[As unrestrained foreign investment grows in formerly socialist countries, the class struggle has intensified and taken many forms.-ed]
Vietnam-US relations grow fast, says Vietnamese diplomat
Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Le Cong Phung made the remark in an interview granted to Washington-based Vietnamese reporters on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the normalisation of the two countries’ diplomatic relations (July 12).
While assessing the bilateral ties over the past 15 years, Phụng said that these are special relations.
“The two countries experienced a period of ups and downs, especially the war heritages, and it is unimaginable that the bilateral ties have developed so well,” Phung said.
The Ambassador noted that the US leaders are all determined to boost ties with Vietnam, referring to Vietnam policies of the two former administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and the current administration of Barack Obama.
According to the Vietnamese diplomat, Vietnam-US ties have recorded fast developments over the past 15 years in all fields, especially in economics, trade, investment, science-technology and education.
Regarding to economic and commercial ties, Phung said that the two countries’ trade turnover climbed from some 600 million USD in 2000 when the two signed a bilateral trade agreement to 1.2 billion USD in 2001 and jumped up to 15 billion USD in 2009.
The US provided Vietnam with its active supports in the country’s bid to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO), agreed to grant Vietnam the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status and is now considering to apply its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) on Vietnam, said Phung.
Last year, despite negative impacts from the world financial crisis, the US was still one of the largest foreign investors in Vietnam .
In terms of education, there are some 13,000 Vietnamese students in the US , Phung said, adding that Vietnam is going on with its policy to create conditions for Vietnamese undergraduates and postgraduates to go to the US for study.
As for cooperation in security and national defence, Phụng reckoned that this is a sensitive issue.
However, he said, “with Vietnamese leaders’ and people’s determination to leave the past behind and look forwards to the future as well as efforts made by both sides”, the cooperation in the field has achieved positive results.
Vietnam and the US had agreed to set up a strategic dialogue mechanism on security and national defence and so far three such dialogues have been made.
“ Vietnam is one of the few Southeast Asian countries securing the mechanism with the US ,” Phung said. He added that the cooperation in the field will help boost bilateral ties in politics, economics and investment, contributing to enhancing the mutual understandings.
While mentioning differences in several fields between the two countries, Phung reckoned that they are not obstacles and the two sides can narrow and remove them by discussions.
Regarding to nearly 2 million Vietnamese expatriates in the US , the Ambassador said that this is the largest Vietnamese community overseas and they are trying to maintain the Vietnamese cultural identity.
“In general, the majority of them always bear their homeland in mind. They are among pioneers in the normalisation of the ties between the two countries as well as support of the national construction and development cause. Only a few people have after historic events still showed different viewpoints, even hostility, and acted against their nation,” Phung said.