PANO - The 7th Vietnam-US defense policy dialogue was held in Hanoi on October 17, and co-chaired by Deputy Defense Minister, Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, Cara Abercrombie.

At the dialogue, both sides agreed to boost all-sided cooperation and expressed their pleasure with recent developments in Vietnam-US defence cooperation in line with the two countries’ comprehensive partnership.

General Vinh highlighted the results of the two sides' cooperation activities in addressing war aftermath in Vietnam, saying that it does not only heal the two nations' past but also opens cooperation opportunities in the future.

He stressed that the message should be popularized among the two peoples and in the international community.

Minister of National Defense, General Ngo Xuan Lich (R) receiving US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, Cara Abercrombie

The Vietnamese Deputy Defense Minister also stated that Vietnam well understands the significance of repatriating remains of US servicemen who died during the war in Vietnam to their families and Government so it is willing to do its utmost to support the US in this matter.

Regarding the cooperation in dealing with Agent Orange/dioxin consequences in Vietnam, he informed that the detoxification of contaminated soil near Da Nang International Airport has completed its first phase and will begin the second phase on October 18.

He stressed the project bears the great humanitarian and political meaning, and hoped the US Department of Defence will continue to support Vietnam in other Agent Orange/dioxin projects, particularly the upcoming project to detoxify dioxin contamination in and around Bien Hoa airport.

General Vinh thanked the assistance of the US in dealing with unexploded ordnance in Vietnam and lauded the outcomes of exchanges of war veterans and remembrances.

For her part, Abercrombie thanked Vietnam’s efforts in helping the US with the missing-in-action issue.

She said the US will continue backing Vietnam in collecting its martyrs’ remains and clearing unexploded ordnance.

During the dialogue, both sides discussed approaches to boost delegation exchange and cooperation in maritime security, humanitarian aid, UN peacekeeping opeations and education and training.

They also exchanged views on the Cooperative Humanitarian and Medical Storage Initiative (CHAMSI). During the visit to Vietnam of President Barrack Obama in May 2016, the US and Vietnam signed a letter of intent to establish a CHAMSI working group, which allows the two sides to bolster cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Regarding regional and international issues, Abercrombie said the US will not change its Asia-Pacific rebalance strategy and continue implementing its commitments to the region.

General Vinh said Vietnam applauds efforts of the US and other regional partners as long as they contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity.

Both sides agreed that regional disputes should be settled by peaceful means in line with international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to build a region of peace and stability and maintain the freedom of aviation and navigation.

Later on the day, the US official paid a courtesy call  on Vietnamese Minister of National Defense, General Ngo Xuan Lich. She briefed the Vietnamese Defense Minister on the outcomes of the dialogue.

At the meeting, Lich stated that Vietnam wants to cooperate with the US in all areas, including defense cooperaiton, for peace, security and development in the region and in the world.

He said potential for bilateral cooperation remains large, so the two sides should deepen their ties in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation signed between Vietnamese and US defence ministries in 2001 and the Vietnam-US Joint Vision Statement in 2015.

Translated by Thu Nguyen