Vietnam-US Comprehensive Partnership: Substantive and effective
The year 2023 is an important milestone in Vietnam-US relations as it marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of their comprehensive partnership (2013-2023).
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (R) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken__Photo: VNA

The year 2023 is an important milestone in Vietnam-US relations as it marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of their comprehensive partnership (2013-2023).

Twenty-eight years after the diplomatic ties were set up, and 10 years since the establishment of the comprehensive partnership, the Vietnam - US relationship has enjoyed all-round and substantive development, contributing to peace, security, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

The two sides have become each other’s comprehensive partner from politics-diplomacy, economics, education, science-technology, to defense-security.

Important milestones

On the night of July 11, 1995 (July 12 Vietnam time), President William Clinton announced the "normalization of relations" with Vietnam. On the morning of July 12 in Hanoi (July 11, US time), Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet read a declaration on the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

On August 5, 1995, in Hanoi, US Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Manh Cam signed a protocol on the official establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations. Also in the month, the two countries opened their respective embassies in Washington, D.C. and Hanoi.

In November 2000, US President Clinton visited Vietnam. This was the first official visit to Vietnam by an US President. Clinton has been considered an important contributor to the normalization process of Vietnam-US relations both while in office and after leaving office.

In June 2005, Prime Minister Phan Van Khai visited the US at an invitation of President George Bush. This was also the first time a Vietnamese Government leader visited the country after the war.

US President Joe Biden (R) welcomes Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in May 2022__Photo: VNA

In the following years, the two countries exchanged many high-level visits, including the visit of US President George Bush in November 2006, the official visit to the US by President Nguyen Minh Triet in June 2007, and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's US visit in June 2008.

Notably, in July 2013, during President Truong Tan Sang's visit to the US at the invitation of his counterpart Barack Obama, the two sides established the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership, which shaped a framework for bilateral relations for the new period as well as the development direction of the relationship in the coming years.

An important foundation for the development of the bilateral comprehensive partnership is the two sides' affirmation of basic principles, such as respect for independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and equal and mutually beneficial cooperation, on the basis of international law.

On that basis, the two countries have continued to strengthen political and diplomatic relations with regular high-level and all-level visits, thereby enhancing understanding and deepening bilateral relations.

Notable were the visits by Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in 2015, US President Barack Obama in 2016, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in 2017, US President Donald Trump in 2017 and 2019, US Vice President Kamala Harris in 2021, and Vietnamese PM Pham Minh Chinh in May 2022.

An overview of the annual Vietnam-US Trade Forum 2022__Photo: VNA

These visits have helped deepen the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership, promote the development of the relationship on the basis of mutual benefits, equality and respect for each other's independence, sovereignty, and political institutions.

On the issues of democracy and human rights, the two sides continue to have frank and constructive dialogues on different issues, so as not to negatively affect other areas of cooperation in the bilateral relations.

On the multilateral aspect, Vietnam and the US have enhanced cooperation and coordination at international and regional forums; and coordinated in the global agenda, and in strengthening solidarity, upholding the role of ASEAN, and promoting ASEAN-US relations.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides still maintained dialogue mechanisms in the online format and flexibly maintained mutual exchanges through the written form and by phone. During the exchanges, the US side reaffirmed its commitment to support a "strong, independent and prosperous" Vietnam, continuing to appreciate the country’s position and attach importance to relations with it. The US side also suggested the two nations continue to take actions to strengthen relations, with priority given to economic-trade, security-defense, health and energy collaboration.

In 2022, PM Pham Minh Chinh led a Vietnamese delegation to attend the ASEAN-US Special Summit and pay working visits to the US and the United Nations from May 11-17.

Within the framework of the visit, the two sides had substantive exchanges and candid dialogues about the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership as well as development orientations in the coming time; and agreed to work closely to implement important results of previous high-level visits, especially the joint vision statement on bilateral relations on the occasion of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong's visit to the US in 2015.

The two sides agreed to maximize cooperation potential and opportunities in all fields, especially in economics, trade and investment; maintain effective coordination in solving existing problems; ensure the bilateral trade balance, and prioritise new fields that Vietnam has needs and the US has strengths and resources such as new technology, digital economy and clean energy.

Vietnam always considers the US one of its top important partners, and welcomes the US’s support of a strong, independent and prosperous Vietnam. The country also wishes to promote the bilateral comprehensive partnership in a more substantive, stable, and in-depth direction, on the basis of respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and political institutions.

Economic-trade cooperation enjoys dramatic growth

Along with good political relations, economic-trade cooperation is considered the most successful field of bilateral cooperation, and has become the focus, foundation and driving force for development of the two countries’ ties.

Currently, the US is one of Vietnam's largest trade partners, and its first export market to surpass the USD 100 billion mark.

An overview of the Vietnam-US Defense Policy Dialogue 2022__Photo: VNA

Two-way trade has increased more than 240 times, from USD 451 million (1995) to over USD 123 billion by 2022.

In the 2020-22 period, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and fierce trade and geopolitical conflicts, the US maintained its position as Vietnam's largest export market, while Vietnam became the US’s seventh biggest trade partner.

Regarding investment, for many years, the US has always been one of the largest investors of Vietnam. Currently, the US ranks 11th out of 141 economies pouring investment into Vietnam, with nearly 1,150 valid projects totaling more than USD 10.3 billion.

Large US enterprises continue to pay attention to and invest in the Vietnamese market. The US side has expressed its willingness to promote cooperation in infrastructure development, supply chain, and digital economy with Vietnam.

Comprehensive and effective cooperation

Cooperation in medical field and COVID-19 response continues to be a bright spot in the Vietnam-US relationship, especially in mutual support in terms of medical equipment and supplies and access to vaccines, and in sharing experience in pandemic prevention and control, and citizen protection.

Security-defense collaboration has been maintained through the exchange of high-level delegations and contacts, and in the settlement of war consequences and improvement of maritime capacity.

Education cooperation has made positive strides, with the two sides promoting ties in education-training and technology transfer, and the number of Vietnamese students in the US increasing significantly.

The two sides have also cooperated more effectively in addressing regional and international issues of mutual concern, such as sustainable development and climate change at multilateral forums such as ASEAN, the UN, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and the Mekong sub-region.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong holds phone talks with US President Joe Biden__Photo: VNA

In their high-level phone talks on March 29, 2023, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and US President Joe Biden spoke highly of the positive and comprehensive development of the bilateral relationship over the past time, and agreed to promote, develop and deepen it, for interests of both nations, as well as peace, cooperation and development.

Welcoming US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on April 15, PM Chinh affirmed that the successful high-level phone talks between Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and US President Joe Biden is vivid evidence for the development of the two countries' relations.

Chinh affirmed that Vietnam considers the US one of its leading important partners and wishes to promote the comprehensive partnership with the US on the basis of respect for each other's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and political institutions.

For his part, Blinken confirmed that the US attaches importance to the relations with Vietnam on the principle of respecting each other's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and political institutions, and supports a strong, independent, self-resilient and prosperous Vietnam.

At his reception for US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc E.Knapper on June 5, President Vo Van Thuong stressed that the Vietnam-US relationship has made great strides after 28 years of normalizing relations, with cooperation in all fields, including strategic contents.

Vietnam always attaches great importance to its relations with the US and identifies the US as its top partner. The results achieved in the bilateral relationship are in line with the two peoples’ aspirations, and are promoted on the basis of respecting each country's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and political institutions, mutual understanding, and equal and mutually beneficial cooperation, and in the spirit of leaving the past behind and looking to the future.

In the coming time, Vietnam hopes to promote the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership on the basis of mutual benefits, bringing growth and job opportunities to the people of both countries, contributing to maintaining peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and in the world.- (VNA/VLLF)

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