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Apr 21, 2022 / 15:23

US to transfer 3rd patrol ship to Vietnam

Improving Vietnamese maritime capacity is particularly significant in the multifaceted relations of the US-Vietnam comprehensive partnership.

The US is ready to transfer to Vietnam the third cutter to help the Southeast Asian country improve its naval capacity, US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper has said.

 US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper at the press conference on April 20. Photos: US Embassy in Hanoi

Talks between the two governments on the transfer are underway, the ambassador said at a press conference held on April 20.

Washington handed over to Hanoi two Hamilton-class cutters in 2017 and 2021 under the US Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. The EDA offers excess military equipment to US partners and allied countries in support of military and security modernization efforts. The ships are assigned to the Vietnam Coast Guard.

Knapper said supporting Vietnam in security modernization efforts is part of the relations with Vietnam, which are put in Washington’s Indo-Pacific Strategy – one of the US top priorities. He said the US new Indo-Pacific Strategy sets the ground for the relations with the region, including Vietnam.

On February 11, the White House announced the strategy in which the US is committed to promoting an Indo-Pacific that is free and open, connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient.

At the meeting with nearly 50 journalists, the ambassador said: “Our two countries’ relationship has expanded to cover virtually all aspects… whether it’s trade and investment, whether it’s energy, health, maritime security, people-to-people ties, cultural exchanges - these are all ways in which our countries have and will continue to grow our relationship.”

 A Hamilton-class cutter was assigned to Vietnam's Coast Guard on way home to Vietnam. 

Wish to upgrade relations

For the vision of the US-Vietnam relations, Knapper said it is time to upgrade the ties with Vietnam, stressing that it would be one of the US government’s priorities and his own during his tenure in Vietnam. US Vice President Kamala Harris also mentioned the upgrade of ties during her visit to Vietnam in August 2021.

At the event, Knapper said there are no limits to the US-Vietnam relationship and believed both countries could achieve a lot together if given the opportunity.

The upgrade of relations is expected to create a new framework for Hanoi and Washington to expand cooperation in areas ranging from security, economy, trade, energy, health, and climate change.

Since his term in Vietnam began in early 2022, the ambassador has worked on strengthening the US-Vietnam cooperation in different sectors through the meetings with the Vietnamese government’s agencies and localities, including major cities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Cantho, and Haiphong. 

Commenting on the development of the relations, Knapper said it’s out of his imagination 15 years ago. The relationship demonstrates a wide range of sectors, including trade, investment, energy, health, maritime security, people-to-people links, and cultural ties.

Normalized in 1995, the US-Vietnam relations were upgraded to Comprehensive Partnership in 2013. It’s been 10 years since the elevation and the timing is ripened for the next move, Knapper emphasized. 

In terms of trade, the two-way value rose 250 times in 26 years to US$11 billion in 2021 from $450 million in 1994, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs. Currently, the US is Vietnam’s second-biggest trade partner after China and Vietnam’s largest importer.

In the Covid-19 pandemic, the US has so far donated more than 40 million doses of vaccines.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will tour the US next month for the ASEAN-US Special Summit scheduled for May 12-13.