The event was attended by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of National Defense Senior Lieutenant General Hoang Xuan Chien; Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Minh Vu; Directorate of the Vietnam Office for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP); and representatives of the ministries of National Defense, Foreign Affairs, Public Security; U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper; U.S. Defense Attaché to Vietnam Colonel Thomas Bouchillon, leader from U.S. MIA Office in Hanoi, and representatives from the families of U.S. servicemen.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of National Defense Senior Lieutenant General Hoang Xuan Chien attends the ceremony.

The two governments have joined efforts in searching and accounting for U.S. MIAs since the late 1980s. So far, over 720 U.S. MIAs have been identified.

At the ceremony, two sets of remains were handed over to the U.S. side. They were found as the result of the 154th joint field activity between Vietnamese and U.S. agencies, which lasted from February to April this year. The remains were examined by Vietnamese forensic specialists in Da Nang city who concluded that they might belong to U.S. MIAs from the war in Vietnam.

During the event

On the occasion, Gen. Chien received Ambassador Marc Knapper, during which both host and guest spoke highly of the meaning of the ceremony to the Vietnam - U.S. relations, especially in the context that the two countries have lifted their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership for peace, cooperation and sustainable development.

Gen. Chien highly praised the U.S. for its further support to Vietnam in war relief, including raising the budget for the dioxin detoxification project at Bien Hoa Airport to USD 300 million; assisting people with disabilities in localities affected by Agent Orange/Dioxin; conducting mine clearance; cooperating in searching for Vietnamese soldiers who died or went missing during the war.

Delegates in a joint photo

The Vietnamese defense leader asked the U.S. side to give more support to war relief projects in Vietnam, especially adding USD 200 million to the project to completely treat dioxin contamination at Bien Hoa Airport, giving assistance to dioxin treatment at Phu Cat Airport; to provide more information to help the search for fallen Vietnamese soldiers in the war; and to speed up technology transfer to improve the capacity of identifying Vietnamese martyrs’ remains.

Gen. Chien suggested the two sides jointly build and early sign a memorandum of understanding on comprehensive cooperation in war relief in Vietnam.

He invited U.S. senior defense leaders to visit Vietnam, take part in the second Vietnam International Defense Expo in December this year and on the occasion of the 80th founding anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army.

For his part, Ambassador Marc Knapper, on behalf of U.S. servicemen’s families, expressed thanks to the Vietnamese Government and people for efforts in jointly searching for U.S. MIAs over the past more than five decades, contributing to building trust, developing Vietnam - U.S. relations. The diplomat said that U.S. side shows respect for Vietnam’s unilaterally effective search efforts over the past time in hard-to-access and challenging terrains, particularly the recent 154th field activity in Vinh Phuc province.

He confirmed that the U.S. government is committed at the highest level to supporting Vietnam in war relief, especially in completely cleaning up dioxin contamination at Bien Hoa Airport and transferring DNA examination technology for identifying Vietnamese martyrs’ remains.

He hoped to closely coordinate with Vietnam to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the normalization of the diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the U.S. (1995 - 2025), and 50th anniversary of the end of the war in Vietnam (1975 - 2025), and the 80th anniversary of the first contact between Viet Minh and the U.S. (1945 - 2025).

Translated by Mai Huong