Vietnam-US relations at level no one could imagine 25 years ago: Ambassador hinh anh 1Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Ha Kim Ngoc. (Photo: VNA)

Washington (VNA) - Vietnam-US relations have reached a level in both scope and scale that no one could have imagined 25 years ago, Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Ha Kim Ngoc said in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties (July 12).

Twenty-five years is not an overly-long time but bilateral ties have nonetheless produced impressive achievements, the ambassador said, with remarkable progress seen not only in politics and diplomacy but also in such areas as economics, trade, investment, security, defence, education, culture, people-to-people exchanges, and science and technology.

Partnerships in economics, trade, and investment have become a primary driver of the development of bilateral relations over the last 25 years, he said, adding two-way trade rose more than 170 times, from 450 million USD in 1995 to 77.6 billion USD last year.

The US is now Vietnam’s largest importer while Vietnam remains the US’s fastest-growing market in Southeast Asia. Despite the strong adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, bilateral trade rose nearly 10 percent in the first half of this year.

The two countries have also made solid progress in security and defence cooperation, not only in addressing the consequences of the war but also in military medical training, humanitarian relief, disaster assistance, and peacekeeping efforts.

For the first time, the US Government has provided funding, via the US Department of Defense, for Vietnam’s efforts to search for its soldiers missing in action during the war. US aircraft carriers, meanwhile, have made two official visits to Vietnam, in March 2018 and March 2020.

The two sides have also expanded security cooperation in information sharing and capacity building in regard to counter-terrorism, cyber security, and water security, the diplomat added.

Vietnam and the US are now actively collaborating in responding to the coronavirus and recovering their economies in the post-pandemic time, he said.

Ngoc added that the development of Vietnam-US relations is not only meaningful to both countries but also contributes positively to maintaining peace, stability, cooperation, and the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific and the world at large.

The two have been active in working together to address regional and global issues, such as the East Sea, the Mekong River, and the Korean Peninsula, and cooperated at multilateral forums, including ASEAN and APEC.

The cooperation has been even more evident this year, with Vietnam assuming the ASEAN Chairmanship and a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council (UNSC), he noted.

As the ASEAN Chair, Vietnam has fostered medical cooperation between ASEAN and the US in the face of COVID-19, with a focus on information and experience sharing and capacity building in fighting the virus.

One of the two sides’ top priorities at the moment is to maintain the positive progress made in bilateral economic, trade, and investment partnerships to support the recovery of the two economies, he said, adding that the shift in global supply chains caused by the pandemic will create good opportunities for the two to take firmer steps forward in investment cooperation.

The Vietnamese Government is committed to further improving the country’s business climate and facilitating US companies doing business in the country, to make the US one of Vietnam’s largest investors.

The ambassador pointed to the political will and the strong support from both sides to the further deepening of the Vietnam – US cooperation as an advantage for further advancing the current relationship.

There is plenty of room for Vietnam and the US to expand cooperation, particularly locality-to-locality partnerships as well as in science and technology, responses to non-conventional security challenges, and addressing regional and international issues, he said.

The Ambassador suggested the two countries continue to coordinate in maintaining peace, stability, security, and the rule of law; promoting the peaceful settlement of disputes in the East Sea and the Asia-Pacific; addressing the consequences of COVID-19 to revive the two economies and bilateral trade; and resolving any outstanding issues./.