Vietnamese PM’s visit to US reaffirms Hanoi’s role in stabilizing Southeast Asia

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh undertook a successful and historic visit (May 11-17) to the United States with the aim of resolving bilateral disagreements and promoting partnership, including America-ASEAN relations which would play a role important in peace and stability in Southeast Asia.

The visit showed that Vietnam plays a key role in shaping US-ASEAN relations. Simultaneously, the India-Vietnam partnership also contributes to enhancing India’s role in ASEAN and thus reaffirms Vietnam’s role as a multilateral player enhancing Prime Minister Chinh’s role in shaping foreign policy. The two countries celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations in 2022. The visit also showed that Vietnam can handle human rights issues in a mature manner. Vietnam has been considered one of the promising economies in Southeast Asia with a GDP growth rate expected to be between 6-8% and

The visit also allowed Vietnam to maintain its balanced stance on the Ukraine crisis and the prime minister reiterated Vietnam’s position on territorial integrity and state sovereignty. “…everyone must respect their own commitments and observe international law and the Charter of the United Nations. They must respect each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and they must respect the political system chosen by another country that is supported by the people of that country. They must contribute to the common work of the international community according to their own capacities. We must maintain dialogue to understand each other better in order to settle disputes and disputes between states,” Prime Minister Chinh said in his speech to the prestigious CSIS.

Referring to ASEAN’s centrality, the Vietnamese Prime Minister said, “Located between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, ASEAN strives to play a central role in the emerging regional architecture. Its members unite to build an ASEAN community according to its 2025 vision. Rooted in the common foundation of sincerity, trust and responsibility, ASEAN plays its role and makes every effort, alongside its partners, to build a global and regional landscape of peace, stability, cooperation and development based on international law and the Charter of the United Nations. ASEAN’s perspective on the Indo-Pacific emphasizes openness, inclusiveness, based on cooperation and dialogue with all parties concerned.

There are two main problems in the East Sea. The first concerns competing claims to territories over waters and islands. And the second is freedom of movement, navigation and hovering.

Speaking to CSIS, Prime Minister Chinh mentioned Vietnam’s approach to the issue. “Vietnam is ready to engage in dialogue and cooperation to settle disputes and disputes. It therefore contributes to peace, stability and development. At the same time, we seek to ensure a balance of interests and a satisfactory treatment of the concerns of different partners, countries and the international community,” he said, adding: “It is for this reason that in the settlement of disputes and conflicts in the region and around the world, including the East Sea, the South China Sea – a sea that criticizes countries within and beyond the region – we always seek to maintaining peace, stability, ensuring security, safety, freedom of navigation and overflight, preserving the legitimate rights and interests of the parties, settling disputes by peaceful means through dialogue based on respect for international law , in particular UNCLOS 1982. We advocate full and effective compliance with the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea – DOC – and work to make the Code of Conduct for Parties in the South China Sea – COC – practical, effective and consistent with international law, including UNCLOS 1982.”

The Vietnamese prime minister also said he hopes ASEAN’s major partner powers will work towards stable relations and responsible and healthy competition, in the interests of regional and global peace and security. He made the statement while addressing the special ASEAN-US summit on May 13. The summit included a meeting between ASEAN leaders and US President Joe Biden and a session between ASEAN leaders and the US cabinet on climate, clean energy and infrastructure.

He made a presentation on building an independent and self-reliant economy coupled with extensive, effective and practical international integration in Vietnam during his visit to Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Vietnam and the United States have overcome their differences and reached fundamental principles for their relations, as affirmed in the joint Vietnam-United States vision statement issued during the official visit of the Secretary General of the Vietnamese Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong to the United States in 2015, who stressed respect for “everyone’s political institutions, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity”, Prime Minister Chinh noted.

At the summit, US leaders announced a series of proposals and initiatives for cooperation with ASEAN. The United States will invest $40 million to fund clean energy infrastructure development, an additional $40 million to strengthen maritime cooperation, $150 million to implement the ASEAN-US Health Futures Initiative, provide support for building ASEAN’s climate change response capacity and infrastructure development, and $70 million for educational programs and people-to-people exchanges.

ASEAN leaders thanked the United States for its proactive support in the response to COVID-19, helping to improve disease response capacity, providing vaccines and recently establishing the regional office for Asia from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Southeast in Hanoi, Vietnam. . ASEAN member states expect the United States to continue supporting ASEAN’s pandemic prevention initiatives.

Recent milestones in U.S.-Vietnam bilateral relations include the U.S.’s full lifting of the lethal weapons ban imposed on Vietnam during President Barack Obama’s visit in May 2016; and the shipment of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier to Da Nang in March 2018, marking the largest US military presence in Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Bilateral trade rose from $450 million in 1994 to $111.56 billion in 2021. The Prime Minister’s visit further opened up prospects for US-Vietnam relations.

Vietnam perseveres in its foreign policy of independence, peace, friendship, cooperation and development. It seeks to diversify and multilateralize relations. He is a responsible member of the international community. Vietnam, like other developing countries, wants to build an independent and self-reliant economic base, intensify industrialization and international integration to overcome the middle-income trap and become a developed nation.

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