President Tran Dai Quang (R) welcomes US Secretary of Defence James Mattis in Hanoi (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam attaches importance to developing its comprehensive relations with the US on the basis of respecting each other’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and political institution, President Tran Dai Quang told visiting US Secretary of Defence James Mattis in Hanoi on January 25.

Lauding the US minister’s official visit, President Quang expressed his belief that the trip will contribute to developing Vietnam-US relations more practically, in line with their comprehensive partnership for peace, prosperity and development of each country as well as in the region and the world.

The State leader noted with pleasure that the bilateral defence cooperation has been deployed in a diverse, practical and effective manner in accordance with a memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation signed in 2011, a Joint Vision Statement on defence ties signed in 2015, an action plan for 2018-2020, and agreements reached by their senior leaders.

The President affirmed that Vietnam will fully and effectively cooperate with the US in searching for remains of US missing-in-action soldiers.

President Quang asked the US to coordinate with Vietnam in carrying out a dioxin decontamination project at Bien Hoa airport, to deliver the next Hamilton-class patrol vessel to Vietnam in 2019, and to support Vietnam in launching a level-2 field hospital to the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan in 2018.

The two sides should work together closely in organising the visit to Vietnam by a US aircraft carrier in March 2018, while strengthening collaboration in search, rescue and natural disaster response activities, law enforcement at sea, personnel training, military medicine and defence industry, he said.

Mattis said that the US attaches great importance to the comprehensive partnership with Vietnam and will work with Vietnam in boosting cooperation in all fields.

Holding that the defence cooperation between the two countries is growing effectively, he said that the US is working hard, together with Vietnam, to dealing with war aftermaths such as dioxin decontamination and searching for missing US servicemen.

Regarding regional and international matters, the minister affirmed that the US will support Vietnam’s active role in the ASEAN as well as multilateral forums within the ASEAN framework.

The US will continue backing Vietnam and regional countries in observing the rights to freedom of navigation and aviation in line with international law for common prosperity, Mattis said.

President Quang said he was delighted at the positive and practical progress of Vietnam-US relations in all bilateral, regional and international aspects, and welcomed the US’s commitment to long-term cooperation for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the Indo-Pacific region.

In the regional and international aspect, President Quang suggested the two sides continue consulting and coordinating closely with each other at multilateral forums, especially those chaired by the ASEAN.

The President also appreciated the US for its effective cooperation and assistance to Vietnam’s force joining UN peacekeeping operations over the past years, suggesting that the two sides continue working together in the work.-VNA