Party chief’s US visit opens up new chapter in Vietnam-US ties hinh anh 1Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong meets with US President Obama

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s official visit to the US from July 6-10 is a historic event, marking a new milestone in the Vietnam-US relationship, a senior Party official told the press following the visit.

Party Central Committee member and Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations Hoang Binh Quan said the Party General Secretary’s visit made history because this is the first time a Party General Secretary of Vietnam, a position without any counterpart in the US administrative system, has received an invitation from the US administration to visit the US, a former enemy with a different political regime. President Obama and leaders of the US Government and Congress welcomed the Vietnamese Party leader with due respect and a full and substantive working agenda.

Secondly, the visit took place on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the normalisation of relations between the two countries. Therefore, the visit provided a chance for both sides to review their ties over the past two decades and define a vision and orientations for the development of their relations in the time ahead. This is clearly demonstrated in the important document – the Vietnam-US Vision Joint Statement – issued during the visit, as well as the talks between Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Obama and other US leaders.

Thirdly, the visit went down in history with a historic talk, where the top leaders of two countries which used to be enemies and which have different political regimes, met, exchanged opinions and co-chaired a press conference right at the Oval Office in the White House. Quan added that the talks between General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Obama was initially scheduled for between 45-60 minutes but the discussions actually lasted 95 minutes. In addition, participants on the US side in the talks were high-ranking officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew and Trade Representative Michael Froman, which is unprecedented.

Hoang Binh Quan noted that General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Obama discussed in an open, candid and constructive manner many important issues in bilateral relations, including those on which the two countries still have differences, as well as regional and international matters of mutual concern, to foster mutual understanding.

The visit demonstrated a fact that two countries with different political regimes can still surmount their differences to understand and accept each other, cooperate with each other for common interest, the official said.

He underlined that the US’ invitation for the Vietnamese Party General Secretary to visit showed their full respect for Vietnam’s political regime and the Communist Party of Vietnam’s leadership.

Furthermore, the visit also bears international significance due to the importance of the Vietnam-US ties to the region and the world, and to the meeting between General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

According to Quan, the Party chief’s visit, with a busy schedule of 23 activities, produced practical and comprehensive outcomes.

Politically, the visit helps to enhance the political trust and hence the relations between the two countries. The two sides had open and candid exchanges on issues that require efforts of both sides such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and outstanding matters like human rights and addressing war consequences. An important highlight of the visit was to build mutual trust, understanding and respect. President Obama has accepted an invitation to visit Vietnam from General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

Furthermore, the two sides evaluated the relations between Vietnam and the US after 20 years of establishing bilateral diplomatic ties and envisaged the bilateral rapports.

They talked on how to bolster cooperation in trade-investment, enhance ties in the realms of politics, diplomacy and national defence-security, and boost joint work in science-technology, education-training, health and climate change, with the aim of deepening the Vietnam-US comprehensive partnership and creating the foundation for lifting bilateral ties to another height. The Joint Vision Statement issued during the visit defines the direction for bilateral ties to grow in an active, healthy and stable manner.

On the occasion, the Party leader also delivered a strong message to the US government and business circle that Vietnam is willing to create the optimal conditions for US enterprises to invest in the country, via his attendance at meetings with US enterprises.

The visit saw the signing of 14 cooperation documents, including important deals in the fields of aviation, taxation, banking, oil and gas.

Additionally, the two countries’ leaders shared their viewpoints on regional and international issues, including the East Sea issues, with a view to fostering collaboration and actively contributing to peace, security, stability, cooperation and development in the Asia-Pacific region.

At the same time, the visit helps further the national unity policy of the Party and State, as the warm meeting between the Party chief and overseas Vietnamese in the US conveyed the profound message on the policy to overseas Vietnamese.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit has confirmed Vietnam’s consistent policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development, active international integration and being a responsible member of the international community.

Mentioning the Party General Secretary’s important speech when he met with US scholars at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the leading US agency for academic research and exchange, Quan said the speech reflected an overall vision of the relations between the two countries, directly mentioning sensitive issues and strategic analysis on developments in the region and the world.

According to Quan, the speech focused on analysing historic events during Vietnam-US ties, which were not announced widely, and gave an objective view on the US war in Vietnam and on the spirit of “leaving the past behind, rising over differences, maximizing similarities, and heading toward a brighter future”.

Fruitful results since the US declared the normalisation of diplomatic relations with Vietnam were highlighted during the speech, Quan said.

The speech also set forth a course for Vietnam-US relations, in order to deepen their comprehensive partnership and further develop it in the future.

In addition, the speech candidly discussed the human rights issues and highlighted Vietnam’s policy on cooperation on regional and international issues, including the maintenance of peace, security, aviation and navigation freedom in the Asia-Pacific and the East Sea.

Vietnam-US ties have developed positively over the last 20 years, Quan said, stressing that Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit will be a historic milestone, opening a new chapter in the two countries’ relations.

Potential is blossoming for the two sides to step up their all-around cooperation in the future, Quan said, adding that if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is signed, it will provide more mutually beneficial opportunities for the two nations to expand their ties.

He also underlined the need for both countries to intensify efforts to make Vietnam-US relations stronger and more effective in the spirit of “leaving the past behind, rising over differences, maximizing similarities and heading to a brighter future”, and on the principle of “respecting each other’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and political regime and mutually benefiting cooperation” while following the motto of “candid and constructive dialogue” in dealing with issues of differences.-VNA