The United States attends National Dialogues, often referred to as just simply dialogues, with foreign nations to discuss the terms of foreign relations between the two countries. Normally, these dialogues happen annually as a one-on-one between the United States and the other country, however, the most recent dialogues have been postponed one year due to COVID-19. The overarching purpose of these dialogues are to assess the past of the countries’ relationship, and evaluate and organize the future of the relationship and how they can improve moving forward. On September 12th, 2022, the Vietnam-United States Defense Policy Dialogue was held in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Despite conflicts in the past, the United States and Vietnam have participated in friendly bilateral relations since 1995, about 20 years after the Vietnam war. These years have proven beneficial for both countries, and the relationship has continued to grow and strengthen as both countries strive to work together. The mutual respect has stimulated “a flourishing partnership that spans [to] political, economic, security, and people-to-people '' realms, advancing the relationship and creating valuable ties for both sides. This cooperation has led to a new history of friendship and the ability to work together to meet similar goals.
The United States and Vietnam have been working together since the war to try and heal the wounds made, and have been putting continuous effort into repairing what was broken. Vietnam is fully committed to finding and returning any remaining missing Americans who are still in Vietnam from so long ago, and have programs and research dedicated to this cause, in an effort to bring those soldiers home safely to their families after so long. Recovery teams and investigations are only part of the help and dedication that Vietnam has and is continuing to give to the United States into moving on from war and moving forward as possible allies. Their mutual signing of a “letter of agreement to increase cooperation on law enforcement and the justice sector” along with the annual dialogues each year are examples of how the relationship between the two countries continues to grow.
Although the war is long over, Vietnam still experiences the aftermath of war, and is still contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXO) throughout the country. The United States has donated millions to the cause of clearing all remnants and dangers created by any UXO left after the war, and has continued to aid in Vietnam’s well-being for many years. A program to detoxify the Danang International Airport began in 2017, and is coupled with the 2019 program at the Bien Hoa Air Base, which is set to continue for 10 years, the United States is set to continue the process of aiding Vietnam and their people for the foreseeable future. Vietnamese students are eagerly welcomed into United States Universities and Colleges, along with the United States opening the Fulbright University Vietnam, a very new American styled school in Vietnam. The United States is committed to aiding in Vietnam's economic, humanitarian, environmental and security well-being. With investments in labor laws, government, environmental solutions and the overall independence of Vietnam, the United States has made itself a true friend to the Vietnamese.
United States - Vietnam Dialogue
Co-chairing the Vietnam-United States Defense Policy Dialogue were Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Ely Ratern and Vietnam Deputy Defense Minister Senior Lieutenant General Goang Xuan Chien in Hanoi Vietnam. The meeting between the two countries concerned an array of topics, beginning with the congratulations and appreciations of the work that has been done for the decontamination of the Bien Hoa Air Base so far, along with programs in Vietnam to aid people with disabilities due to exposure to Agent Orange or other toxins left after the war, and the continued search for missing soldiers. These accomplishments deserved the applause and recognition that they received. Looking outside the two countries, successes in peacekeeping operations involving the UN, disaster relief systems and programs, and other humanitarian aid was also addressed and recognized. Progress and achievement in areas of environmental issues and health were addressed as acknowledgments from past dialogues.
Future plans were established, ensuring further work in areas such as military medicine, the building of the Vietnam Coast Guard, and other topics previously mentioned. Agreements to continue consulting and meeting about rising political issues, and striving for peace and stability in the area were also made during the annual dialogue. During the discussions, emphasis on cooperation and combined effort in the realms of defense trade, information sharing, maritime and cyber security, and military medicine were addressed and acknowledged in need of improvement and continued advancement.
In addition, a delegation from the United States Department of Defense was invited to the International Defense Exhibition at the end of this year, showing diplomacy and promising security and comfort during their stay, while also inviting them to show and introduce their own products at the event. This friendly invitation alludes to the further relationship that the United States has to look forward to with Vietnam, and the mutual benefits that might come of a more official relationship between the two countries.