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Vietnam-US ties boosted by trust building efforts

(Vietnamplus, 29/06/2010)

The Vietnam-US relationship is at the strongest point than it has ever been since diplomatic ties were resumed in 1995 and continues to grow each day, US Ambassador to Vietnam M. Michalak has said.

Michalak made the statement at a press conference held in Hanoi on June 29 to highlight the 15 th anniversary of normalisation of Vietnam-US relations.

The US Ambassador said over the past 15 years, the relations have continuously been developed and expanded, partly thanks to “a very great stride in building trust” between the two countries. From the earliest point of cooperation between Vietnam and the US starting with discussions over the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) issues, humanitarian mine clearance and unexploded ordnance removal, both sides have promoted cooperation in other areas including trade, education and health.

Ambassador Michalak said the US expects to increase military cooperation, which “has grown fantastically,” with Vietnam and boost cooperation in areas such as peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security, counterterrorism and counternarcotics, border security and nonproliferation.

“I believe over the past 15 years there has been a huge increase in the trust between the US and Vietnam ,” he said, confirming that the US is willing to “sit down and have friendly and open discussions” about some remaining disagreements.

The US Ambassador said the topics discussed by both sides have broadened out to cover every ministries in the government of Vietnam . He said wherever he goes in Vietnam , the countryside or cities, he can talk with people from all walks of life who have all kinds of opinions.

“And I find that they are very willing to tell me their views on almost any subject,” he said.

The US diplomat called on both sides to promote people to people diplomacy as he said this is probably the best way to continue to see great improvement in the bilateral relations.

Regarding bilateral trade relations, he said Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia . It has been considered by the Export Import Bank of the US as among nine countries that are growing fast enough that they want to concentrate special efforts on in the coming years.

Ambassador Michalak recalled the recent Vietnam visit during mid June of US Deputy Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis and Ex-Im Bank President Fred P. Hochberg.

“The reason that he came is to continue to expand our relationship and continue the excellent dialogue that we have with the government of Vietnam on trade relationship,” he said.

The Ex-Im Bank has recently done a review of the 160 countries which they do business and they have narrowed down the 160 countries to nine countries that they will focus.

The US remains the largest export market for Vietnamese goods. Since 1995, two-way trade between Vietnam and the US has increased by over 3,300 percent to 15.4 billion USD in 2009 with the deficit of 10-12 billion USD on the US side./.