Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh held talks with visiting US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter in Hanoi on June 1, during which both sides agreed defence cooperation during the past time has met the requirement of the MoU on this field signed in 2011 between the two countries.

The Vietnamese Defence Minister lauded the US defence chief’s visit in the context that both countries are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the normalisation of bilateral relations.

The minister said he believes the visit will contribute to promote the Vietnam-US defence collaboration in line with the 2011 memorandum of understanding (MoU) on strengthening bilateral defence partnership.

Speaking to the media following the talks, Minister Phung Quang Thanh said Vietnam welcomes the US’ activeness in implementing programmes to surmount war aftermaths.

He announced that during the talks, the two sides signed a joint vision statement on defence relations, defining the orientation for future bilateral affiliation on the foundation of the 2011 MoU.

The future defence collaboration will cover activities addressing war aftermaths (searching for missing in action soldiers, dioxin detoxification, dealing with unexploded ordnance); the exchange of delegations; dialogue and consultation; experience sharing in search and rescue, disaster relief, peace-keeping operations and maritime security; training’ military medicine; mutual consultations at multilateral forums, the ADMM+; and other fields of mutual needs and capacity.

The document also targets deeper friendship, mutual understanding and trust between the two countries, while fostering the comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and the US on the basis of respecting political institutions, independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and law of each other without harming security of other states.

Meanwhile, the US defence chief said both sides concurred to deepen bilateral defence ties, laying the foundation for partnership in the next 20 years. The signing of the statement will create necessary conditions for the two defence ministries to realise their commitments, he added.

This is a new step forwards in the Vietnam-US defence collaboration, especially in the area of maritime security, stated Carter.

On the other hand, he said, the US and Vietnam are working together to ensure peace, stability in the region as well as in a broader range.

The US will offer an 18 million USD support package to Vietnam’s Coast Guard to buy patrol vessels, while assisting Vietnam in building the peace-keeping training centre, he announced.

The US pledges to support a Vietnam of independence, strength, prosperity and respect for human rights and the rule of law, he affirmed, adding that his country will continue working with Vietnam in coping with problems left by the war.

Regarding the East Sea dispute, particularly the illegal construction of islands, Defence Minister Thanh reiterated Vietnam’s constant policy of settling sovereignty disputes through peaceful measures in conformity with international law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Declaration on Conduct of Parties on the East Sea and taking no actions to expand or complicate disputes.

ASEAN member countries will make joint efforts with China towards the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea, he said.

During his stay, the US Secretary of Defence will have meetings with Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Truong Tan Sang, and visit a number of military units of the Vietnam People’s Army.-VNA