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Vietnam Today

PM receives US Secretary of Defense

Released at: 11:10, 21/11/2019

PM receives US Secretary of Defense

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (Photo: VNA)

Dr. Mark T. Esper on official visit to Vietnam from November 19-21.

by Long Van

US Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper is paying an official visit to Vietnam from November 19 to 21 at the invitation of Minister of Defense General Ngo Xuan Lich.

During his meeting with Secretary Esper in Hanoi on November 20, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, as quoted by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), said that Vietnam highly values the comprehensive partnership with the US, considering it one of the country’s most important partners.

According to the State-run news agency, the Prime Minster spoke highly of the outcomes of the talks between General Lich and Secretary Esper as well as the practical and effective results of bilateral defense ties within the framework of the bilateral comprehensive partnership and agreements by the two countries’ leaders.

Affirming that the Vietnamese Government supports bilateral defense ties, he suggested the two defense sectors take measures to effectively realize signed agreements, including joint statements between the two countries’ leaders.

Vietnam will continue to fully and effectively partner with the US in the search for American serviceman missing-in-action (MIA), he said.

Hailing defense cooperation as one of the foundations of the Vietnam - US relationship, which contributes to maintaining peace and stability and ensures freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, Secretary Esper affirmed that the US wants to further promote extensive collaboration and defense ties with Vietnam for the sake of peace and stability in the region.

He thanked Vietnam for assisting the US in searching for servicemen listed as MIA during the war and pledged to continue helping Vietnam in this work as well as to step up dioxin detoxification.

The guest expressed a readiness to back Vietnam in UN peacekeeping missions and expand joint work in other areas.

Lauding the significance of the year 2020, when Vietnam assumes the role of ASEAN Chair and the two countries celebrate the 25th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral ties, he said the US hopes to actively help Vietnam fulfill its assigned tasks.

The US appreciates the comprehensive partnership with Vietnam and strives to boost cooperation with the country, he said.

Prime Minster Phuc proposed that both sides continue providing mutual consultation and support at multilateral forums, particularly at forums hosted by ASEAN, and support defense forums held by Vietnam’s Ministry of Defense next year.

He also sought the US’s assistance in UN peacekeeping missions, especially in ensuring the operations of Vietnam’s Level-2 field hospital in Sudan.

The Prime Minster affirmed Vietnam’s determination to develop balanced and sustainable trade with the US, believing that with determination and goodwill the two nations will further lift their ties.

He expressed a wish to welcome the US President, Secretary of Defense, and other officials to important international events during its term as ASEAN Chair in 2020.

Secretary Esper once again affirmed that the US supports Vietnam and ASEAN’s stance on the East Sea issue and will strive to make active contributions to ensuring peace, stability, and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea.

He thanked Vietnam for its assistance in successfully holding the DPRK-US Summit in Hanoi in February, believing that the two countries will succeed when looking to the future.

During their talks on the same day, General Lich and Secretary Esper exchanged views on issues of shared concern and stressed the importance of maintaining a peaceful and stable environment for development, VNA reported.

They agreed to deepen the bilateral defense ties, thus contributing to the comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and the US.

The two agreed that outcomes of defense cooperation have met the aspirations and interests of both nations, especially in the settlement of post-war consequences such as the search for MIAs and bomb and mine clearance, Agent Orange (AO) / dioxin remediation, UN peacekeeping operations, training, military medicine, and the improvement of law enforcement capacity at sea, disaster relief, and humanitarian aid.

The two sides will step up cooperation in accordance with the contents of the memorandum of understanding on promoting defense collaboration signed in 2011, the joint vision statement on defense cooperation inked in 2015 and the cooperation plan for 2018-2020, focusing on high-ranking delegation exchange, consultation and dialogue mechanisms and joint work to address post-war consequences.

In the immediate future, they will join hands in implementing the project on dioxin remediation at Bien Hoa Airport, near Ho Chi Minh City, search and rescue, disaster relief and humanitarian aid, maritime security, military medicine, and English language training. The two sides will also research the demand for cooperation in the defense industry and UN peacekeeping operations.

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