The Vietnamese leader thanked the U.S. for giving valuable and timely support to Vietnam in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, especially its donation of 5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Vietnam hopes to receive more assistance from the U.S. in accessing more COVID-19 vaccine supplies to speed up the country’s vaccination campaign, he said

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc (right) and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin

President Phuc underlined the significance of promoting defense cooperation between the two countries, adding that Vietnam expects close coordination from the U.S. in settling war legacy, MIA search, bomb and mine clearance, Agent Orange/dioxin detoxification as well as search and rescue operations, humanitarian relief and disaster mitigation.

Vietnam also expects the U.S. to assist the country in United Nations peacekeeping operations, he added.

The Vietnamese leader pledged to create optimal conditions for the two defense ministries to foster collaboration in areas in which both sides have demand.

Vietnam hopes that the U.S. will further deepen its partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for peace and prosperity in the region and the world, President Phuc added.

For his part, Austin said that the U.S. wants to continue witnessing Vietnam’s prosperity and strong development, and to cooperate with Vietnamese agencies more closely and effectively in the future.

The U.S. side will continue to partner with Vietnam in developing COVID-19 vaccines and will do its best to support Vietnam in pandemic prevention and control, he stated.

Austin affirmed that the U.S. will continue to strengthen collaboration with Vietnam in settling war legacy and assist the Southeast Asian nation in dealing with Agent Orange/dioxin consequences, especially through the project to detoxify dioxin at Bien Hoa airport, thus building and reinforcing mutual trust.

Asserting that the U.S. and Vietnam can expand their cooperation to areas where the two nations hold potential, Austin proposed the two sides consider lifting bilateral ties to a strategic partnership in the future.

He also affirmed that the U.S. will continue to foster ties with ASEAN in maintaining peace and security in the region, and commit to  build a stronger and better relations with countries in the region.

On the occasion, President Phuc asked Austin to convey his regards to U.S. President Joe Biden and expressed his hope that President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Vietnam in the coming time.

Source: VNA