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Vietnam, US talk political, security, defence matters

Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc and the US’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Tina Kaidanow co-chaired the ninth Vietnam-US Political, Security and Defence Dialogue in Hanoi on January 30.

Both Ngoc and Kaidanow recognised positive developments in bilateral ties since Vietnam and the US set up their comprehensive partnership in 2013.

They added that 2017 was a successful year of Vietnam-US relations, evidenced by the visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to the US in May and Vietnam becoming the first Southeast Asian nation to welcome President Donald Trump in November.

Ngoc affirmed that Vietnam highly values and hopes to intensify the relationship with the US in a stable, extensive and effective manner on the basis of respecting each other’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political regime, thus contributing to maintaining peace, stability, cooperation and development in the Asian-Pacific region and the world.

He suggested that the two countries focus on efficiently implementing agreements reached by their senior leaders in 2017, aiming to continue boosting the ties in a practical and effective manner, while maintaining regular meetings and dialogues, and promoting growth of bilateral cooperation in economy, trade and investment.

Ngoc also showed satisfaction of security-defence relationship, including the successful Vietnam visit by US Secretary of Defence James Mattis in early 2018. He proposed that the two sides strengthen cooperation in humanitarian activities and overcoming war aftermaths, focusing on the remediation project in Bien Hoa airport, UXO clearance, assistance to war victims and search for Vietnamese soldiers missing during the war.

Kaidanow agreed that the two sides should maintain growth trend and deepen bilateral ties through the exchange of delegations, especially high-ranking ones, while promoting the efficiency of existing collaboration mechanisms and considering economic, trade and investment partnership as a key pillar and motivation in forging stronger cooperation in the future.

She said that the two sides should continue bolstering security and defence ties. While affirming that dealing with war consequences is a priority of the US in security-defence cooperation, she pledged that the US will continue work with Vietnam in the field.

Kaidanow also pointed to high potential in bilateral coordination in humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, search and rescue, maritime security, and defence trade.

At the dialogue, the two sides also discussed measures to enhance cooperation in regional and international issues of shared concern. They concurred to support the central role of ASEAN in matters related to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region, promoting coordination in nuclear weapon nonproliferation, anti-terrorism, cyber security, international crimes, and peacekeeping activities at the United Nations.

They exchanged viewpoints on the East Sea issues, reaffirming the significance of ensuring that maritime and aviation security, safety, freedom and trade are not hindered in the East Sea. They highlighted the need of not using or threatening to use forces, as well as the settlement of disputes in the sea through peaceful measures in compliance with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS), the full respect of diplomatic and legal processes, the effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the Ease Sea (DOC), and the soon signing of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Both sides agreed to hold the 10th dialogue in Washington DC, after agreeing that the 9th dialogue took place in an open manner with respect and mutual understanding, helping reinforce the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.