Jul 25, 2020 / 10:31

Solving war legacies helps build trust between US and Vietnam: Amb. Kritenbrink

The Hanoitimes - The US ambassador believes that solving war legacies plays a particularly important role in enhancing the bilateral relations.

US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink believes that efforts from both sides to solve war legacies could help build trust between the two former war adversaries.

 US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink. Photo: VietNamNet

The US really does everything possible to fulfill their responsibilities to the issues left in the past in order to build trust and expand cooperation in the future, the ambassador said during a web chat with VietNamNet earlier this month.

The search for those missing in the war is the foundation of the bilateral relations. It is also the first content in the cooperation between the two countries, Kritenbrink said, adding that this issue is considered the linkage that brings the two countries back together.

He said the US wants to show its gratitude to Vietnam for supporting to unearth the 727 remains of American servicemen who went missing during the war.

Last year, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper pledged to support Vietnam in counting remains of Vietnamese combatants missing in action.

In early July, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Vietnam Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) signed a Memorandum of Intent to support DNA analysis of unidentified human remains recovered from the war.

Under this agreement, USAID will partner with VNOSMP to fund US$2.4 million for a new project of three to five years with an aim to complement a broader US Department of Defense effort to support Vietnam’s efforts to find and identify the more than 200,000 Vietnamese combatants missing in action (VMIA), according to the US Embassy in Hanoi.

 A repatriation ceremony of remains of American soldier missing in action. Photo: Vietnam Defense Ministry

In a latest move, a ceremony was held at the US MIA Office in Hanoi last week to repatriate a set of remains of an alleged US serviceman missing in the war. The repatriation ceremony marked the attendance of US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink and representatives of VNOSMP, Vietnam’s Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Public Security, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Defense, searching for remains of US servicemen missing in the war is humanity activities between the two countries. Last week's event is the 153rd remains handover since 1973.

At the web chat earlier this month, the US diplomat went on to say that the two countries are also boosting cooperation in settling unexploded ordnance (UXO) and dioxin.

The ambassador said he himself attended a closing ceremony of a dioxin cleanup project at Danang airport in 2018 and joined a group of nine US senators to launch another bigger environmental remediation of dioxin contamination at Bien Hoa airport in Southern Vietnam.

According to the ambassador, the US has supported Vietnam in a land and mine clearance project in the central province of Quang Tri, Quang Binh, and Thua Thien-Hue in an expansion project.

He said they are very proud that no casualty relating to UXO has been reported in Vietnam over the past three years.

In 2019, the US announced to promote support for the treatment of Vietnamese people with disabilities who suffer from dioxin/Agent Orange in eight provinces across Vietnam.

He believed that solving war legacies plays a particularly important role in enhancing the bilateral relations.

 US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink visits Truong Son Martyrs Cemetery in August 2019. 

With an effort to accelerate reconciliation, the ambassador in August 2019 conducted a trip to the Truong Son Martyrs Cemetery – the largest military cemetery in Vietnam gathering more than 12,000 graves of Vietnamese army men.

The visit made Daniel Kritenbrink the first American ambassador to visit Vietnam’s well-known resting place for Vietnamese army men who lost their lives in the bloody Vietnam War that ended in 1975.

Daniel Kritenbrink said the most meaningful visit brought him emotional experience in which he wanted to show his respect and honor to all people who fought for their homeland.

He expects that through the visit, Vietnam and the US would together leave the past behind and boost the bilateral cooperation and friendship.