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Aug 26, 2021 / 21:47

US-Vietnam relationship built on addressing future challenges: Harris

Harris said as the people in Vietnam stood with the Americans during the earliest days of the pandemic, as early as the spring of 2020, they now are here for the Vietnamese in this moment of need.

US Vice President Kamala Harris said the US-Vietnam relationship is really built on the foundation of understanding that is in mutual desire to strengthen the two nations’ security and economic standing, and ability to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

US Vice President Kamala Harris in a press conference in Hanoi on August 26. Photo: Minh Vu

Harris made the statement in a press conference in JW Marriott Hotel, Hanoi on August 26, closing a three-day visit as the first Vice President to visit Vietnam since diplomatic relations were established in 1995.

Harris said the activities to strengthen this relationship strategically. “Strategically meaning is to think about what might be the two countries' challenges, but also opportunities," she said in answer to a question raised by local media on the partnership to the strategic level.

She said there were extensive conversations and a joining of perspective during the meetings in Vietnam, particularly with Vietnamese officials.

She took an example about the issue of Covid as just the current example of a global public health crisis and what they can do together to join forces to not only deal with the current moment, the issue of vaccines, and what the US can do.

Regarding this, she said Vietnam helped the US out around PPE and Washington is helping Vietnam with vaccines -- but also what they can do together to be prepared -- for the inevitable next pandemic.

In addition, she said they talked about what they can do together to issues related to the supply chain, the connection between a global public health crisis like Covid and the production of necessary goods, and a global impact on economies but also the workforce.

Harris took another example when the leaders talked about climate. “I will tell you that it was a very productive and in-depth conversation about how we share the concerns,” she emphasized.

She said what is happening in the Mekong River in terms of erosion is the same kind of issues in the US and what they can do together that's both about investment in innovation and technology, and thinking about things like renewable energy.

In her remark today, Harris affirmed that they have had an enduring commitment to this relationship because it matters to the people, to the security, and to the prosperity of the American people and, they believe, the people of Vietnam.

“Now we are strengthening our partnership. Together we will take on the traditional issues and challenges, and we will take on those of the future, seeing within those challenges also the opportunities that we have to forge new aspects of our relationship,” Harris stated.

In the speech, Harris highlighted some main issues, including Covid-19 fight, economic ties, partnership on the climate crisis, space program, US commitment for a free and open Indo-Pacific, regional security, joint efforts to promote a rules-based international order, land lease contract for new US Embassy campus, and the vision of the relationship.

Harris said throughout this trip and in many meetings with government officials, business leaders, or civil society, she was reminded about just how much potential there is in this region and the potential that they all have, as well the ambition to achieve what is possible around common interests and common goals.

She said in the years ahead, the US will be coming back as they chart this next chapter in the partnership and the relationship with the spirit of understanding.

“I believe that this trip signals the beginning of the next chapter in the relationship between the United States and Vietnam,” Harris noted.

 Kamala Harris before leaving Vietnam on August 26. Photo: US Embassy in Hanoi