Mr. Huynh reiterated the two countries’ commitment to deepening our comprehensive partnership, promoting trade and economic growth, and strengthening regional security and stability. Additionally, they discussed the peaceful management and resolution of disputes in the South China Sea, cooperating on humanitarian and disaster relief response, advancing human rights and legal reform, and collaborating on climate change mitigation and adaptation, particularly in the Mekong Delta. Both underscored their countries’ commitment to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement that has the potential to shape the future of the region.
“We both share a commitment to the peaceful use and respect for rule of law in the South China Sea,” said Secretary of State Kerry during a joint press conference.“The people of Vietnam today are witnessing a remarkable economic revolution. They are engaged in an amazing economic endeavor, a capitalist endeavor. It’s one of the fastest growing countries in the region. We very much look forward to a very productive relationship.”