The visit showcased that Vietnam has a key role in shaping US-ASEAN ties. Simultaneously, India-Vietnam partnership also helps to strengthen India’s role in ASEAN and therefore reaffirms Vietnam’s role as a multilateral player enhancing role of PM Chinh in shaping foreign policy. The two countries celebrate 50 years of diplomatic ties in 2022. The visit also showcased that Vietnam can handle human rights issues in a matured way. Vietnam has been seen as one of the promising economies in South East Asia with GDP growth rate expected to be anywhere between 6 to 8 per cent and
The visit also witnessed Vietnam maintaining its balanced position on the Ukraine crisis and the PM reiterated Vietnam’s stand on territorial integrity and sovereignty of states. “…each must respect their own commitments and observe international law and the U.N. Charter. They must respect independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of each other, and they must respect the chosen political system another country has chosen that is supported by that country’s people. They must contribute to the common work of the international community according to their own ability. We must uphold dialogue to understand each other more in order to address the differences and disputes among states,” PM Chinh stated in his address at the prestigious CSIS.
Referring to ASEAN centrality, the Vietnamese PM stated, “Located in between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, ASEAN has been making every effort to play a central role in the regional architecture that is taking shape. Its members are joining hands to build an ASEAN community according to its 2025 vision. Rooted in the common ground of sincerity, trust and responsibility, ASEAN is playing its role and making all efforts, alongside its partners, to build a world and regional landscape for peace, stability, cooperation, and development based on international law and U.N. Charter. The ASEAN outlook of the Indo-Pacific stresses openness, inclusivity, based on cooperation and dialogue with all parties concerned.”
There are two main issues in the East Sea. The first is the opposing claims on territories over waters and islands. And the second is the freedom of movement, of navigation, and overflight.
While addressing the CSIS PM Chinh mentioned Vietnam’s approach on the issue. “Vietnam is ready to engage in dialogue and cooperation to address differences and disputes. So it’s contributing toward peace, stability, and development. At the same time, we seek to ensure a balance of interests and satisfactory handling of the concerns of different partners, countries, and the international community,” he said, adding, “It is for this reason that in the settlement of disputes and conflicts in the region and the world, including the East Sea, the South China Sea – a critical sea the countries within and beyond the region – we always seek to maintain peace, stability, ensure security, safety, freedom of navigation and overflight, preserve the legitimate rights and interests of parties, address disputes through peaceful means via dialogue based on respect for international law, especially the UNCLOS 1982. We stand for the effective and full observance of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea – DOC – and are working towards making the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea – COC – that is concrete, effectual, and in line with international law, including 1982 UNCLOS.”
The Vietnamese Prime Minister also said that he hoped major powers partnering with the ASEAN work towards stable relations and responsible, healthy competition, for the sake of regional and global peace and security. He made the statement as he addressed the ASEAN – US Special Summit on May 13. The summit included a meeting between ASEAN leaders and US President Joe Biden and a session between ASEAN leaders and the US cabinet on climate, clean energy, and infrastructure.
He delivered a presentation on building an independent, self-reliant economy associated with extensive, effective, and practical international integration in Vietnam during his visit to the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Vietnam and the US have overcome their differences and reached fundamental principles for their relations, as affirmed in the Vietnam-US Joint Vision Statement issued when General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong made an official visit to the US in 2015, which emphasised respect for “each other’s political institutions, independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity,” PM Chinh noted.
At the Summit US leaders have announced a range of proposals and initiatives for cooperation with ASEAN. The US will invest 40 million USD to finance the development of clean energy infrastructure, another 40 million USD to strengthen maritime cooperation, 150 million USD to implement the ASEAN-US Health Futures initiative, provide support for ASEAN’s climate change response capacity enhancement and infrastructure development, and 70 million USD for educational programmes and people-to-people exchanges.
ASEAN leaders thanked the US for its proactive support in responding to COVID-19, helping to improve disease response capacity, providing vaccines, and recently establishing the Southeast Asia Regional Office of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Hanoi, Vietnam. ASEAN member states expect the US to continue backing ASEAN’s pandemic prevention initiatives.
Recent milestones in USA-Vietnam bilateral ties include the U.S. fully lifting the lethal arms ban on Vietnam during President Barack Obama’s visit in May 2016; and sending aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to Da Nang in March 2018, marking the biggest U.S. military presence in Vietnam since the Vietnam War ended in 1975. Bilateral trade surged from $450 million in 1994 to $111.56 billion in 2021. The PM visit has further opened up prospects of US-Vietnam ties.
Vietnam perseveres with its foreign policy line of independence, peace, friendship, cooperation, and development. It seeks to diversify and multilateralize relations. It is a responsible member of the international community. Vietnam, like other developing countries, wants to build an independent, self-reliant economic foundation, step up industrialisation and international integration to overcome the middle-income trap to become a developed nation