Vietnam and the US pledged to step up cooperation in order to elevate bilateral relations to strategic partnership in the near future, said a senior diplomat.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Le Cong Phung delivered this statement at a ceremony organised in Washington on Jan. 28 to celebrate Vietnam’s traditional Lunar New Year Festival, which will begin on Feb. 3 this year.

Phung told participants that the US government highly evaluated Vietnam’s role in the Pacific region and Southeast Asia. The US government is encouraging US businesses to boost trade and investment ties with Vietnam, and supporting cooperation with the Southeast Asian country in education, training, science and technology, he added.

Bilateral relations are developing rapidly in all key spheres such as politics, security and national defence, he said, adding that the two nations will continue dialogues to deal with the outstanding differences.

Earlier, Phung also informed overseas Vietnamese about the country’s new developments over the past year as well as its successes in organising the celebrations for the 1,000th founding anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi, assuming the ASEAN Chair and holding the 11th National Party Congress.

The ambassador took this occasion to thank overseas Vietnamese and Vietnamese students studying in the US for the assistance they had extended to people affected by natural disasters in the home country.

The Vietnamese Consulates General in San Francisco and Houston hosted receptions on Jan. 22 and 26, respectively, to mark the upcoming Tet festival with the participation of a large number of overseas Vietnamese and foreign friends./.