Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh held talks with his visiting US counterpart, Leon Edward Panetta, in Hanoi on June 4.

General Thanh applauded the visit by the US Secretary of Defence, saying that it will help to boost the stable and friendly relations between the Vietnamese and US armies and people.

Reviewing the implementation of the memorandum of understanding on bilateral defence relations signed in 2011, the two sides agreed that the relations have developed on the basis of full respect for each other’s independence and sovereignty, in a spirit of friendship, mutual respect, trust and understanding.

The long-term partnership and cooperation in defence and security between Vietnam and the US is important for both countries and the region in general.

Thanh and Panetta agreed that a more in depth relationship between the two departments of defence will help to improve international relations and strengthen the overall bilateral ties between the two countries as well as promote peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region.

The two sides have established regular dialogue mechanisms, and cooperated in maritime security; search and rescue operations; humanitarian and emergency aid; exchange of delegations; English language training; military medicine; provision of information on Vietnamese soldiers missing in action; search for US servicemen missing in action; clearance of unexploded ordnance and decontamination of AO/dioxin.

Bilateral defence cooperation between Vietnam and the US does not harm the security of neighbouring countries, they said.

General Thanh and Secretary Panetta announced the results of their talks to the press following the meeting.

On the same day, US Secretary of Defence Leon Edward Panetta also paid a courtesy visit on Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and called at the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command Office in Hanoi .

Earlier on June 3, Panetta had visited the USNS Byrd, a US Navy cargo ship which is being refitted at the Vinashin Shipbuilding Company’s yard in Cam Ranh City, central Khanh Hoa province./.