The year of 2010 has seen the convergence of outcomes of the Vietnam-US bilateral ties during 15 years since the normalisation of the two countries’ relations.

Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Le Cong Phung made the appraisal while granting an interview to Vietnam News Agency (VNA) on the Vietnam-US relations in 2010.

Ambassador Phung stressed there were no high-level official visits between the two sides in 2010, but leaders of the two countries regularly met each other at many forums, discussing plans for development of bilateral ties in the next period and boosting mutual trust.

The two countries exchanged official visits at the ministerial level, especially in the fields of foreign affairs and national defence. In 2010, the US Secretary of State visited Vietnam twice and those visits were decisive for practical implementation of cooperation issues.

The Ambassador affirmed that the year saw the determination of leaders and peoples of the two countries to boost the Vietnam-US relations for the benefits of both nations and for stability, security and peace in the region and the world at large.

Another advantage during the year was that Vietnam assumed the ASEAN Chair while the US implemented its policy to return to the region.

Talking about Vietnam ’s role in the US eye, the diplomat said the US highly appreciated the role of Vietnam as ASEAN Chair in 2010 and its strategic role in the region.

Regarding the economic field, Phung said pouring investment in Vietnam was a common trend of US businesses. He expressed his belief that US would emerge as the biggest foreign investor in Vietnam instead of ranking 6 th at present.

The Ambassador also affirmed progress in bilateral cooperation in education, science and technology, elaborating Vietnam ’s current negotiation with the US on civil nuclear agreement and the establishment of joint venture universities or US universities in Vietnam . In addition, student and teacher exchange and academic programmes have been promoted.

On the orientation for 2011, the Ambassador said that with achievements recorded in 15 years, the two countries should consider to raise their relations to a new height - the strategic partnership – to create new environment for the development of the two countries’ relations in the future. The two countries should also solve differences and not let such problem affect bilateral ties.

According to the Vietnamese diplomat, accelerating current negotiations and dialogues between the two countries is also an important orientation. Vietnam is negotiating with the US in many areas, especially in economy like the Trans-pacific economic partnership agreement and the bilateral free trade agreement.

On security and national defence cooperation, Ambassador Phung said the two sides need to work out solutions to boost bilateral cooperation in accordance with the regional and international situation as well as diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the US and other countries.

Referring to Agent Orange/dioxin issue in Vietnam , Ambassador Phung said the US has paid more attention and given higher assistance to Vietnam , representing the involvement of political circle to non-governmental organisations and individuals. However, he said, those were not enough and Washington needed to do more.

In 2011, leaders of the two countries would hold several meetings at such international forums as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Hawaii in November and the East Asia Summit in Indonesia , Phung said, adding that Vietnam suggested and the US side is considering arranging a visit to Vietnam by President Barack Obama./.