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Nov 23, 2020 / 10:31

US, Vietnam share deep commitment to rules-based principles: O’Brien

Together, the two countries have crafted a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

US Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA) Robert C. O’Brien has ended his two-day Vietnam visit with a speech highlighting the rules-based principles in the Indo-Pacific.

  US National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien. Photo: US Embassy Hanoi

The two countries share a deep commitment to an Indo-Pacific rooted in rules of respect, fairness, and principles of international law such as sovereignty and freedom of navigation, O’Brien said in a speech delivered at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV) in Hanoi on November 22.

“This region has no interest in returning to an imperial era in which “might makes right,” O’Brien noted.

As such, America has taken a firm stance against China’s coercion in the South China Sea and the growing security threats in the Mekong region, he added.

Talking about the visit, he said it reaffirms and strengthens the two countries partnership to support peace, stability, and the unimpeded flow of commerce in the Indo-Pacific.

The US values Vietnam’s partnership and close coordination on shared strategic concerns, including upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea and the Mekong.

“Our two nations have also addressed a wide range of regional issues. Together, we have crafted a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

O’Brien went on to talk about the upholding of territorial integrity and national sovereignty by noting “From the South China Sea to the Mekong Riverine, the bounteous resources of your nation belong to your children and grandchildren. Their inheritance cannot be taken away simply because a neighbor is bigger and desires what is yours for itself.”

“We respect your patriotism, your vision, your determination, and your passion for an independent and truly sovereign nation that is not subservient to another.”

He also discussed with Vietnamese leaders Washington’s intent to launch a new US-Vietnam dialogue on international law enforcement. 

 DAV student raised questions for O'Brien. Photo: US Embassy Hanoi

Regarding the US-Vietnam bilateral relations, O’Brien said it is a friendship built upon shared interests and deep respect for one another’s freedom, independence, and sovereignty.

He affirmed that the US and Vietnam’s political systems may be different, but the same values are enshrined in the American and Vietnamese declarations of independence.

O’Brien highlighted the journey of 25 years in the bilateral relations, saying the friendship has grown into a strong and comprehensive partnership, one rooted in trust and understanding. “It is a friendship built atop a foundation of people-to-people ties, including those created by people deeply affected by our past conflict — Veterans, bereaved family members, and civilians on both sides.”

Over the past quarter century, Americans and Vietnamese have traded and invested in each other’s countries, creating countless jobs for both our people, for example, a large community of millions Vietnamese people in the US and nearly 30,000 Vietnamese students studying in the US.

They have resolved war legacies and promote maritime security. The two nations have also addressed a wide range of regional issues. Together, they have crafted a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

O’Brien talked about Washington’s support in Vietnam through humanitarian projects over the past 15 years.

He emphasized the port calls of American aircraft carrier to Vietnam since the end of the war and the US Air Force Academy welcomed its first Vietnamese cadet this year.

He said the two countries are also working closely to combat transnational crime and wildlife trafficking, strengthen water security, and increase energy security following the launch of the Mekong-US Partnership in September.

“We are deeply invested in a strong and prosperous Vietnam at the center of a free and open Indo-Pacific. We look forward to accomplishing great things with you in the future.”