American Ambassador to Vietnam Michael Michalak confirmed with VietNamNet that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will go to Vietnam this July to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and some bilateral activities.
American Ambassador to Vietnam Michael Michalak
At the press conference in Hanoi on June 29 to highlight the 15th anniversary of normalisation of Vietnam-US relations, Ambassador Michalak said that Clinton will meet with Vietnamese officials to discuss bilateral cooperation in trade, education, and non-proliferation of nuclear weapon.
Next week, Senator Jim Webb and the first American Ambassador to Vietnam Pete Peterson will come to Vietnam to attend a workshop reviewing the cooperation process between the two countries.
The US Ambassador went on to take media questions about Vietnam-US cooperation in the past 15 years.
Tuoi Tre: Please tell us the US view on military cooperation with Vietnam?
I think that military cooperation between the two countries has developed very well in the last 15 years.
The outstanding event was the US visit of Minister of Defence Phung Quang Thanh last year and the US Secretary of Defence also wished to participate in the expanded ASEAN Defence Ministerial Meeting (ADMM+) in Hanoi this October.
We have expanded military cooperation based on English training for Vietnamese military officers, cooperation in searching and rescue and I hope that the two sides will together take part in jointed activities like peace-keeping activities.
The two countries also cooperate in army medical, assistance in disasters. We are closely working with the Vietnamese government to arrange an official visit of a US naval ship this August.
Lao Dong: What do you comment about the mutual-trust between US and Vietnamese leaders at present?
In the past 15 years, the mutual-trust between the two countries has increased highly. We don’t agree with each other on every subject but we can sit together to discuss the issues that we don’t share the same view.
The US trade deficit with Vietnam is $10-12 billion but we believe that we can double our exports to Vietnam in the future. Trade is a two-way process. If the US doubles its export, it may double its import from Vietnam. That’s a mutual-benefit situation.
The two countries also share common concerns and common interests, for example peace and stability in East Asia. The two sides also emphasise a good educational system and promote global trade.
AP: A joint dialogue between the US and Vietnam several weeks ago introduced a plan of action to raise $300 million within ten years to solve Agent Orange/dioxin issue in Vietnam, in which they called for the US to contribute half of the fund. Is there any move in this issue and whether the US Congress will approve this funding?
We are working closely with the Vietnamese government to deal with war legacies. There will have a meeting of the Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) on Agent Orange/dioxin. The two sides will discuss further the plan to deal with AO/dioxin in Da Nang.
Yesterday I witnessed the signing ceremony of a $5 million project funded by the UN Global Environment Facility to clean up hotspots of dioxin contamination in Vietnam. I also witnessed the action plan of the dialogue group on AO/dioxin… I don’t know how they are trying to work with the US Congress to raise the funds, but I applaud more funding to solve this issue.
Xinhua: What is US viewpoint on the conflict in the South China Sea (or the East Sea)?
We don’t stand on the side of any country in claiming their sovereignty over small islands in the South China Sea, but we worry about freedom of travel and activities in that sea area under international law.
ASEAN has had the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) to multi-lateralise the solution to disputes in the South China Sea and related sides need to use DOC. Disputes in the South China Sea need to be solve peacefully, not using force.
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