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Apr 08, 2021 / 16:42

Vietnam-US relations definitely go further: Daniel Kritenbrink

The ambassador has great hopes for the US-Vietnam relations that have made great gains during his term.

US outgoing Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink has said he’s optimistic about the bilateral relations under the Biden administration, which he believes would keep growing.

 US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink. Photo: VietNamNet 

Kritenbrink made the statement at a press conference on April 7 to review his 3.5-year-term in Vietnam, adding that Washington always attaches importance to the US-Vietnam relations.

By saying that the US-Vietnam relations were like the sky, the diplomat implicates the ties are open and limitless.

He said he has high hopes for Vietnam’s position in the future as Vietnamese leaders are foreseeable, competent, and realistic.

Speaking at the press conference, the US diplomat said Washington continues to work for the freedom of navigation and aviation and to stand with its partners and allies in supporting the rules-based international order.

He reiterated that the US will continue its stance on the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea (SCS) (called East Sea by Vietnam), strongly protesting China’s provocation and bullying towards regional littoral states.

He reminded people of the US strong and crystal stance on China’s claims to offshore resources across most of the sea, saying that the world will not allow Beijing to treat the SCS as its maritime empire.

The US will continue to take diplomatic activities, including legal diplomacy, to promote common goals with friends and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. The US will help strengthen Vietnam’s maritime capacity.

Along with Vietnam, the US will also join in assisting other countries such as Malaysia and the Philippines.

Multifaceted relations

Reviewing his term in Vietnam, Daniel Kritenbrink highlighted the tightened defense cooperation with the first visit of US aircraft carrier to Vietnam after the war. Over the last years, two such visits were paid to Vietnam.

In terms of trade, the US and Vietnam have signed trade deals worth US$45 billion so far, he said, noting that the figure is likely much higher this year.

Trade is the most prominent aspect in the bilateral relations over the past years. Before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in early 2020, Vietnam was the fastest export market of the US and the US was the largest export market for Vietnam.

In terms of education, nearly 30,000 Vietnamese students are studying in the US while a large number of US volunteers have come to Vietnam for English teaching under non-profit organizations’ programs, tightening the friendship.

Regarding war legacies, Daniel Kritenbrink said he is very touching and proud to be the first US Ambassador visiting Truong Son Martyrs Cemetery. He also visited a number of Bien Hoa Cemetery and martyrs cemeteries in Ho Chi Minh City with veterans of both Vietnam and the US.

He’s proud of results gained in the joint efforts on solving war legacies with dioxin cleanup projects in Danang and Bien Hoa airports, support to victims of Agent Orange/dioxin, handling unexploded ordnance (UXO), searching for missing in action soldiers and repatriation.

Vietnam – one of US best friends

The outgoing Ambassador affirmed that Vietnam is “one of US best friends” and “a friend in need is a friend indeed.”

The US envoy described Vietnam the best friend in the fight against Covid-19 in which it donated medical equipment, personal protection equipment (PPE) and face masks to the US and many other countries.

In turn, Washington funded Vietnam US$13 million and 100 ventilators since the pandemic broke out in early 2020.

Kritenbrink’s term in Vietnam is considered to be successful in most aspects. The US Ambassador actively participates in strengthening Hanoi-Washington relations with results in various fields namely overcoming war consequences, including dioxin issues, humanitarian cooperation, science, technology, environment, defense, and security.

US President Joe Biden has nominated Kritenbrink, a career diplomat who speaks Chinese and Japanese, to be the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, a White House statement said.