New Building, Office of Government
PRIME MINISTER CHÍNH: (As interpreted.) Madam Vice President Kamala Harris, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to Vietnam for the first time. Once again, congratulations to you upon becoming the first female Vice President of the United States of America. This is truly a model for women all over the world, including for Vietnam.
This visit is all the more significant against the grim backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic in the world and in Southeast Asia and in Vietnam.
Vietnam perseveres with the foreign policy line of independence, self-reliance, multilateralization, and diversification of international relations to be a good friend, partner of the international community.
We attach great importance to our relations with the U.S., one of our most important partners. Vietnam wishes to continue developing the Comprehensive Partnership and add substance, effectiveness with a long-term view towards stability to this relationship on the basis of respecting each other’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political system in the interest of mutual benefit.
The leaders and people of Vietnam are deeply grateful to President Biden, to Madam Vice President, yourself, and the people of America for donating such a vast quantity of vaccine and medical hardware to Vietnam in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
The U.S. support is extremely timely and invaluable as the pandemic developed in complex ways in the South Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City.
Our relations is developing towards greater substance, confidence, and effectiveness. And I believe that your visit is truly a boon to peace, stability, cooperation, and greater trust between our two countries.
And a good relationship between our two countries will contribute surely to peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the region and the world.
I would like to introduce to you — we have here the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam, the Minister — Chairman of the Office of Government, the Minister of Health, the Vice Minister of Defense, and the Vice Minister of Finance. There’s also the Minister of Planning Investment, Minister of Industry and Trade, Vice Minister of Public Security.
I would like to hear your perspective, Madam Vice President.
VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: Thank you, Prime Minister. It is an honor to be with you. And thank you for the warm welcome.
I’m here today because the Biden-Harris administration is committed to our partnerships in this region — in the Indo- Pacific region, in Southeast Asia, and here in Vietnam.
These partnerships are of critical importance to us, as they directly affect the prosperity and the security of the American people.
It has been 26 years since we have established diplomatic relations with Vietnam. The trajectory of our relationship since then has been remarkable. Over the past decades, we have made significant progress and now cooperate on many areas that affect people’s lives. And let me start with one key announcement which can make a difference.
I’m delighted to announce that the United States is donating an additional 1 million Pfizer vaccines to Vietnam. And this will build on our previous donations. And these vaccines will start arriving within the next 24 hours to Vietnam.
This is on top of what has been and will continue to be an enduring relationship of cooperation, as evidenced by our economic ties that have grown to $90 billion in two-way trade; our people-to-people ties, which have deepened with nearly three- — 30,000 Vietnamese students having studied in the United States; and being partners on pandemic preparedness, the climate crisis, and addressing shared legacies of war and more.
Yesterday, I laid out our vision — the United States vision — for the Indo-Pacific region. And now we are doing the work of delivering results based on our shared vision.
Throughout my meetings here in Hanoi, we will be discussing steps we can take further to address traditional challenges and the ones of the future.
I know the Vietnamese people are facing a difficult time right now with COVID-19. We also know that early in the pandemic, Vietnam was generous in supporting the United States when we were in a time of need, with over 250,000 PPEs and masks being delivered to our country when we needed them. So we are proud to reciprocate in a time of need, most recently with these 1 million Pfizer vaccines.
And another issue that is at the forefront of the United States is our economic engagement. Twenty-six years ago, our economic relationship was nearly non-existent. Now, Vietnam is one of our top 10 trading partners in the world, and its economy is critical to the supply chains that we rely on. That is a big area of focus for us here in Southeast Asia and, in particular, in Vietnam.
Lastly, our security relationship. It has grown rapidly in recent years, and it is very important to our country. Our two countries share a common vision for the future of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
We are grateful for Vietnam’s constructive leadership in upholding freedom of the seas. And we will continue to work with you to push back against threats to the rule-based international order.
So, let me conclude by saying that I believe deeply in the strength and the enduring and lasting relationship between the United States and Vietnam, and the strength of the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership. My visit here to Vietnam today is to strengthen that relationship and that partnership. And we have, again, an enduring commitment to this partnership, and to this region, and to our work together.
Thank you for the warm welcome.