Prime Minister has meetings with friends of Viet Nam in US
|Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh meets the American friends who support Viet Nam's victims of Agent Orange/dioxin in New York on May 15. (Photo: VNA)|
In the meeting with John McAuliff and a group of US friends who have helped support Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange/dioxin, Prime Minister Chinh said other than future-looking items of bilateral cooperation, the Vietnamese delegation has also discussed with the US side the handling of war consequences that still haunt Vietnam to this day.
There are still three million people suffering from the impacts of Agent Orange, not to even mention the risks of continuing diseases and deformities afflicting future generations, the millions of hectares of contaminated land, he said. As many as 200,000 Vietnamese martyrs have still not been found, while unexploded bombs and mines continue to threaten the safety and livelihoods of many Vietnamese people.
The Vietnamese Government leader expressed gratitude to McAuliff and American friends who have supported Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange and assisted Viet Nam in handling war consequences.
For his part, McAuliff thanked Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in particular and Viet Nam in general for the goodwill to put aside the past and look toward the future, and for the cooperation between the two countries in handling war consequences – including the search for US persons missing in action (MIAs) in the war in Viet Nam, which has contributed to the healing process.
The Prime Minister hoped that American friends will have more robust, effective measures and practical programmes to address the most urgent issues in handling war legacies – including the decontamination of Bien Hoa airbase, livelihood support for the Agent Orange victims, support for genetic analysis to identify martyrs, and especially inspiring younger generations to continue their works – in coordination with the Vietnamese agencies through the help of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The same day, Prime Minister Chinh also met a number of close friends with Viet Nam, who have made active contributions and always supported Vietnam during the war as well as during present nation-building efforts.
Attending the meeting were Merle Ratner and some colleagues who are co-founders and coordinators of an organisation that advocates for relief and responsibility for victims of Agent Orange in Viet Nam; Jay Johnson, who used to join the first group of US soldiers to resist the draft to be sent to fight in Viet Nam and was sentenced to 28 months in prison; Susan Schnall, a former US Navy nurse, who with her husband used a plane to drop leaflets calling on soldiers to resist the order to deploy to Viet Nam, as well as some active members of left-wing movements in the US.
American friends expressed their impression of Vietnam’s great achievements after 35 years of Doi moi (reforms), announced a number of activities being carried out to continue supporting Viet Nam, and discussed with the Vietnamese leader on the situation in Viet Nam, the region and the world.
Prime Minister Chinh stated that Viet Nam steadfastly pursues the path of national independence and Socialism, striving to become a prosperous, strong, democratic nation with an equitable, civilised society.
Viet Nam consistently implements the foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, for peace, friendship, cooperation and development, multilateralisation and diversification of foreign relations, PM Chinh said, adding that Viet Nam seeks to be a good friend, a reliable partner and an active and responsible member of the international community.
Viet Nam and the US have put aside the past, and have been working together to advance ties across all areas, on the basis of respecting each other’s political institutions, territorial integrity and sovereignty, he noted.
One of the pillars of the bilateral relationship is the economy, trade, and investment. In 2021, Vietnam-US trade reached 112 billion USD, accounting for nearly one third of the total US-ASEAN trade at 362 billion USD, and enjoying an annual growth of 17-20 percent.
Informing American friends of the current situation in Viet Nam, which has successfully controlled COVID-19 and is engaging in robust socio-economic recovery, the Vietnamese Government sent his regards to the American people’s support for Viet Nam during the war and normalisation of ties, and asking them to continue to advocate and contribute to bilateral cooperation for the sake of peace, cooperation and development of the two countries.