Vietnam considers the US as one of its leading partners and wants to bring the two countries’ relations to a new height, said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

PM Dung made the statement while receiving four US Senators led by Senator John McCain in Hanoi on Jan. 19.

He underlined the necessity for both sides to further cooperation in economics, trade and investment.

The PM proposed US Senators urge their government to soon recognise Vietnam’s market economy and grant the generalised system of preference to Vietnam.

He also suggested both countries cooperate in dealing with the consequences of the war, particularly with Agent Orange/dioxin victims, and proposed that the US assist Vietnam in coping with climate change and rising sea levels.

The US Senators, who are on a three-day visit to Vietnam until Jan. 20, voiced their support to both countries to raise bilateral ties towards strategic partnership and beef up cooperation in economics, trade, education and training and humanitarian cooperation.

They also promised to encourage their government to promptly recognise Vietnam’s market economy, grant GSP to Vietnam and assist the country in overcoming the aftermath of the war.

At a reception for McCain in Hanoi the same day, National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung said that in addition to trade and investment, Vietnam and the US need to further promote cooperation in the fields of science, technology, culture, tourism, environmental protection, defence and security.

The Vietnamese NA is willing to cooperate with the US Congress to promote cooperative programmes between the two countries, Hung said.

Hung stressed the need to promote exchanges between the two countries’ legislators at parliamentary forums in the region and the world, creating more favourable conditions for people-to-people exchanges and increasing understanding between the two nations.

McCain said he hopes the two legislative bodies will further strengthen cooperation and share experience in law building and supervision of nation projects.

He also pledged strong interest in Vietnam’s development as well as it’s socio-economic achievements in the near future./.