Former Secretary of the Party Central Committee and former Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan told local media the relationship between Vietnam-US.
■ The official visit to the US by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong is considered a significant moment, with the two countries celebrating the 20th anniversary of normalized diplomatic relations. What factors have contributed to the development of relations?
Over the past 20 years relations between Vietnam and the US have seen outstanding development. Economically, two-way trade has increased from about $700 million to nearly $40 billion. The US has become our largest export market while US investment in Vietnam now ranks 6th or 7th with total capital of $10 billion.
Politically, the two countries have established a comprehensive partnership. The Prime Minister, the President and the Chairman of the National Assembly have paid official visits to the US and President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush have visited Vietnam. The two sides have also formed many dialogue mechanisms on politics, economics, security and defense, and human rights. Vietnam and the US also cooperate in many multilateral forums, such as the UN, ASEAN, ADMM +, and APEC.
Regarding culture and education, there are now about 15,000 Vietnamese students studying in the US while cooperation in the fields of culture and society has also been developing strongly. Not to mention the long-standing cooperation on humanitarian issues such as the US’s missing in action (MIA) and cleaning up Agent Orange.
Indeed, 20 years ago no one could have imagined that collaboration between two “former enemies” could so rapidly and comprehensively develop. And no one could have believed that one day our Party General Secretary would visit the US.
I think that the development is based on the common interests of both countries. For Vietnam, the US is the leading world power, so cooperation is beneficial for the development of our country. For the US, meanwhile, Vietnam is attracting many foreign investors and playing an important role in Southeast Asia and the Asia Pacific. Cooperation with Vietnam will therefore bring many economic benefits to the US.
■ Besides the fine development of relations, differences still exist between the two countries. What differences have been resolved and what still needs to be resolved?
It is understandable that the two countries have many differences, especially in size, culture, level of development, and level of influence to world. However, these differences are not obstacles because many other countries have similar differences but still work closely together, even forming strategic partnerships. The important thing is to appreciate the great benefits for the two countries.
■ What do Vietnam’s enterprises need to do to take advantage of the relationship and overcome the challenges ahead?
To seize new opportunities Vietnamese enterprises need to have a spirit of independence and autonomy and understand what is going on in the world, in the region, and in Vietnam-US relations. Moreover, they need to understand agreements, especially the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and positively and proactively prepare to take advantage of every opportunity while predicting and dealing with the challenges.
- Vu Khoan