Vietnam-US Comprehensive Partnership: A Decade of Great Strides in 10 Years

Mr. Nguyen Quoc Dung, Vietnam's Ambassador to the United States, praised the longstanding and hard-earned progress of the two countries in the 10 years prior to the Comprehensive Partnership (2013-2023). He noted that the current “sweet fruits" of Vietnam-US relations are the result of the collective efforts of leaders, officials, and citizens from both countries over many generations.

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10 Years of Vietnam-US Comprehensive Partnership: Short Journey, Great Stride
The visit to the US in July 2015 by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has an important meaning for Vietnam-US relations. Photo: VNA

What are the most outstanding achievements in the 10-year journey of the Vietnam-US Comprehensive Partnership?

The Vietnam-US relations have witnessed significant growth and deepening in various fields over the past 10 years. This comprehensive partnership has flourished in politics, diplomacy, economy, trade, culture, education, science, technology, healthcare, national defense, security, and people-to-people exchange.

Each area of cooperation has its own notable highlights. In politics and diplomacy, there has been a considerable increase in mutual understanding and respect. Both sides have displayed respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political institutions.

The two nations maintain regular exchanges and high-level contacts, with visits from General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and other senior Vietnamese leaders to the US, as well as US Presidents visiting Vietnam. These exchanges are vital for fostering and strengthening the relationship between the two countries.

10 Years of Vietnam-US Comprehensive Partnership: Short Journey, Great Stride
Vietnamese Ambassador to the United States Nguyen Quoc Dung. Photo: Vietnamese Embassy in the US

The economic and trade relationship has been the most rapidly growing and strongest pillar, acting as a driving force behind the overall relationship. In the last decade, bilateral trade turnover has increased more than fivefold, from US$25 billion in 2012 to nearly US$139 billion in 2022.

Vietnam has become the 7th largest trading partner of the US globally, while US investment in Vietnam continues to rise. Vietnamese enterprises are also increasingly investing in the US. Additionally, there has been a significant number of Vietnamese students studying in the US, with Vietnam ranking fifth in the world for the number of students studying there.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Vietnam aims to welcome one million US tourists to the country once the situation improves. Cooperation in addressing the aftermath of war remains a priority, with concrete results achieved in the search and identification of missing soldiers, dioxin detoxification, and support for victims of Agent Orange.

The progress made in each field of cooperation contributes to the success of the 10-year Vietnam-US Comprehensive Partnership.

What are the key factors driving the development of Vietnam-US relations? And what challenges do the two countries face in furthering their relationship?

The progress made in Vietnam-US relations is not a result of luck or coincidence, but rather the dedicated efforts of generations of leaders, officials, and people from both countries. The cooperative relationship, driven by mutual benefits and shared aspirations for peace and development, is a critical factor in promoting Vietnam-US relations.

Respect for each other plays a significant role, particularly respect for independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political institutions. The two countries cooperate and seek mutual understanding to address their differences while considering the legitimate interests of both sides.

As in any international relationship, challenges and difficulties are inevitable. The historical, cultural, and developmental differences between Vietnam and the US have resulted in significant war wounds that still need to be addressed. The rapidly changing international and regional environment, as well as global issues, further complicate the relationship.

However, the willingness to understand and find common ground, as well as goodwill and sincere dialogue, can bridge the gaps and contribute to the deepening of the Vietnam-US relationship. Both Vietnam and the US are committed to this approach.

10 Years of Vietnam-US Comprehensive Partnership: Short Journey, Great Stride
President Truong Tan Sang visited the US in July 2013, upgrading relations to a Vietnam-US Comprehensive Partnership. Photo: VNA

What are Vietnam’s top priorities for further enhancing the Vietnam-US relationship?

Considering the country’s new position and the development history of the relationship, it is expected that Vietnam-US relations will continue to reach new heights. This development will serve the interests of both nations and contribute to peace, stability, security, cooperation, and development in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

The openness, understanding, and enthusiastic support of the majority of Americans that I encounter regarding Vietnam and the US-Vietnam relationship have been particularly impressive and encouraging. The potential for cooperation between the two nations is still significant.

10 Years of Vietnam-US Comprehensive Partnership: Short Journey, Great Stride
Ambassador Nguyen Quoc Dung welcomes US Senator Patrick Leahy at the Vietnamese Embassy in the US in October 2022. Photo: Vietnamese Embassy in the US

One of the common priorities is to continue strengthening and deepening cooperation in all areas. Each field has its specific priorities:

– In politics and diplomacy, the focus will be on consolidating and enhancing mutual understanding through increased visits and exchanges at all levels, particularly high-level engagements.

– In terms of economic, trade, investment, science, and technology cooperation, efforts will be made to develop stable and sustainable relationships, minimizing trade disputes and exploring new areas such as the digital economy, green economy, circular economy, and supply chain sustainability.

– Cultural and artistic exchanges, as well as education and training matching Vietnam’s human resource needs, will be emphasized in people-to-people exchanges.

– Cooperation in addressing the consequences of war will be accelerated, considering the increasing difficulty of the work due to the passage of time.

– Effective cooperation at multilateral forums, especially within the ASEAN-US Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), will be intensified.

– Vietnam and the US will also collaborate in addressing global issues, including environmental concerns, climate change, and clean energy transition.

Rosie Nguyen