Vietnam – US Relationship Has Grown Beyond All Expectations – Ambassador Michalak

Dec 30, 2010. Vietnam and the United States normalized diplomatic relations in 1995, opening a new chapter in the bilateral relationship of the two countries. Over the years, Vietnam and the US have developed and expanded bilateral cooperation in various aspects of economics, politics, trade, investment, science-technology, culture and education.

On the occasion of New Year 2011, Vietnam Business Forum reporter Doan Tien interviewed Mr Michael Michalak – US Ambassador to Vietnam, who will finish his term in 2011 January, to learn about the achievements in bilateral cooperation between the countries over the past 15 years.

What have been the highlights in the US – Vietnam relationship in 2010?

Celebrating the 15th anniversary of relations with Vietnam this year has been a unique opportunity to look back over the past 15 years and evaluate how far our relations have come and what we can accomplish together.

Vietnam’s ASEAN chairmanship was extremely successful, and not just in terms of protocol. Vietnam did much to further ASEAN’s agenda, both internally and in its relationship with the rest of the world – the United States especially. Highlights of the year include President Nguyen Minh Triet’s visit to New York to serve as co-chair of the US-ASEAN Summit, Secretary of State Clinton’s two visits, and the visit of Defence Secretary Gates.

We appreciate in particular Vietnam’s role in facilitating the invitation for the United States and Russia to join the East Asia Summit and the decision to inaugurate the ADMM Plus which, for the first time, brought together ASEAN defence ministers with counterparts from eight other countries, including the United States.

We are cooperating on a broad range of regional and international issues, as demonstrated by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s April visit to the US to take part in President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit.

And our bilateral relationship is deepening as well. Both Secretary Clinton and Secretary Gates’ visits, for example, included meetings with top Vietnamese officials, including the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Defence Minister, and also involved meetings with Vietnamese students and civil society representatives.

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