The event was attended by Vietnamese Deputy Defense Minister and Head of the National Steering Committee on the Settlement of Post-war Unexploded Ordnance and Toxic Chemicals (Steering Committee 701) Senior Lieutenant General Hoang Xuan Chien and U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, President pro Tempo of the U.S. Senate and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy said that addressing war legacy has been one of significant cooperation fields between Vietnam and the U.S. and received much support from leaders of the two countries.

General Chien at the online seminar

The U.S. senator took this occasion to thank Vietnam for its efforts in searching for U.S. soldiers missing in action. He also emphasized the importance of a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in searching for, collecting and verifying Vietnamese war martyrs signed during the recent official visit of U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III to Vietnam.

This agreement has opened a new chapter in Vietnam-U.S. cooperation in settling war legacy, Senator Patrick Leahy added.

In his speech at the webinar, Vietnamese Deputy Defense Minister Hoang Xuan Chien thanked the Government, Congress and people of the U.S. as well as other countries and international organizations worldwide for organizing various practical programs to clear post-war unexploded ordnance and toxic chemicals in Vietnam.

General Chien said that severe consequences of post-war bombs, mines, and toxic chemicals are threatening the Vietnamese people’s life and affecting the country’s efforts in achieving sustainable development goals. Statistics show that nearly 6 million hectares of land across Vietnam is still contaminated with post-war unexploded ordnance, while there are more than 3.2 million victims of Agent Orange/dioxin in need of healthcare and jobs.

Therefore, General Chien expected that relevant agencies of the U.S. will continue cooperating with Vietnam in dealing with post-war unexploded ordnance and toxic chemicals in line with commitments made by senior leaders of the two countries. Chien also hoped that the two countries will put forward new breakthrough solutions to implement projects on overcoming war legacy in a more effective manner and provide healthcare and create jobs for AO/dioxin victims. In addition, projects on land mine clearance should be accelerated in the coming time.

At the webinar, delegates exchanged measures to raise the effectiveness of cooperation projects in overcoming war legacy between Vietnam and the U.S. in the coming time.

Translated by Tran Hoai