U.S. President Barrack Obama and Vietnam’s Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong have agreed to the principle of resolving disputes in the East Sea via peaceful means based on international law.
The agreement was reached during a meeting held at the White House in Washington, D.C., on July 7 (local time) between the U.S. president and his guest, who is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam.
General Secretary Trong is leading a delegation to the U.S. on a five-day visit, starting on July 6 (local time), at the invitation of the Obama administration.
The visit, which is the first-ever by a general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, takes place at a time when the two countries are marking the 20th anniversary of the restoration of diplomatic ties, and two years after Vietnam and the U.S. established a comprehensive partnership.
During the talks, which took place in the Oval Office at the White House, the host and guest discussed many important issues in the relationship of the two countries, as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.
President Obama said Washington attaches special importance to its relations with Hanoi and its role in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
He also expressed his hope for stronger bilateral relations in the future for the sake of the two countries and the region.
Meanwhile, General Secretary Trong affirmed Vietnam’s consistent and long-term policy of treasuring the development of relations with the U.S.
The full implementation of the comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and the U.S. based on respecting each other’s independence, sovereignty and political regime without interference in each other’s internal affairs is the foundation to build trust and take bilateral ties to a new level, General Secretary Trong said.
President Obama and his guest exchanged opinions and agreed on major orientations to bolster bilateral ties and deepen the comprehensive partnership, established in 2013.
Both sides also voiced their optimism about prospects for Vietnam-U.S. relations in the coming time.
They hailed positive progress gained during negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and underlined the importance of this free trade pact to regional development, along with its contributions to global growth.
The two leaders also agreed that the maintenance of peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea is the common interest and responsibility of the regional and international community.
They both expressed support for the principle of resolving disputes via peaceful means on the basis of respect for international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, implementing strictly and fully the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, and working toward the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct for the sea.
They also agreed to the principle of not using or threatening to use force and not taking actions to further complicate the situation in the East Sea, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
The two leaders also had open discussions on human rights issues, during which President Obama expressed hope that the two countries will continue dialogue and enhance cooperation in this field.
Meanwhile, General Secretary Trong affirmed that protection of human rights has always been a top priority of Vietnam, adding that the Southeast Asian country is willing to continue holding dialogue with the U.S. in this area.
He also invited President Obama to visit Vietnam in the near future, and the U.S. president accepted it with pleasure.
Following their talks, General Secretary Trong and President Obama met with the press.
The two sides also issued a U.S.-Vietnam Joint Vision Statement.
President Obama told the press that he was pleased to welcome General Secretary Trong on the 20th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral relations.
Relations between the two countries had painful chapters in the 20th century, and there are differences between them over political philosophy and systems, but American and Vietnamese leaders have worked together for the sake of their people’s interest and happiness and have achieved positive outcomes in many fields, the Vietnam News Agency quoted President Obama as saying.
The U.S. president said he and General Secretary Trong discussed measures to deepen relations in the framework of the comprehensive partnership, talked about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and shared opinions on the settlement of disputes by peaceful measures on the basis of international law.
Regarding the differences between the two sides on some issues, President Obama said he believed they would be solved through diplomatic efforts, not only in the bilateral framework, but also via multilateral channels and ASEAN cooperation, the news agency reported.
Meanwhile, General Secretary Trong said he and President Obama had a constructive, straightforward and sincere talk.
From two former enemies, Vietnam and the U.S. have become friends and then comprehensive partners, he said, affirming that the relations will further grow in the future, thanks to the strategic vision and the effort of leaders of both countries and the support of their people, General Secretary Trong was quoted by the news agency as saying.
He stressed that the two sides had in-depth discussions toward a better relationship in the future with comprehensive development in all fields.