President Obama’s visit is a hallmark of Vietnam-US relations

24/05/2016


The President of the United States of America (USA) Barack Obama started an official May 23rd-25th visit to Vietnam, at the invitation of Vietnamese State President Tran Dai Quang.
Barack Obama is the third consecutive US President to visit Vietnam. In 2000, President Bill Clinton paid the first-ever visit to Vietnam after the Vietnam War. The next US President, George W. Bush, visited Vietnam in 2006. Ten years later, President B. Obama is the third US president to visit Vietnam.
The visit is expected to be a hallmark of the comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and the USA. In fact, bilateral relations between Vietnam and the USA saw big developments in recent years. These developments included the historic visit of Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to the USA last year. Both the Vietnamese and US sides hope the visit of US President B. Obama will strengthen the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership, accelerate the implementation of signed agreements, promote bilateral trade and economic cooperation, increase mutual understanding, and narrow differences.
Since the normalization of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the USA in 1995, the two sides have followed the motto “Shelving the past, looking toward the future” to develop bilateral relations. After two decades, bilateral relations between Vietnam and the USA continue to develop very fast in various areas.
Regarding politics, Vietnam and the USA established the current comprehensive partnership in 2013. Since then, the two countries have reached a number of practical and positive outcomes in both the bilateral and multilateral domains. The two sides regularly exchange visits of high-ranking delegations. In the USA-Vietnam joint vision statement made during the visit of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to the USA in 2015, the two sides recognize positive developments and practical outcomes of the bilateral relations over the past 20 years in all areas, including politics. The two sides actively seek to promote mutual understanding and to settle any remaining issues in bilateral relations.
The two countries continuously boost cooperation in other areas. The most successful area of cooperation between Vietnam and the USA is trade and economic cooperation. Trade and economic cooperation have now become the engine for bilateral relations between the two countries. Two-way trade has continuously enjoyed an increase of some 20 percent per year since 1995. While two-way trade was valued only at US$ 400 million in 1995, it reached US$ 45 billion in 2015. The USA is now Vietnam’s biggest export market.
The USA is ranked 7th among the 101 foreign investors in Vietnam. US investors are running 748 projects, with a total registered capital of US$ 11 billion. Vietnam, the USA and other partners finished negotiations and signed an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in February 2016. TPP is still awaiting approval from the two countries’ governments, before it comes into effect. But TPP will facilitate and boost trade and economic cooperation between the two countries in the future.    
Recently, Vietnam and the USA also fostered cooperation in dealing with war legacies in Vietnam, education and training, science and technology, health, environmental protection, response to climate change, human rights, and defense and security.
Both Vietnam and the USA attach importance to promoting bilateral defense relations. A number of high-ranking US defense delegations visited Vietnam in recent years. The two sides have made concrete steps forward in dealing with war legacies. The two sides also share some views on issues related to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and world. The two Defense Ministries signed a Vietnam-USA joint vision statement on defense relations in September 2015. Bilateral security cooperation was marked by a visit of Vietnamese Police Minister Tran Dai Quang (current State President) to the USA in March 2015. During the visit, the two sides signed several deals to boost cooperation in security and law enforcement.        
Evidently, cooperation in health, environment and humanitarian aid between the USA and Vietnam brings about good outcomes. The two sides are implementing a number of concrete projects to support war victims and to deal with leftover unexploded ordnance (UXO). Since 1993, the US side has provided some US$ 94 million via non-governmental organizations for UXO clearing in central Vietnam. The US side also funded US$ 84 million for the project to clean dioxin pollution in Da Nang airport and US$ 11 million to support Vietnamese disabled people and victims of Agent Orange (dioxin) in the 2014-16 period.
Cooperation in education and training between the two countries is also impressive. As of January 2016, as many as 28,000 Vietnamese students studied in the USA. The community of  Vietnamese students in the USA is the largest compared to other communities of students from Southeast Asia and 7th largest among all foreign students communities in the USA. Vietnam and the USA also cooperate in building the Fulbright Vietnam University.
Vietnam and the USA are also actively cooperating in international forums and mechanisms, such as UN, ARF, EAS, APEC and ADMM+.
But a number of issues still remain in bilateral relations between Vietnam and the USA. Due to differences in history, culture, political system and development level, the two countries have different views on such issues as democracy, human rights and religion. The two sides hold annual dialogues in a frank and constructive manner to promote mutual understanding. However, the two sides have also agreed not to let the differences prevent development of bilateral relations.
One year ago, President B. Obama received Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong at the White House. Now he is Vietnam’s guest. The relationship between Vietnam and the USA has experienced ups and downs throughout the history. But the two countries are enjoying a new opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations amid the changing regional and global context.
The visit of US President B. Obama is widely expected to serve as another push for the bilateral relations. With the good will of both Vietnam and the USA, relations between Vietnam and the USA will likely enter a new development phase toward more practical outcomes on the basis of mutual understanding and respect.
The Vietnamese people and the American people as well as people around the world are observing US President B. Obama’s visit to Vietnam. They also expect that this visit will be successful and that relations between the two nations will reach more achievements in the future.     


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All comments [ 10 ]


John Smith 24/5/16 08:04

The much-awaiting visit to Vietnam by US President Barack Obama is expected to leave a new hallmark in the two countries’ comprehensive partnership.

yobro yobro 24/5/16 08:04

the visit is deemed as a move to affirm the positive trend of development in one of the world’s special relations.

Gentle Moon 24/5/16 08:05

Putting the past behind and looking towards the future is the policy that Vietnam and the US have pursued over the past 20 years since the two nations formally declared normalisation of bilateral relations in 1995 and after over 40 years since war ended in Vietnam in 1975.

Jane smartnic 24/5/16 08:06

I hope that the cooperation between the two countries have been expanded across security-defence, education, science-technology, and climate change adaptation.

LawrenceSamuels 24/5/16 08:07

Vietnam and the US are now reliable partners on Asia-Pacific and global issues.

Deck Hero14 24/5/16 08:08

President Obama will focus on the future rather than the past to deepen the security and economic ties with Vietnam – an increasingly important regional player.

Pack Cassiopian 24/5/16 08:09

Vietnam and the US are standing on new opportunities to enhance the bilateral relations in the light of regional and global changes.

Only Solidar 24/5/16 08:10

Obama’s visit to Vietnam is hoped to be a foundation and catalyst to drive the rapport forward.

MaskOf Zero 24/5/16 08:11

Certainly, there are major differences in the political system and the perception of democracy, human rights and religious freedom between the two countries. It will not be easy to find a common voice.

Love Peace 24/5/16 08:13

However, the Vietnam-US relations over the past two decades have proved that any relationship can be promoted if it is built on mutual respect and respect for differences.

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