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US Secretary of Defence pays official visit to Vietnam

US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin is on an official visit to Vietnam on July 28 and 29 at the invitation of Vietnamese Minister of National Defence General Phan Van Giang.

After an official welcome ceremony chaired by Gen. Giang on July 29, the two ministers held talks, during which they appreciated the results of bilateral defence cooperation, and said that the cooperation has achieved practical results, that conform to the comprehensive partnership between the two countries, especially in overcoming war consequences, addressing non-traditional security challenges, supporting Vietnam in joining the United Nations peacekeeping missions, and improving the law enforcement at sea and military medicine.

The US official took the occasion to provide equipment to serve Vietnam’s efforts to combat the pandemic.

They agreed to continue promoting collaboration following the Memorandum of Understanding on Promoting Defence Cooperation signed in 2011 and the Joint Vision Statement on Defence Relations signed in 2015, with priority given to the settlement of war consequences, the improvement of law enforcement at sea, military medicine collaboration in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and training.

The US Secretary of Defence agreed to step up the implementation of the dioxin decontamination project at Bien Hoa airport and other humanitarian projects in Vietnam.

At the talks, the two sides also exchanged views on international and regional issues of mutual concern, especially traditional and non-traditional security challenges that directly affect the region. They affirmed ASEAN’s central role in enhancing cooperation within the framework of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) in order to maintain an environment of peace and stability in the region and the world.

They shared views on the importance of respecting the legitimate rights and interests of coastal states, peacefully solving disputes as well as maintaining peace stability, safety, order and freedom of aviation and navigation at seas and oceans in accordance with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).

The two ministers then witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in searching, gathering and identifying the remains of Vietnamese martyrs.

The US Defence Secretary is scheduled to pay courtesy visits to State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

The visit will contribute to strengthening friendship and trust between the people and armies of the two countries, and implementing defence cooperation contents signed between the two defence ministries and agreements reached by the two nations’ high-ranking leaders, thus contributing to the framework of the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership./