Strengthened bilateral and multilateral relations between Vietnam and the US, Vietnam and the United Nations, and stronger US-ASEAN ties would result from the week-long visit paid to the US by Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, who returned to Hanoi on May 19.
|Leaders of US and ASEAN member states in Washington, D.C., for the special summit on May 12-13. Photo: VNA|
Apart from attending the US-ASEAN Special Summit held on May 12-13, to which the two sides reached a consensus on a number of issues through a joint statement, Chinh's visit contributed to strengthening the Comprehensive Partnership with the US and the relations with the UN to which Vietnam appears to be a reliable and responsible member.
During one week in the US, Chinh visited and worked in four cities namely Washington, D.C., Boston, New York, and San Fransisco attending more than 50 events. He delivered speeches at the meetings of the summit, and held separate talks with some leaders of ASEAN member states like Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, and Singapore.
| PM Pham Minh Chinh was welcomed by UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed at the UN Headquarters in New York. Photo: VGP|
Chinh visited the UN Headquarters in New York, having talks with Amina Mohammed, the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Abdulla Shahid, the President of the United Nations General Assembly. He reaffirmed Vietnam’s strong commitment to multilateralism and rule-based order. Vietnam continues to cooperate with the UN in three main pillars: security-politics, development, and human rights.
In talks with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Administrator Achim Steiner, Chinh expressed his hope to get further UNDP support for climate finance from G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US) in the energy transition to help Vietnam fulfill its commitment on net-zero transmissions by 2050.
Meanwhile, Vietnam expects more support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to fulfill its children-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 when the PM met UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.
|PM Pham Minh Chinh and US President Joe Biden. Photo: VNA|
Prospects of US-Vietnam multisectoral relations
Politics: Bilateral activities during the visit covered a wide range of fields, including politics, trade, investment, health, education, science-technology, tourism, and people-to-people links.
Many agreements and deals were inked while dialogues and meetings were held, marking a strong message that both countries want to develop the Comprehensive Partnership in a substantive manner.
On the first day of the visit, Chinh met a number of US leading firms namely Boeing, Blackstone, Gen X Energy, AES Corp to boost cooperation in aviation, energy, digital transformation, food, capital investment, climate adaptation, and infrastructure, with a focus on training in aviation and a plan to open a maintenance center in Vietnam. Meanwhile, energy and climate change adaptation are two of the key pillars in the US-Vietnam relations.
Chinh held talks with President Joe Biden and different meetings with State Secretary Antony Blinken, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Finance Janet Yellen, Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan to discuss measures for further trade, security cooperation, and financial support for Vietnam.
On this occasion, the Vietnamese PM met dozens of senior US officials and scholars who have contributed to strengthening the US-Vietnam relationship over the past years.
Chinh was the only ASEAN leader invited to make remarks at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). The speech, which was delivered in the lead-up to the US-ASEAN Summit, stressed that the US-Vietnam relations have been built by sincerity, trust, and responsibility. He said the two countries have overcome differences and reached common foundational principles for this relationship, which is shown in respect for each other’s political system, independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.
|PM Chinh witnesses the signing of an agreement between US and Vietnam partners. Photo: VGP|
Economic ties remain the key pillar in the relations that were normalized 27 years ago, with trade and investment playing the most important role. During his stay there, Chinh attended the US-Vietnam Investment Promotion Conference and witness the signing of dozens of agreements on investment and cooperation between the two countries’ agencies and firms.
Notably, the Vietnamese PM visited the New York Stock Exchange and met executives of US giant firms, including Intel, Apple, and Google to boost IT cooperation. In addition, he met presidents of investment funds in an effort to boost capital flows for Vietnam’s startup ecosystem.
With an aim to get further cooperation in science and technology, Chinh met Ruth O’Hara, Senior Associate Dean for Research, Stanford University School of Medicine, a hub of science and training with many professors of Vietnamese origin in staff and a partner of many organizations and universities in Vietnam.
He requested Stanford to help Vietnam build big data and artificial intelligence (AI) training. Meanwhile, RuthO’Hara said some projects for short-term cooperation could be brain protection, liver cancer prevention, and training of AI engineers while research and production of drug and medical equipment, and research on future emerging pandemics are set to be issues of long-term cooperation.
|PM Chinh at a meeting with overseas Vietnamese in San Francisco, California. Photo: VGP|
In an effort to facilitate the Vietnamese community, the PM met Nina Hachigian, the First Deputy Mayor of International Affairs of Los Angeles, the city home to a large Vietnamese community, and Hachigian, who is the former US Ambassador to ASEAN sought direct flights between Los Angeles and Vietnam, and Sister City status between Los Angeles and Hanoi.
In addition, he met Mayor of San Fransisco London Breed to discuss the same issue as this city is home to more than 50,000 Vietnamese people and the Consulate General of Vietnam. San Francisco and Ho Chi Minh City set up the twin-town relations event before the normalization in 1995.
Affirming overseas Vietnamese is an inseparable part of Vietnam, the PM held three different meetings with Vietnamese people living, working, and studying in the US.
At these meetings, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said the country treasures all contributions by young Vietnamese people abroad no matter where they live and work.
“We don’t care if you work at home or abroad, the most important thing is efficiency that benefits ourselves and our families and that you think about the country, being proud to be Vietnamese,” Chinh said when he met a number of Vietnamese intellectuals, young people, and students on May 15.
In the US alone, Vietnam tops Southeast Asian countries for the number of students studying in the country with nearly 24,000 students in the 2019-2020 academic year, contributing roughly US$1 billion to the American economy.
Regarding overseas Vietnamese, the US is home to 2.2 million people of Vietnamese origin out of about 5.4 million Vietnamese abroad.
Chinh highly appreciated contributions by overseas Vietnamese to the economy. In the past years, remittances to Vietnam reach more than US$10 billion per year. In 2021, the figure was $12.5 billion.
The Vietnamese PM reaffirmed the role of overseas Vietnamese people, stressing that they are an inseparable part of the nation. That viewpoint has been reiterated by generations of Vietnamese top leaders who always treasure such part.
|PM Chinh and Vietnamese young people in the US. Photo: VGP|