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Vietnam Today

Obama wraps up visit

Released at: 13:28, 25/05/2016

Obama wraps up visit


Joint statement released as President jets out to Japan for G7 Summit.

by Ha Nguyen

President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Vietnam ends today, with both sides releasing a joint statement called for continued economic and political cooperation.

In the joint statement the US and Vietnam reaffirmed their commitments to seeking the early ratification and full implementation of the TPP, including commitments on investment, business facilitation and development, intellectual property, textiles, services, labor, and the environment.

Notably, the US pledged to support Vietnam through robust technical assistance and capacity building programs to effectively implement and meet the high standards of the agreement.

The US welcomed the Vietnamese government’s approval of the Peace Corps teaching English in Vietnam and both sides hailed the establishment of Fulbright University Vietnam, which will be open for schooling in the fall. “Both sides welcome the bilateral arrangement granting one-year, multiple-entry visas for short-term business and tourism travelers from both countries,” the statement went on.

Regarding regional and global challenges, Vietnam and the US reaffirmed their shared commitment to the peaceful resolution of territorial and maritime disputes, including full respect for diplomatic and legal processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force in accordance with the UN Charter and international laws, including UNCLOS 1982.

“Both countries expressed serious concerns over recent developments in the East Sea that have caused tensions, eroded trust and threatened peace, security, and stability,” the statement stressed. “Both countries recognized the imperative of upholding the freedom of navigation and overflight and unimpeded lawful commerce in the East Sea, called for non-militarization and self-restraint in addressing disputes, reaffirmed shared commitments under the Sunnylands Declaration, and committed to working closely with other ASEAN partners in implementing this Declaration.”

Commenting on this point, Emeritus Professor Carlyle A. Thayer from the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy said he believes that the US and Vietnam have a growing convergence of strategic interests in countering Chinese assertiveness in the East Sea. “Both agree that maritime disputes should be settled peacefully on the basis on international law without the threat or use of force,” he said. “Both will find common cause when China rejects the finding of the Arbitral Tribunal in the case brought against China by the Philippines.”

In human rights and legal reforms, both countries pledged to continue supporting the promotion and protection of human rights in conformity with their own constitutions and respective international commitments. “The US welcomed Vietnam’s ongoing efforts in improving its legal system and undertaking legal reform in order to better guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms for everyone in accordance with the 2013 Constitution,” according to the joint statement.

In exchange, Vietnam informed the US of its plan to revise, amend, and draft laws, including the Law on Religion and Belief, the Law on Association, the Amended Law on Legal Aid, the Amended Law on Legal Record, and Law on the Promulgation of Administrative Decisions.

President Obama yesterday visited Ho Chi Minh City’s Jade Pagoda in District 1 and held events highlighting the importance of business and entrepreneurship and a town hall with Southeast Asian youth.

At Dreamplex - a modern co-working space in the city - President Obama reiterated that a leading global venture capital firm called 500 Startups has just launched a $10 million fund in city. “Next month at our Global Entrepreneurship Summit - something that I’ve been hosting now for several years - I will welcome eight Vietnamese entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley, so that they can learn from some of the best entrepreneurs and startups and venture capitalists in the world,” he told the young Vietnamese entrepreneurs.

He now heads to Japan to attend the G7 Summit. President Obama is the third consecutive US president to visit Vietnam, following Bill Clinton in 2000 and George W. Bush in 2006.

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