The fourth US-Vietnam Political, Security and Defence Dialogue opened in Washington D.C. on June 17.

The Vietnamese delegation to the dialogue comprised officials from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Security, and was headed by Standing Vice Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

The US delegation, headed by Andrew Shapiro, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs, included officials from the Department of State, the Department of Defence and other agencies.

In an interview granted to Vietnam News Agency correspondent in Washington D.C. before the opening of the fourth dialogue, a senior official of the U.S. Department of State said that this year's dialogue was aimed at further developing the US - Vietnam relationship and discussing how the two countries could work together to ensure a peaceful, stable, prosperous and secure Asia - Pacific region.

According to the official, at this fourth dialogue, the US and Vietnam would have frank discussions on such areas of mutual interest as regional security, maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and search and rescue.

The two sides would also discuss ways to further cooperation in clearing unexploded ordnance, account for those missing in action from the American War, and address issues related to Agent Orange. Security in the East Sea would also be raised for discussion at this year's dialogue.

The US official said that for the first time, at this year's dialogue the US and Vietnam would discuss in detail how to elevate bilateral relations to strategic partnership level./.