US Ambassador: Helping Viet Nam combat the pandemic ‘is the right thing to do’
|President Nguyen Xuan Phuc received US Ambassador to Viet Nam Marc Knapper. (Photo: VNA)|
Could you further elaborate on the prospect of bilateral cooperation in addressing war legacy and de-mining in the future?
Addressing issues related to war legacy is one of the foundational pillars of our two countries’ friendship and cooperation. Since 1993, the US has provided 166 million USD in assistance for the de-mining process. We are fully committed to continuing this.
One of the reasons for our success has been the cooperation with the Government of Viet Nam, particularly with the Ministry of Defense and the Vietnam National Mine Action Center (VNMAC). Without this cooperation, we would not be able to do anything we do.
Another reason for our success was our cooperation with other international organizations, specifically UNDP, as well as countries such as Japan, Korea, Norway, the United Kingdoms, Ireland. We fully intend to continue that cooperation with international organizations, countries and the government of Viet Nam.
A lot of our work has been in Quang Tri, but now we are moving into Quang Binh as well, so we are very excited about continuing this cooperation. In fact, I have just met with the Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee of Quang Tri to talk about our work there. So overall, we are very pleased.
Besides the priorities that you have set forth during your confirmation hearing in the US Senate, do you have any other areas of priorities that you want to promote in Viet Nam in order to widen and deepen US-Viet Nam relations?
I have to try and remember what I have said during my confirmation hearing. (laugh)
I think the special thing about the US-Viet Nam relationship is that our cooperation is so wide and across the full spectrum of bilateral cooperation, from security, trade, investment, climate change, health, people-to-people ties, energy, science and technology. We even have outer space cooperation.
Therefore, I am very excited during my time here in Viet Nam to grow our relationship in all those areas and more.
And of course, in light of all this great cooperation, we believe the time is right for us to upgrade our relationship, from a Comprehensive Partnership to a Strategic Partnership.
|"In light of this great cooperation, we believe the time is right for us to upgrade our relationship, from a Comprehensive Partnership to a Strategic Partnership".|
In the past two years, the US and Viet Nam have worked closely together in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. The US have provided Viet Nam with more than 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. Recently, the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s regional office has been opened in Ha Noi. Could you elaborate on the prospect of bilateral cooperation in this area?
We are very proud of our cooperation with Viet Nam. Of course, we have a long history of working together in this area, whether it was against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and now, the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reason we wanted to provide Viet Nam with vaccines, ventilators and other medical equipment was not because we expect something in return. We do it because it is the right thing to do, and we care about the people of Viet Nam.
How do you and your family feel about your appointment as the US Ambassador in Viet Nam?
Well, Viet Nam is not so strange for us, because we had lived here for 3 years. Therefore, we are very excited to learn the news that we will be coming back.
It is just wonderful to be here again. It is great to see many changes, that Viet Nam has developed much. Yet much has remained the same, especially the warm heart of the Vietnamese people, who welcomed us back.
So, we are very happy to be here again.
|The reason we wanted to provide Viet Nam with vaccines, ventilators and other medical equipment was not because we expect something in return. We do it because it is the right thing to do, and we care about the people of Viet Nam.|
Recently, the US released its new India-Pacific Strategy. Notably, the document also mentioned Viet Nam. Could the Ambassador share your opinion on this implication?
I think the content of the Indo-Pacific Strategy reflects the importance of the way we look at Viet Nam and the country’s role in the region.
If you look at the five aspects of this strategy, whether it is promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific, creating collaboration, promoting prosperity, strengthening security and enhancing resilience, we are already working on every one of these with Viet Nam.
So, the Indo-Pacific strategy both reflects things that we were doing with Viet Nam, but also the way ahead for us with Viet Nam, toward the future.
Thank you, Ambassador!