Present at the event were Senior Lieutenant General Hoang Xuan Chien, Deputy Defense Minister; Senior Lieutenant General Phung Si Tan, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army; and Major General Bui Anh Chung, Deputy Chief of the Air Defense - Air Force (ADAF) Service.

The event also saw the attendance of Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper, and Director of USAID in Vietnam Aler Grubbs.

Major General Bui Anh Chung and Ms. Samantha Power sign the minutes on handing over the newly-treated land.

Reportedly, the newly-treated land covers an area of nearly 3 hectares and will eventually be turned into a park. Earlier, land at a lake outside the airbase also had dioxin removed and handed over to local authorities.

The Bien Hoa Airbase clean-up project was officially launched in April 2019 and is expected to take 10 years to complete.

Delegates visit the newly-treated land.

Also at the ceremony, the USAID announced a new contract of over USD 70 million, raising the total investment capital to USD 300 million to treat and clean soil at the airbase in the second phase.

In his speech, Senior Lieutenant General Hoang Xuan Chien highly valued the efforts and cooperation results between the U.S. side, especially the USAID, and Vietnamese functional agencies in carrying out the Bien Hoa Airbase clean-up project. He underlined that it is an important cooperation project between the two countries in addressing aftermath left by the war in Vietnam.

The U.S. side hands over the newly-treated land to the Vietnamese side.

According to the general, dioxin clean-up in former U.S. airbases in Vietnam needs joint cooperation and assistance of international community as well as organizations and individuals inside and outside the country, including the U.S. Thus, the Vietnamese Defense Ministry urges the U.S. Embassy and USAID in Vietnam to further propose the U.S. Government and Congress to increase non-refundable ODA to Vietnam. “We will create the most favorable conditions for U.S. contractors to implement the project as scheduled,” he noted.

Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper affirmed that the two sides’ example of reconciliation will forever serve as a profound lesson to the rest of the world of what can be achieved when they move forward as trusted friends instead of foes. “Let us redouble our efforts in ensuring that our bilateral partnership will grow stronger and be more resilient for the next 27 years and beyond,” he said.

Planting trees in the area

At the ceremony, Major General Bui Anh Chung and Ms. Samantha Power signed the minutes on handing over the newly-treated land. The delegates also toured and planted trees right in the area.

Translated by Minh Anh