07/06/2020, 12.56
VIETNAM – UNITED STATES
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Trade, diplomacy, opposition to China help Hanoi and Washington put the war behind them

by Tran Hung

Vietnam and the United States marked 25 years of diplomatic ties and six years of “comprehensive partnership”. The COVID-19 crisis has kept celebrations at a minimum, but not diminished cooperation. More than 30,000 Vietnamese are studying in the United States and will be the future "cultural ambassadors" between the two countries.

Hanoi (AsiaNews) – Strengthening bilateral trade, developing a strategic partnership (also against China), boosting diplomatic relations, as well as greater cooperation in security, defence, science, technology and education are the goals of a closer relationship between Hanoi and Washington.

The two countries recently marked 25 years of diplomatic relations (1995-2020), albeit lowkey due to the coronavirus pandemic, after the dark period of the Second Vietnam War (1955-1975).

The "problems and issues" in the region and the world are the main factors driving the closer partnership between the United States and Vietnam, never stronger than in the present given the growing regional tensions, in particular in the South China Sea.

Through closer collaboration, the two former enemies seek to maintain “peace, stability and development,” this according to expert opinion.

A US diplomatic source notes that the biggest achievement today is the feeling of genuine friendship and partnership that binds the United States to Vietnam, with renewed support for the near future.

In addition to trade and business, one of Washington's goals is to overcome the material and moral consequences of the war, and the damage it caused. This includes a US commitment to clean up dioxin contamination caused by aerial and ground bombings, help for people disabled by the war, humanitarian cooperation and the search for missing people from both sides.

To mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties and six years of “comprehensive partnership", the two countries had planned a series of events and celebrations in both the United States and Vietnam, but the COVID-19 crisis scuttled them.

Nevertheless, Hanoi continues to pursue the common goal of closer collaboration and an "independent" foreign policy, especially from China. The objective, according to Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lê Thị Thu Hằng, is "diversification" and "multilateralism" in international relations.

For the US ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink, relations between the two countries are at their best in the last quarter of a century. He pointed out that if 25 years ago the two countries had an almost no trade relations, today total trade turnover between Vietnam and the US has reached US$ 77 billion a year.

The relationship goes beyond trade to include education and culture. Some 30,000 Vietnamese are presently studying in the United States; in the future, they will be cultural ambassadors and serve as a bridge to further promote a spirit of cooperation and reconciliation between the two countries.

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