The Hanoitimes - Two former adversaries are working together to overcome the past while partnering for a mutually prosperous future, US Ambassador to Vietnam Krtitenbrink noted.
The US Embassy in Vietnam and the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense (MND) on November 7 signed an agreement to hand over 13.7 hectares of remediated land at Danang International Airport to the control of the Ministry of Transportation, marking the end of a project to clean up dioxin at this airport.
This is the third and last portion of land to be turned over for expansion of Danang International Airport. The handover marked the completion of the six-year, $110 million Environmental Remediation of Dioxin Contamination at Danang Airport Project, jointly implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and MND.
Vietnamese and US officials at the signing ceremony. Photo courtesy: US Embassy in Hanoi
Launched in August 2012, the project has successfully treated over 90,000 cubic meters of contaminated soil and sediment through thermal desorption and safely contained an additional 50,000 cubic meters of low concentration, dioxin-contaminated material.
USAID/Vietnam Mission Director Michael Greene stated: "We are very pleased that our successful efforts with Vietnam's Air Defense-Air Force Command have resulted in over 30 hectares of additional land for expansion of Danang International Airport, which will drive regional economic growth."
“Today we celebrate an historic achievement, two former adversaries working together to overcome the past while partnering for a mutually prosperous future. Over these past six years, we have worked as a team with the Ministry of National Defense to make the city of Danang and Vietnam safer. And we are now ready to continue this collaboration at Bien Hoa,” said US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink.
The US is committed to working with Vietnam and MND to resolve war legacies while continuing to strengthen the economic, cultural, and security ties between the two countries, the embassy said in a statement.
To realize its commitment, on May 11, USAID signed a grant with Vietnam's Air Defense-Air Force Command for a total expected contribution of $183 million towards remediation activities in the Bien Hoa Airbase, the largest remaining hotspot of dioxin contamination in Vietnam, over an initial five-year period.
US Defense Secretary James Mattis made a field trip to the airbase during his visit to Vietnam last month. That was his second trip to the Southeast Asian country this year.
Since 2000, the US has worked with Vietnam to resolve humanitarian and wartime legacy issues. These include the removal of unexploded ordinance, the identification of remains of missing personnel, and the remediation of dioxin.