O’Brien meets with Vietnamese government leaders in Hanoi

The two sides vow to expand US-Vietnam military engagement and a more secure Indo-Pacific.

White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has met with a number of high-ranking Vietnamese officials in a two-day Vietnam visit commencing Friday to “discuss future expansion of economic and security relationship.”

O’Brien, Vietnam ministers, prime minister, Foreign minister, Indo-Pacific  US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Photo: VGP

On Saturday, O’Brien held talks with Minister of Public Security To Lam, Minister of Defense Ngo Xuan Lich, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh before paying a courtesy visit to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

In the meeting with To Lam, the two officials discussed a wide range of security issues regarding transnational crimes.

O’Brien and Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich talked about the strong cooperation on war legacy issues, which has paved the way for stronger bilateral ties, expanded US-Vietnam military engagement, and a safer secure Indo-Pacific.

O’Brien, Vietnam ministers, prime minister, Foreign minister, Indo-Pacific US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and Vietnam's Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh. Photo: VOV 

After meeting with Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, O’Brien said “I was pleased to meet with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations and discuss future expansion of our economic and security relationship to support a free, prosperous, and secure Vietnam.”

Discussions with major Vietnamese government leaders have covered several topics namely security, war legacy, trade, respect to sovereignty and political regimes, common regional challenges.

In talks with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, war legacy was stressed with the appreciation of the newly-ratified credit worth US$20 million for dioxin cleanup of Bien Hoa airbase which was formally military base of American troop. In addition, they touched support to dioxin/Agent Orange victims, unexploded ordnance (UXO), and searching for persons who went missing in action.

For his part, Mr. Phuc said Vietnam has set trade the central part for the bilateral ties, affirming to facilitate US firms in their operations in Vietnam.

O’Brien highly appreciated Vietnam’s increasing imports with big contracts in energy, oil and gas, industry, airplane, and IT.

In mid-November, O’Brien attended the virtual 8th ASEAN-US Summit in which he highly appreciated Vietnam’s role in “promoting the ASEAN Centrality” amid “unprecedented challenges” caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and affirmed that ASEAN remains central in the US free and open Indo-Pacific.

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