The U.S. appreciates Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh’s thorough participation at the U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit in Washington, a senior diplomat said Tuesday.
“We were absolutely honored to have Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh representing Vietnam at the summit,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel J. Kritenbrink.
“We were very grateful that PM Chinh spoke at every session on a broad range of issues including our desire to combat climate change, combat the spread of Covid-19, and of course, advance the shared principles on maritime-related matters that we’ve referred to elsewhere,” Kritenbrink told VnExpress in a telephonic conversation.
The summit was held May 12-13 to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the relations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the U.S.
PM Chinh and other ASEAN leaders attended a reception hosted by President Joe Biden on May 12 evening at the White House before participating in the main meeting on May 13.
The summit saw leaders of both sides express their commitment to raising their relationship to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” in November this year.
U.S. President Joe Biden pledged $150 million in support of the bloc to build infrastructure, security, pandemic preparedness and other efforts.
“While this summit was designed primarily to celebrate our vital partnership with ASEAN, it was also an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the incredible partnerships we have (individually) with many countries in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam,” Kritenbrink said.
He said the summit had provided opportunities for U.S. President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to step up engagement with Vietnamese leaders.
On meeting PM Chinh at the White House on May 13, Biden said he’s always had a lot of love for Vietnam and its people, and during his time as U.S. senator, he and his late colleague John McCain had lobbied to bolster relations with Vietnam.
Biden said he agreed with Chinh on the need to respect nations’ independence and sovereignty, and that Washington wants to cooperate and support developing countries, including Vietnam, in multiple areas, including commerce, disease prevention and climate change response.
“The President enjoyed his conversation with the Prime Minister at dinner as he did with the other leaders. […] I think that he is very committed to strengthening bilateral relationships with countries in the region,” said Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for East Asia and Oceania on the National Security Council Edgard D. Kagan, also on the phone.
PM Chinh paid an official visit to the U.S. after the summit and discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties on many key issues.
Bilateral ties between Vietnam and the U.S. have grown steadily since the former foes normalized relations in 1995.
Recent milestones include the U.S. fully lifting the lethal arms export ban to Vietnam during President Barack Obama’s visit in May 2016 and sending aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to Da Nang in March 2018.
Bilateral trade surged from $450 million in 1994, a year before normalization of ties, to $111.56 billion in 2021.
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