US Secretary of State John Kerry (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Washington D.C. (VNA) – US State Secretary John Kerry delivered a keynote address at the Vietnam War Summit at Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, late on April 27 (local time).

Speaking to an audience of nearly 1,000 war veterans, politicians, journalists covering the Vietnam War and professionals, he said an important lesson of the Vietnam War is that Americans should put themselves in the shoes of other people and “see their country as they see their country”. In other words, he said, “We cannot look at other countries and see them only through an American lens.”

The official noted “the incredible openness of the Vietnamese people, who helped us search for the remains of our fallen troops even as the vast majority of theirs, a million strong probably, would never be found.”

He said the process of reconciliation is not about forgetting as “if we forget, we cease to learn.”

Kerry added that relations between the US and Vietnam have changed drastically since they normalised ties 20 years ago.

While the number of US visitors to Vietnam has risen from 60,000 to half of a million, nearly 19,000 Vietnamese students are pursuing their studies in the US, up from 800. Bilateral trade revenue has also spiraled from 400 million USD to 45 billion USD.

He also acknowledged the differences between the two countries, but “the difference is that we actually talk about them.”

The US and Vietnam are enhancing cooperation, especially in security issues and in the army-to-army relationship. They are also members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which accounts for over 40 percent of global GDP, and are working closely in the Mekong River problem. Additionally, the Fulbright University will be opened in Ho Chi Minh City later this year, the US top diplomat said.

John Kerry received many medals while being on active duty in the US Navy during the Vietnam War. After returning from military service, he, however, became an anti-war protestor and joined in a series of large-scale demonstrations against the war in Vietnam in 1971.

The Vietnam War Summit from April 26 – 28 is to shed light on the war, its lessons and legacy.

It took place just days before the 41 st anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War and on the threshold of US President Barack Obama’s official visit to Vietnam in late May. The Secretary of State will also accompany the President during this visit.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh is expected to give a speech on April 28 (April 29 morning – Vietnam time).-VNA