Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (Source: VNA)
New York (VNA) – The US’s The National Interest online magazine on May 28 published an article by former Ambassador and head of the Vietnamese Mission to the UN Nguyen Thanh Chau, which pointed out strategic motivations driving the relationship between Vietnam and the US. 

In the article, which was published on the occasion of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s official visit to the US, the former Ambassador stressed that Phuc’s visit is the third important high-level delegation exchange between the two countries within three recent years.

In July 2015, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong had a historic visit to the US, which was then reciprocated with US President Barack Obama’s successful trip to Vietnam in May 2016.

The article noted that since the normalization of ties more than two decades ago, Vietnam and the US have created one of the most impressive successful stories in history, given the bitter war that deeply divided the two countries hitherto, and the current fast and comprehensive growth in bilateral cooperation. 

Bilateral trade, for instance, has increased one hundredfold in that time span. Last year, the US export to Vietnam grew by 43 percent. 

Defence and security ties are expanding in tandem with the overall bilateral relations and the common denominators of regional peace and stability. Cooperation also expands to other regional and global issues such as counter-terrorism, natural disasters, epidemics, cybersecurity and peacekeeping.

Both countries highly value the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the region and the association’s centrality in regional structures, including the East Asia Summit (EAS).

The former Ambassador went on to analyze the three major factors driving the Vietnam-US relations, with the first driver being the common understanding that a successful partnership can only be realised with a constructive, balanced, inclusive and open approach.

“The joint statement issued during former US President Barack Obama’s visit to Vietnam in 2016 makes clear that the increasingly enhanced US-Vietnam relations have positively contributed to the joint efforts of the international community in maintaining peace, stability, cooperation, and respect for international law in the region, and building a rules-based region,” he wrote. 

Second, in making sense of the geostrategy of the region, both countries have laid emphasis on a sustainable and long-term view of the partnership, according to Chau. 

He explained that strategically, Vietnam tends to nurture long-lasting relations with countries and partners. 

Drawing on historical lessons—and perhaps for practical reasons—the US is adopting a more nuanced perspective vis-à-vis smaller partners. The Donald Trump administration has now extended an invitation to PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc to visit the US, and pledged that President Trump will come to central Da Nang city to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Week. 

These positive signs serve as a testament to continuity instead of disruption in their bilateral ties, Chau commented. 
The final geostrategic undertaking that drives Vietnam-US relations is interests that could be national, bilateral and/or regional, depending on areas of cooperation or diversion, according to the former ambassador. 

In 2015, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Obama issued a joint vision statement that says “Looking toward the future of bilateral relations and building on the Comprehensive Partnership.”

Both countries affirm their continued pursuit of a deepened, sustained and substantive relationship on the basis of respect for the UN Charter, international law, and each other’s political systems, independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

He underlined that ideologies remain important, but they are no longer a hurdle in Vietnam-US partnership, noting that the geostrategic rule of the road now is to work together for the guarantee of the shared peace, security and prosperity.-VNA