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Vietnam Today

US Defense Secretary: Vietnam & US "like-minded partners"

Released at: 22:40, 27/01/2018

US Defense Secretary: Vietnam & US "like-minded partners"

Vietnam Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich (left) and US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (right) Photo: Tuoi Tre

Secretary makes comment on final day of Vietnam visit.

by Quang Huy

Vietnam and the US are “like-minded partners” that have a forward-looking relationship, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said on January 25 as he concluded a visit to Hanoi.

Secretary Mattis and Minister of Defense Ngo Xuan Lich met on the same day to discuss regional security issues. The two committed to enhancing defense cooperation based on a three-year plan of action agreed upon last October, with a focus on maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and peacekeeping operations.

Photo: Tuoi Tre

Mr. Mattis and Minister Lich also noted recent progress on the Cooperative Humanitarian and Medical Storage Initiative and robust Coast Guard cooperation, including the arrival of a former US Coast Guard cutter in Vietnam in December.

Secretary Mattis also highlighted the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which reaffirms the US’s commitment to work with partners such as Vietnam to sustain a rules-based order in a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

He also met with Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and State President Tran Dai Quang 

Mr. Trong said he appreciated the outcomes of Mr. Mattis’s talks with Minister Lich and expressed his satisfaction with developments in ties between the two countries.

Photo: Tuoi Tre

Mr. Trong affirmed Vietnam’s consistent policy of attaching importance to the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership, for the long-term interests of the two peoples and for peace, stability, and development. 

“This is normal coordination and consultation as we work out a relationship with Vietnam, with leaving things in the past as our starting point,” Mr. Mattis told reporters travelling with him to Honolulu after leaving Vietnam.

He said the US and Vietnam share values based on mutual respect and common interests, including freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and recognition of national sovereignty.

“We’re finally finalizing details on the possible visit by a US aircraft carrier to Vietnam sometime in the spring,” he added. Chief Pentagon spokesperson Ms. Dana W. White said Mr. Mattis and Minister Lich agreed to work towards a visit by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to Da Nang in March.

Vietnam and the US normalized diplomatic relations in July 1995, 20 years after liberation. The relationship has been solidified in recent times, with former US President Barack Obama fully lifting the US ban on weapons sales to Vietnam during an official trip in May 2016, while President Donald Trump witnessed the signing of a number of trade deals when he was in Hanoi last November.

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