Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – US President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to Vietnam from May 23-25 is to further deepen the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership, Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh expressed his belief in a recent interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency.

Commenting on the significance of the visit, Vinh said it is the third trip by a US President since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties 20 years ago.

Two-way trade has soared to 45 billion USD, a 20-fold increase from 20 years ago. During the US President Obama’s tenure, both countries signed a comprehensive partnership framework in 2013 and adopted the Vietnam-US Joint Vision Statement in 2015, when Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong paid a historic visit to the US.

The Vietnam-US ties have progressed on all fields, ranging from politics, national defence-security, science-technology, education, people-to-people exchange as well as regional and global issues of shared concern, he said.

Asked whether the visit’s significance is diminished since Obama is to conclude his second tenure next year, Vinh said, throughout the history of Vietnam-US ties, the normalisation and expansion of the bilateral strategic partnership has garnered the support of the US Democratic and Republican Parties.

Personally, Obama has given further focus on ties with Asia and ASEAN, as evidenced by the ASEAN-US Summit held in Sunnylands last February. Therefore, the visit is expected to push bilateral links forward from now on, not only during Obama’s term of office, but also in the following tenures.

According to Vinh, a highlight of Obama’s visit will be the continuation of mutually-beneficial ties on the basis of mutual respect, including respect to each other’s sovereignty, independence and political regime.

On the back of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal soon to be enacted, he said two-way trade is to accelerate for sure, adding that the visit will create a driving force for science-technology and education cooperation.

People-to-people exchange or joint work in global issues such as climate change, maritime security and environment are also among the major points, he said.

About the US’s possibility of lifting the ban on lethal weapons sales to Vietnam, Vinh said it should be done as early as possible, particularly during the visit if possible, in order to remove the last barrier in bilateral ties and strengthen mutual trust.

Once the TPP comes into force, he believes that two-way trade will surge in both quantity and quality, which grows around 20 percent per year, and pointed to science, education and people-to-people exchange as promising areas of collaboration.

Currently, 19,000 Vietnamese students are pursuing education in the US. Both sides are discussing the Fulbright university project which is to be launched in Ho Chi Minh City, and a number of Vietnamese universities have formed cooperation agreements with their US counterparts.

About 500,000 Americans arrive in Vietnam annually, including tourists, entrepreneurs and students.

In global issues, Vinh recommended climate change, environment, health care and maritime security-safety as potential cooperative areas.

Switching to the East Sea issue, he called for the maintenance of peace, stability, maritime security and safety in line with international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which is a common concern of the region, including for ASEAN.

As regards the human rights issue, he said Vietnam and the US have shared experience to better ensure the human rights of their peoples.

Via increased dialogues, and on the basis of mutual respect, the two countries will strive together for the benefit of their peoples and countries, he said.-VNA