WASHINGTON, D C. (July 7, 2015) — At the invitation of the Administration of President Barack Obama, His Excellency Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), paid a historic visit to the United States, the first by a CPV’s General Secretary.
On this occasion, which included a meeting between President Barack Obama and General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong at the White House on July 7, 2015, the United States and Vietnam adopted this Joint Vision Statement, according to the White House Office of the Press Secretary on Tuesday.
The United States and Vietnam recognize the positive and substantive developments in many areas of cooperation over the past 20 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, particularly the growth in economic and trade cooperation, cooperation in addressing war legacy issues as well as in science and technology, education, healthcare, environment, response to climate change, defense, security, human rights, and increasing regional and international cooperation on issues of mutual concern.
The United States and Vietnam have made numerous significant accomplishments since the formation of the United States – Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership in 2013. In particular, there has been continued rapid growth in bilateral trade and investment; the entry into force of the “123” Agreement for Cooperation Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy; Vietnam’s endorsement of the Proliferation Security Initiative’s Statement of Interdiction Principles; the easing of U.S. restriction of arms sales; the signing of the Joint Vision Statement on Defense Relations; and increased cooperation on regional and multilateral issues. The first-ever dialogues and exchanges between entities associated with the Communist Party of Vietnam on the one hand and institutes associated with the Republican and Democratic Parties in the United States on the other also took place, as envisaged by the 2013 Comprehensive Partnership.
The achievements in United States – Vietnam relations are possible thanks to constructive joint efforts to rise above the past, overcome differences, and promote shared interests looking toward the future.
Vision for United States – Vietnam Relations: Deepening a Long-Term Partnership
Looking toward the future of bilateral relations and building on the Comprehensive Partnership, both countries affirm their continued pursuit of a deepened, sustained, and substantive relationship on the basis of respect for the United Nations Charter, international law, and each other’s political systems, independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. The two sides are committed to maximizing shared interests and cooperation at both bilateral and multilateral levels, for the benefit of both peoples, contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity in the Asia – Pacific region and the world.
Strengthening political and diplomatic relations, increasing exchanges at high levels, and expanding bilateral consultations to continue to build trust and improve cooperation remain priorities for both the United States and Vietnam, as are enhancing economic, trade, and investment cooperation and deepening cooperation in science and technology, education, training, health, environment, and law enforcement. The two countries recognize the success of the Vietnamese community in the United States and their many contributions both to the development of the United States and Vietnam and to better United States – Vietnam bilateral relations.
The United States and Vietnam reaffirm continued bilateral cooperation in defense and security, as outlined in the United States – Vietnam Joint Vision Statement on Defense Relations. Both countries underscore their commitment to collaborating on, among other issues, addressing non-traditional security threats, cooperation in maritime security, maritime domain awareness, defense trade and information sharing, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and defense technology exchange. Both countries welcome joint efforts to address war legacy issues, including the humanitarian mission of missing in action (MIA) recovery, the clearance of unexploded ordinance and dioxin remediation, and further assistance for these humanitarian efforts.
The United States and Vietnam expect to work in close coordination with the other negotiating parties to conclude the ambitious and comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement as soon as possible and to carry out whatever reforms may be necessary to meet the high standards of the TPP agreement, including as necessary with respect to commitments relating to the 1998 ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Both countries are committed to a high-quality, balanced TPP agreement that meets the interests of all parties and creates a new long-lasting, mutually beneficial framework for economic and trade cooperation between the United States and Vietnam, while providing a new impetus for regional economic cooperation and contributing to cooperation and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. The United States applauds Vietnam’s progress in economic reforms and affirms continued support for and constructive engagement with Vietnam, and the United States notes Vietnam’s interest in pursuing market economy country status.
Both countries pledge continued support for the promotion and protection of human rights and support the maintenance of positive, frank, and constructive dialogue on human rights to improve mutual understanding, and reduce differences. They encourage further cooperation to ensure that everyone, including members of vulnerable groups, regardless of their gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation, and including persons with disabilities, enjoy fully their human rights. The United States welcomes Vietnam’s ongoing efforts to harmonize its laws with its 2013 Constitution and international commitments, which Vietnam undertakes for its comprehensive development, including the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The United States welcomes Vietnam’s ratification of the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the two countries look forward to technical cooperation in this regard.
The United States and Vietnam expect to accelerate education cooperation, including through institutions like Fulbright University Vietnam and other university partnerships and in the areas of English language collaboration. The promotion of people-to-people exchanges remains important. Both countries expect to consider visa facilitation measures to encourage greater numbers of tourists, students, and business visitors to both countries, and call for relevant U.S. and Vietnamese agencies to conclude as soon as possible a bilateral agreement on the construction of new compounds of their representative missions, including their embassies.
Increasing Cooperation on Global and Regional Issues
The United States welcomes Vietnam’s active international integration policy, and Vietnam welcomes the United States’ policy of enhanced cooperation with the Asia-Pacific region. Each country commends the other’s contribution to supporting peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region and the world over. The United States and Vietnam are also committed to strengthening cooperation on regional and global issues of mutual interest and concern.
The two countries are committed to promoting cooperation on sustainable development, addressing traditional and non-traditional security threats, including natural disasters, wildlife trafficking, water security, and pandemics. The two countries are committed to expanding collaboration on peacekeeping operations and climate change and look forward to the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit and to concrete national actions to promote nuclear security. The two countries pledge to expand cooperation on the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), including toward achieving the GHSA targets as soon as possible.
The United States and Vietnam are committed to enhancing cooperation in regional fora, such as the Asia – Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, Lower Mekong Initiative, and the East Asia Summit, and recognize the importance of a united and strong ASEAN, ASEAN’s central role in the regional political and security architecture, and the United States – ASEAN Strategic Partnership.
Both countries are concerned about recent developments in the South China Sea that have increased tensions, eroded trust, and threatened to undermine peace, security, and stability. They recognize the imperative of upholding the internationally-recognized freedoms of navigation and overflight; unimpeded lawful commerce, maritime security and safety; refraining from actions that raise tensions; ensuring that all actions and activities taken comply with international law; and rejecting coercion, intimidation, and the use or threat of force. Both countries support the peaceful resolution of disputes in conformity with international law, including as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (UNCLOS), and recognize the importance of fully implementing the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety, as well as efforts to conclude the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
Agreements and Arrangements Reached
The following agreements and arrangements foster development of United States – Vietnam bilateral relations and form the firm foundation upon which both countries’ future cooperation will continue to build, such as:
– Agreement between the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Government of the United States of America for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion and with Respect to Taxes on Income;
– The Memorandum of Understanding on Between the Ministry of National Defense of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Department of Defense of the United States of America on United Nations Peacekeeping Cooperation;
– The Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam and the United States Agency for International Development regarding the Emerging Pandemic Threats Program the Global Health Security Agenda;
– The Vietnam Aviation Safety Technical Assistance Project Agreement between the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam; and
– Vietnam’s granting of the license for the new Fulbright University Vietnam.
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND GENERAL SECRETARY NGUYEN PHU TRONG OF VIETNAM AFTER BILATERAL MEETING
12:32 P.M. EDT — Oval Office
PRESIDENT OBAMA: As you heard, I got an invitation to Vietnam. And I think this is indicative of the remarkable progress that’s taken place in the relationship between our two countries over the last 20 years.
I want to welcome General Secretary Trong to the Oval Office for his first visit to the United States during this 20-year anniversary of the normalization of relations between the United States and Vietnam.
Obviously, there has been a difficult history between our two countries in the 20th century. And there continue to be significant differences in political philosophy and political systems between our two countries. But because, I think, of the efforts of leaders in both parties here in the United States, as well as the leadership in Vietnam over successive years, what we’ve seen is the emergence of a constructive relationship that is based on mutual respect, and that has benefitted the peoples of both countries.
Already in the last two years alone, we’ve made significant progress on deepening our cooperation in the areas of education, science, technology, climate change, public health, as well as security issues. And this was an excellent opportunity for us to deepen our discussions around our vision for a comprehensive partnership.
We discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, and the enormous potential of a high-standards trade agreement that raises labor standards, raises environmental standards, and could potentially create significant job growth and prosperity for both the Vietnamese and the American people.
We discussed the importance of resolving maritime disputes in the South China Sea and throughout the Asia Pacific in accordance with international law, to ensure that the prosperity and freedom of navigation that has underwritten the enormous economic growth that’s taken place in the region continues for decades to come.
We discussed continued people-to-people exchanges. As General Secretary Trong noted, we have more Vietnamese-Americans here and expatriate Vietnamese than any other country in the world, and they’ve made enormous contributions to our country. We want to continue to deepen those exchanges, including through the soon to be opened Fulbright University that has just been approved.
And we also discussed the importance of us cooperating on global issues, particularly climate change, which could have a profound impact on both our countries; issues of global health security and dealing with the potential of pandemic; global peacekeeping. In all these areas, Vietnam has proven to be a very constructive partner.
There remain to be — there remain differences in the bilateral relationship, and we discussed candidly some of our differences around issues of human rights, for example, and freedom of religion. But what I’m confident about is that the diplomatic dialogue and practical steps that we are taking together will benefit both countries, that these tensions can be resolved in an effective fashion and that not only bilaterally but also through our cooperation in multilateral organizations like ASEAN and the East Asia Summit, we can continue to make significant strides.
So I want to thank once again General Secretary Trong for his visit. I hope he has felt the warmth and hospitality that the American people feel towards all the people of Vietnam. And I certainly do look forward to visiting your beautiful country sometime in the future.
GENEARL SECRETARY TRONG: (As interpreted.) Thank you, Mr. President. And good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
I think that 20 years ago, not too many people would imagine a meeting — interesting meeting, a substantive meeting between the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the President of the United States. And as the President just mentioned, we had a cordial, constructive, positive and frank discussion with each other. What is of utmost importance is that we have been transformed from former enemies to become friends, partners — comprehensive partners. And I’m convinced that our relationship will continue to grow in the future.
I think these achievements are all to the strategic vision and the efforts by all leaders of the two countries, but also thanks to the support — the full support of the peoples of the two countries. Because it is in their interest that we want to promote this relationship. This relationship is also contributing significantly to peace, stability, cooperation for prosperity in the region and around the world.
Like the President just mentioned, there has been a bad, difficult chapter in our history, but we have been able to rise above the past to overcome differences, to promote our shared interests, and look towards a future in order to build the comprehensive partnership that we have today. And as I mentioned to the President in our meeting, the past cannot be changed, but the future depends on our action, and it is our responsibility to ensure a bright future.
At the meeting today, the President and I reviewed the growth of our relations over the past 20 years, and we also discussed and agreed on the major directions for moving our relationship forward to make it more substantive, more positive, to build the mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries. And we agreed to continue to promote the comprehensive relationship between the two countries in all areas, ranging from political, diplomatic cooperation, to economic, trade, investment, education and training, environment, public health, responding to climate change, to defense and security cooperation, as well as better collaboration at regional and international forums.
In a constructive and candid manner, we also discussed our differences and the way forward, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the TPP, as well as the human rights issues. At the same time, we discussed and shared our views on the recent developments in the South China Sea, and also shared our concern about the recent activities that are not in accordance with international law that may complicate the situation.
And I had the particular honor to extend our invitation to the President and the First Lady to visit Vietnam, and I’m glad that the President had graciously accepted my invitation.
Once again, I would like to thank the President and the U.S. government for inviting me to visit your beautiful country. And allow me also to take this opportunity to send my greetings and best regards to the Vietnamese community here in the United States. We hope for further growth in our relationship.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you.
Thank you, guys. Thank you very much.
END 12:49 P.M. EDT