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Meets with Staff and Families of Embassy Hanoi

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Hanoi, Vietnam
July 11, 2012

Thank you so much, David. Well, that was a long time ago. But who knows where the people out here on this meet and greet line will be in 16 years, David, and I want to thank you for your tireless, dedicated service to our country and all that you’re doing to improve and broaden and deepen our relations with Vietnam and the people of Vietnam.

I remember talking with you last October about how excited you were to be coming to Vietnam, and you put together that video greeting even before you arrived, which reached 20 million Vietnamese viewers. And I know you’re still trying to figure out how you’re going to reach the other 67 million at least. (Laughter.)

But it is exciting to be here on my third visit as Secretary of State. And the reason I keep coming back is because we think that there is an enormous amount of potential in our relationship. And I want to be sure we’re doing everything we can to explore how far we can go. Just yesterday, I think we’ve demonstrated once again we’ve reached a level of engagement that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago. We have two-way trade reaching $22 billion, increasing every year, working on everything from HIV/AIDS to disaster relief to trafficking in persons to recovering the remains of our soldiers. And our military-to-military ties, as evidenced by Secretary Panetta’s very successful visit, are also intensifying. We are working toward a strategic partnership agreement that will give us a framework to deepen and broaden this engagement.
But none of it would be possible without the energy and enthusiasm and the expertise of this team and your colleagues throughout Vietnam. When you launch programs that show farmers how to get more productivity out of their land, you’re helping them not only feed their families but earn more money and continue to rise into the middle class. When you connect Vietnamese companies with American investments, you’re helping to create jobs back home and produce economic growth for both countries. When you talk to students about opportunities to study abroad, you’re helping build bridges between our people, and with very tangible results, because I can remember back in the Clinton Administration, which is when I first met you all those years ago in Tokyo, just 800 Vietnamese were studying in the United States. Today 15,000 are, and we would like to double, triple, quadruple that number in the years ahead.

Now, look, I understand your work is not always easy. There are issues of government control and censorship that you have to work through and over and around every single day. It makes your jobs and your lives more difficult. We raise these issues and concerns in every single meeting that we have with Vietnamese officials and we will continue to raise them, because we happen to believe it’s not only part of American values, it’s universal values. The Declaration of Universal Human Rights is not just for Americans or Westerners. It’s for Asians and Vietnamese and everyone else. So we make the argument that as economic progress continues the opening of political expression and political space, the protection and respect for human rights is absolutely essential.

And I know that where you work has an impact on how you work. Being separated from each other can make it harder to operate as a team, and we’re going to keep working to finalize agreements for a new embassy compound. That is something we’ve been focused on and hopefully someday soon people will be able to work in one state-of-the-art location.

I want to say a special word of thanks to our locally employed staff. Ambassadors come and go, Secretaries come and go, but the locally employed staff here in Vietnam, like those around the world, are really the memory bank and the experience base for everything that we do, and we are very grateful that you’re part of this team.

So again, let me thank you and let me thank you especially for having to organize and implement three separate trips from me, the Secretary of Defense, and a continuous stream of high-level officials. I know it’s always extra work when that occurs, but we are deeply grateful, because we want to show at a high and visible level the importance we place on this relationship. So again, thank you very much, and let me shake some hands. Thank you, David. (Applause.)

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Remarks at American Chamber of Commerce Reception and Commercial Signings

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Hilton Opera Hotel
Hanoi, Vietnam
July 10, 2012

Well, I am delighted to be here with all of you. It’s great being in Hanoi, a pretty cool place, I think – (laughter) – and to be part of this event, which furthers our important relationships. And thank you very much for the award. I am delighted that I had a chance to receive it in front of such a distinguished audience, and I think it is a great reminder of how important it is that we have the public and the private sector working together on behalf of greater prosperity and progress and opportunity for all of us.

I was delighted to visit with Chamber representatives all over the world at our Global Business Conference in Washington this year, and I’d like to thank Hank Tomlinson for your leadership here in Vietnam. I want to thank Fred Burke for your very kind words and the presentation of the award. I want to thank Madam Nga for being here with us and, of course, recognize our excellent Ambassador David Shear, who has a great team working on behalf of American interests and American businesses.

We are very committed to this relationship between the United States and Vietnam, just as we are to the reenergizing of America’s relationship throughout the Asia Pacific. It’s one of the top priorities of the Obama Administration. The United States is, after all, an enduring Pacific power with Pacific interests, and we intend to be a presence in the Pacific region for the foreseeable future.

Now, a lot has been written about the so-called pivot to Asia. But what hasn’t, perhaps, received enough attention is the breadth of our engagement. It’s not just about security, although that is important. As I explained in a speech I delivered in Mongolia yesterday, it’s also about standing up for democracy and human rights, for the rule of law, for economic ties, boosting trade, and as the Secretary of State, advocating for American businesses.

If we look around this room, or you look at the list of companies represented here, there is no doubt that American business is eager to invest more in Asia. Companies are taking advantage of an improving business climate and setting up shop to serve the needs of Asia’s growing middle class. And part of my job, part of our job in government, is to help open doors for you. At the State Department, we have mounted a serious effort to place economics at the center of American foreign policy. We call it economic statecraft, using diplomacy and tools, like the Export-Import Bank, to advance and promote American economic interests and to harness the powers of the market to advance our strategic goals. And we are particularly focused on developing a global economic order that is open, free, transparent, and fair. So we’re working with partners, both new and longstanding, to establish common rules of the road, so to speak, so everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive.

Now, Vietnam is an excellent case in point for how we can grow together rather than at each other’s expense. When my husband reestablished diplomatic relations in 1995, there was very little American investment in Vietnam. Today, we are the seventh largest foreign investor, and our annual bilateral trade has grown to almost $22 billion. And as we just heard, when my husband, my daughter, and I came to Vietnam in the year 2000, we saw the changes that were happening. There was a great emphasis on improving and advancing economic relations between our countries, and agreements were signed.

So we saw progress then, but in my visit three times as Secretary of State, I’ve already seen in those last three years how our trade partnership has expanded more than 40 percent. The United States is now Vietnam’s largest market for exports, and we are very proud of that. And American companies are poised to help Vietnam take on many of its current challenges, as we just saw with the two signings involving General Electric and the provision of materials and products that will enhance Vietnam’s energy security and independence.

I met with the Prime Minister earlier today, where several members of the U.S. ASEAN business delegation had an opportunity to sit down with him and discuss how there can be steps taken for greater American investment. Now, when we think about investment or we think about deals like we just saw with GE, we’ve got to remember it’s really about people. GE will supply the critical energy that Vietnam needs to fuel its own economic development, which will give greater energy reliability and efficiency to the people of Vietnam. At the same time, these deals translate into jobs for workers at GE’s steam turbine plant in Schenectady, New York and at other sites around the United States. This is a win-win.

We also have companies based in Vietnam, like Imex Pan Pacific and IFB Holdings, that are introducing well known American brands to Asian markets. They’re bringing Gap clothing and Subway sandwiches to cities and towns across Vietnam. That’s good for American companies; it’s good for communities to attract new investments; it’s good for new businesses and the local jobs that go with them. But there is still so much untapped potential. And I told both the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister that we think there is much more that the Government of Vietnam can do to unleash the full power of the private sector.

Domestic and international businesses alike continue to face rules that restrict their activities, and that, in turn, deters investment and slows growth. So we are encouraging the Government of Vietnam to keep on the path of economic and administrative reform to open its markets to greater private investment. And through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we’re working with Vietnam and seven other nations to lower trade barriers throughout the region, as we ensure the highest standards for labor, environmental, and intellectual property protections. Vietnam was an early entrant to the TPP, and we’re hoping we can finalize the agreement this year. And the economic analysis is that of all the countries that will be participating – Australia, Canada, Mexico, others – of all the countries participating in the TPP, Vietnam stands to benefit the most. So we’re hoping to really see this agreement finalized and then watch it take off.

Now, I don’t have to tell you that attracting more foreign business takes more than lowering trade barriers; it also requires an educated workforce prepared to compete for 21st century jobs. So the United States is also partnering with educational institutions and a range of companies and NGOs to help develop a very strong, skilled workforce to meet the growing demand here in Vietnam. For example, two years ago, Intel opened a billion-dollar facility in Ho Chi Minh City that will eventually employ thousands of workers to test the quality of its computer chips. Intel is deeply invested in Vietnam, and they recognize that to continue growing, they need to help improve the engineering skills of their workforce. So they teamed up with Vietnamese technical schools, USAID, and Arizona State University to form a new alliance that trains engineering faculty in practical, project-based instruction techniques.

And Intel has just introduced a new piece of this effort, a scholarship program specifically designed to bridge the gender gap by bringing more women into engineering programs, and I just met the first scholarship recipient, the first of several hundred women who will benefit from this program over the next five years, and I am very excited about what this means for Vietnam and for women in engineering. This reflects a larger effort launched by APEC last year in San Francisco to expand women’s economic participation across the Asia Pacific, especially in science, technology, engineering, and math. So this scholarship program is exactly what we need. And I’ve been talking all day, so excuse me. (Laughter.)

So we’ve come a long way in a short period of time, and that is – excuse me – what economic statecraft is all about. So we want to hear from all of you about what more we can do together. And at the risk of coughing any longer, I just want to say thank you, and let’s get to work. (Laughter and applause.)

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Remarks at Fulbright 20th Anniversary Event

Remarks

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Foreign Trade University
Hanoi, Vietnam
July 10, 2012

Thank you so much. Well, I’m glad to have this opportunity to be here two years after my husband was here. (Laughter.) And I think, as Thao says, the Clintons and Vietnam have a very close relationship that I hope continues for many, many years into the future. And to be here at this great university, I really appreciate so much, Mr. President, President Hoang Van Chau, thank you so much for you and your leadership, and thanks to all of the students and the Fulbright alumni who are here as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Vietnam’s Fulbright Program.

I think it is easy when someone like me comes to visit or my husband or Secretary Leon Panetta, who was just here, to focus on the high officials who come to visit. But really, although that’s what draws the headlines, what is as important, if not more important, are the daily contacts between our people, so many Vietnamese and so many American people who get to know one another, who have a chance to work together or study together or even live together creating those bonds that really do bring us closer together. So I’m delighted to be here representing my country and the many, many millions of Americans who have a very positive feeling about Vietnam and who care deeply about the future of this country, and in particular, the future of young people like yourselves.

One of the ways we show that is by supporting academic study abroad. The United States has a long history of doing that, because we think it helps Americans to visit other countries to learn and form lasting bonds, and we want people from other countries to do the same in the United States. And it’s no exaggeration to say that programs like the Fulbright Program play a crucial role in America’s foreign policy. J. William Fulbright was a very well known, famous American senator in his time, and he believed so strongly that what was most important was breaking down the walls of misunderstanding and mistrust. Not that we will agree on everything, because no two people, let alone two nations, agree on everything, but that we will see each other as fellow human beings on a common journey, a journey that is filled with all of the possibilities that are available to people around the world. And it’s no accident that we have been focused on strengthening our people-to-people engagement here in Vietnam and throughout Asia as a way of building more and more of those relationships.

So over the past two decades, the Fulbright program has helped to deepen the ties between our nations and it has, as we have just heard, literally transformed the lives of over 8,000 American and Vietnamese students, scholars, educators, and business people. And it has, indeed, already produced some remarkable leaders, and I know it will continue to produce remarkable leaders. Fulbright alumni are already major figures in Vietnamese policies – deputy prime ministers, a foreign minister – Minh, who I just met with, is a Fulbright alum. And others have gone on to make important contributions in science, in business, in the arts, and certainly in academia.

Now, some of the most accomplished alumni from all our scholarship programs are here with us today, and their remarkable stories show what is possible when you help talented young people get the skills and connections they need to succeed. Now, I could literally tell you hundreds of stories, but let me just talk about one example.

Do Minh Thuy, where is Do? Is Do Minh Thuy here? Ah, there you are, Do. Well, Do used her Fulbright scholarship to study journalism at Indiana University. And after graduating, she decided that her fellow journalists in Vietnam deserved the chance to have access to the kinds of skills and experiences she had. So she recruited some friends that she’d met in Indiana to help her create a program for training and mentoring young journalists. And today, her team has run workshops with over 2,300 participants in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. So one person, one scholarship has that kind of ripple effect in just one area of Vietnamese life.

Dam Bich Thuy, is Dam Bich Thuy here? Yes. Another Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania is now one of the most prominent women in finance in Southeast Asia. As vice chairwoman at ANZ Bank, she leads over 10,000 employees, and she has said that studying abroad helped her, and I quote, “to approach the world and people from other cultures with a more balanced, less biased view while maintaining my originality.” That’s a beautiful way of saying that.

And I think that these two women and so many of you are representative of the professionals and scholars who have studied in the United States and then taken that experience and put it to work back home. And even more young people are on the track to doing the same thing. Today, there are more than 15,000 Vietnamese students in the United States, and I believe this generation of students and scholars is well positioned to make great contributions to Vietnam’s future. And it won’t be just because of their education and their skill, it will be because of the relationship and perspective that they forge and bring home with them. And they then will be really at the foundation of creating new opportunities, new ways of thinking, innovation, entrepreneurship that will help so many other Vietnamese realize their own dreams.

I like to say that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. There are smart, hardworking people all over Vietnam, in fact all over the world, who may not get the opportunity that some of you have had. Therefore, it’s incumbent upon all of us to keep opening those doors of opportunity, because walking through it may be a young man or young woman who becomes a medical researcher and discovers a cure for a terrible disease, becomes an entrepreneur and creates a product that Vietnam exports all over the world and by doing so creates thousands of jobs, becomes a professor who then creates the next and the next and the next generation of those who contribute.

So we want to do more, and the United States is looking to do more to increase the number of education exchanges. I just met with the Foreign Minister, himself a Fulbrighter, to talk about what more we could do to get even more young Vietnamese a chance to study, and we’ll be exploring that and looking for ways to put that into action. But then I invite you to please give us your ideas about what more we can do working with you, working with the government, working with civil society, working with business in Vietnam to create more of these connections. Our ambassador, Ambassador David Shear is here, and if you have ideas, please let our Embassy know.

Because one of the things I most admire about what Vietnam has accomplished in the last 20 years is, among other things, the incredible resilience and dedication to improving lives and society, the role that women are playing in Vietnam – I go to many countries, and that is not yet the case, but it’s happening right here in Vietnam, women and men together building the new Vietnam – the emphasis on education which is the passport to a better future, and constantly opening doors for higher and higher levels of educational attainment. This is the best way that I think Vietnam can prepare itself.

People often ask me: What can an individual, what can a nation do? Well, the world we live in is unpredictable. There is no way that we will know everything that will happen in the future. But the best insurance policy is a good education at a great university like the Foreign Trade University or one of the others here in Vietnam or abroad. So we want, working with you and talking with the leaders of educational institutions as well as your government and others in society, to figure out how we can be a better partner when it comes to opening those doors for Vietnamese young people.

So I wish all of you the very best as you continue your own careers and professions. I hope that you stay in touch with those who you met and worked with and studied with in the United States. I am inspired by what you have accomplished in such a short period of time, and I look forward to continuing this partnership between our countries. It’s one that I think can be, as I have said before, a model and one that can become better and better because we work at it together. It’s not the United States or Vietnam, it is us working together to create that model relationship and to provide the opportunities for both of our people to live up to their own God-given potential. Thank you all very much. (Applause.)

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Remarks With Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Remarks following signing ceremonies
Hanoi, Vietnam
October 30, 2010

PARTICIPANT: Ladies and gentlemen, the first signing ceremony with the agreement between the Ministry of (inaudible) and the State Department of the United States of America. (Inaudible.) And may I invite the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam Pham Gia Khiem and Secretary of State of America Madam Hillary Clinton to take to the stage and to witness the signing of the agreement.

(The agreement was signed.) (Applause.)

We invite (inaudible) from Vietnam Airlines and Mr. Seborn (ph) from Boeing to take the stage and may I invite (inaudible) from the Ministry of Information and Communication and Mr. Markel (ph) from Microsoft to take to the stage. And now with the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem and Secretary Clinton, we are witnessing the signing of the agreement for the Boeing 787-9 between Vietnam Airlines and Boeing. (Applause.) For the next signing, may I also invite Minister Le Doan Hop, Minister of Information and Communication of Vietnam. With the signing of these agreements, we are looking at an increase of trade between our country and (inaudible). (Applause.) Thank you very much and now the signing ceremony ended. We now invite Madam (inaudible) to begin the press conference. Thank you very much.

MODERATOR: (In Vietnamese.)

FOREIGN MINISTER KHIEM: (In Vietnamese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Foreign Minister. It is a pleasure to be back in Hanoi again and to have the honor of witnessing the completion of the major agreement between our nations. Boeing and Microsoft are two of America’s great companies and the partnerships you have cemented today will provide tangible benefits both to Vietnamese and to Americans.

I’m also very pleased to see the agreement regarding the United Nations Convention Against Torture signed. This convention represents a decades-long commitment by the international community to respect human rights and dignity. The United States is honored to support the people of Vietnam as they reaffirm their commitment to this cause by ratifying this convention.

The agreement is a direct result of the dialogue on human rights between our two countries. Further proof that discussions of even difficult issues can produces real results.

As some of you know, this is my second visit to Hanoi this year and it is a sign of the importance that the United States places on our relationship with Vietnam, with Southeast Asia and with the entire Asia Pacific region. This week marks the first time ever that the United States has participated in an East Asia summit and I would like to thank Prime Minister Dung for inviting me to be a guest of the chair at this gathering. President Obama is looking forward to joining the East Asia Summit next year in Indonesia.

The United States is committed to engaging with the East Asia Summit over the long term, because we believe it can and should become a key forum for political and security issues in the Asia Pacific. The EAS also provides and opportunity to consult directly with leaders from across the region. I had a number of productive meetings last night and today with my counterparts and other leaders from South Korea, Russia, China, India, Vietnam, and others. I’d like to give a brief readout from my discussions both with the prime minister and the foreign minister.

It is clear that our countries have reached a level of cooperation that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. We have moved beyond a painful past and built a relationship that is built on mutual respect, friendship, and a common interest in a stable, secure, and prosperous Asia Pacific region. In our discussions, we reaffirmed our shared interest in working toward a strategic partnership and we covered a wide range of other issues. We talked about the importance of our growing cooperation on maritime security, search and rescue operations, and disaster relief.

This year’s typhoons have been particularly devastating for the Vietnamese people, making our joint efforts in this area more urgent than ever. And like all friends of Vietnam, we were saddened by the tragic loss of life in the recent floods here and I want to extend my sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones, homes, and businesses. As we cooperate more closely on disaster relief, we are broadening our security exchanges to include three annual dialogues that will strengthen our military to military ties and result in concrete benefits for the Vietnamese people.

We also had an excellent meeting this morning on the Lower Mekong Initiative and Vietnam is a real leader in looking for ways we can cooperate to mitigate against the environmental damage that is occurring in the Lower Mekong Basin.

On trade, our two countries have already made great progress. Fifteen years ago, our bilateral trade was about $450 million. Last year it was more than $15 billion. And the foreign minister and the prime minister and I talked about how to expand this trade relationship, including through the Transpacific Partnership. The United States, Vietnam, and seven other countries finished a third round of negotiations on the TPP this month and we hope that Vietnam can conclude it in internal process and announce its status as a full member of the partnership soon.

In health, the United States has provided substantial funding for Vietnam’s efforts to strengthen its health system, and combat HIV/AIDS, Avian Flu, and emerging pandemic threats. Next year, we will start work on a $34 million project to remove the dioxin from the soil at Da Nang Airport, a legacy of the painful past we share, and a sign of the more hopeful future we are building together.

Climate change, as we head into negotiations in Cancun this November, we hope to work with Vietnam and other countries to build on the progress that we made in Copenhagen. In addition, at the meeting of the Lower Mekong Initiative, we discussed how to work together to adapt to the effects of a changing climate. And we had a very constructive discussion about the potential impact of building dams on the Lower Mekong. The United States has recommended a pause before major construction continues, and we will sponsor a study of this issue.

Now, although the partnership between our two countries is strong and getting stronger, as with all friends we have areas of disagreement. One of those areas concerns human rights. While the agreement we witnessed being signed today is certainly a step in the right direction, the United States remains concerned about the arrest and conviction of people for peaceful dissent, the tax on religious groups, the curbs on Internet freedom, including of bloggers. Vietnam has so much potential, and we believe that political reform and respect for human rights are an essential part of realizing that potential.

The last time I was here, in July, we celebrated 15 years of relations between Vietnam and the United States. This time we celebrate 1,000 years for Hanoi as the capital of Vietnam. And I want to extend my congratulations to the citizens of this beautiful city, and my best wishes to all of the people of Vietnam. I look forward to working with you, and with the people of Vietnam, to expand our work, our partnership, and our friendship in the years to come. Thank you so much.

(Applause.)

MODERATOR: (In Vietnamese.)

QUESTION: (In Vietnamese.)

FOREIGN MINISTER KHIEM: (In Vietnamese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, thank you, because we too believe that education is one of the most important parts of our relationship. And it is one where we have seen positive growth.

For the past three years, we have brought together Vietnamese and American academics, government leaders, private sector entrepreneurs to discuss how we can better collaborate in promoting education. During that time, the number of Vietnamese students studying in the United States has nearly tripled, rising to more than 13,000. And we are strongly supporting educational exchanges and academic collaboration, including through the Fulbright program and our English language program.

We also are committed to working with Vietnam as Vietnam reforms its education system, and fostering private U.S.-Vietnam education programs, including an American style university.

So, we think there is unlimited potential here. And in my two trips over the last four months I have had a number of young people tell me that they would love to study in the United States, they would love to learn English, and we want to help those young people achieve their goals.

MODERATOR: Thank you. (In Vietnamese.)

QUESTION: Hi, good afternoon. I am with NPR. China’s government has expressed some displeasure about the U.S. role in the Diaoyu or Senkaku Islands dispute, including your remarks with Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara. I am wondering. Given the situation, what can the U.S. do, if anything, to act as a mediator or a broker in this situation?

I am also wondering if Foreign Minister Yang had any reassurances or clarifications to offer, as its been reported, on China’s rare-earth exports policy? And also, does he have any suggestions of what China can do to break the impasse of North Korean nuclearization? Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, with respect to the Senkaku Islands, the United States has never taken a position on sovereignty, but we have made it very clear that the islands are part of our mutual treaty obligations, and the obligation to defend Japan. We have certainly encouraged both Japan and China to seek peaceful resolution of any disagreements that they have in this area or others. It is in all of our interest for China and Japan to have stable, peaceful relations. And we have recommended to both that the United States is more than willing to host a trilateral, where we would bring Japan and China and their foreign ministers together to discuss a range of issues.

On the rare-earth minerals matter, the foreign minister, Minister Yang, clarified that China has no intention of withholding these minerals from the market. He said that he wanted to make that very clear. Now, the fact is that they’re called rare-earth for a reason; they are rare. And the United States, along with other allies — Japan and Europe and elsewhere — are going to be looking for more resources and looking for more sources of these rare-earth minerals. So, while we’re pleased by the clarification we received from the Chinese Government, we still think that the world, as a whole, needs to find alternatives and to find new sources, which we will be pursuing.

And, finally, I spoke at length with both President Lee of South Korea, with my Japanese counterpart when I met with him in Honolulu, and with Minister Yang on North Korea. This is a matter of great concern to all of us, and we continue to urge the North Koreans to return to the negotiating table, to pursue what they began in 2005, which were a series of commitments to take irreversible steps for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. So we stay in very close touch with our Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and Russian counterparts to do what we can to try to move North Korea on to a more productive path.

MODERATOR: Thank you. (In Vietnamese.)

QUESTION: (In Vietnamese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, when President Obama came into office and I became Secretary of State, one of our highest priorities was to reaffirm our commitment to the Asia-Pacific region. The United States is uniquely situated in the world as both an Atlantic and a Pacific power. And we not only wanted to deepen our bilateral relations, as we are with Vietnam, and as we have with other countries in the region, but we wanted to participate more actively in the regional institutions like ASEAN.

So, one of the very first trips that I made — actually, the first trip I made as Secretary of State — was to East Asia, including going to the ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta, and committing that the United States would accede to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, so that we could be a participant in the activities of the ASEAN regional forum, and make a real commitment to the ASEAN nations organization.

We also believe that the East Asia Summit, where you bring other countries in addition to the core ASEAN countries together to discuss political and security matters, is a very important forum for the United States to be part of. I said earlier today at the East Asia Summit meeting with the leaders that where issues of a political, economic, and security consequence are being discussed in the region, the United States wants to be there.

We were very pleased that Vietnam, as the chair of ASEAN in 2010, has facilitated our participation, and invited us as a guest of the Chair. And we were delighted when we were offered the chance, along with Russia, to join. The United States has deep, lasting relationships in the Asia-Pacific, and we want to be a good partner, a good friend, a good neighbor. And I think one of the ways we can demonstrate that is by being an active participant in organizations like the East Asia Summit.

MODERATOR: Thank you. (In Vietnamese.)

QUESTION: Thank you. This is a question for Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Khiem.

You mentioned you raised human rights issues and these recent arrests with the foreign minister. I am just interested in what he told you, and how you accepted the response. And maybe the foreign minister can talk about that.

And also, an interesting part of the evolving U.S.-Vietnamese relationship is the civil nuclear cooperation agreement. I was interested in what the status is of those negotiations, and if the U.S. will allow Vietnam to produce its own nuclear fuel enriched uranium, an element of that agreement. And I was interested in where that stands. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we are (inaudible).

PHAM GIA KHIEM: (In Vietnamese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Human rights is an issue of great importance to the United States, and we regularly raise our concerns, as I did last evening with the Prime Minister, and again today with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. We not only raise this in general, but specifically with concerns regarding severe sentences for political activists, attacks on bloggers, restrictions on Internet freedom, and religious freedom, tightening control over research organizations and the media. We raise these at all levels, both here in Hanoi, and in Washington, including through our dialogue on human rights.

And as I said in my opening remarks, the signing of the Convention against Torture arose directly out of our dialogue on human rights. And I have been very reassured by the comment that the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister have made, that they want to engage with the United States on these issues, that they want to hear from us and our views on these matters. And we will continue doing so consistently and over time, as we make the case that Vietnam’s rise, which was so impressive in the economic arena, will become even more dramatic and sustainable as those economic gains are matched by improvements in political freedom and in human rights.

With respect to the status of the 123 negotiations, we concluded a memorandum of understanding on nuclear cooperation in March. And we are continuing our efforts to expand civil nuclear cooperation. We have not yet opened formal negotiations on the 123 agreement, but we look forward to doing so. In fact, President Obama’s invitation to the Prime Minister to attend the nuclear security summit in Washington last April was one indication of the importance we attach to our cooperation with Vietnam in this area, and we look forward to making progress on it.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. (In Vietnamese.)

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The busy day previewed in yesterday’s press briefing (see prior post) has yielded a plethora of images. There are too many to tag for specifics, and until now there are not statements or remarks released to accompany any of them. Nevertheless, these images say a great deal. First of all there are new foreign ministers and prime ministers from some countries (like Japan’s Maehara whom she met in Hawaii, and Australia’s Julia Gillard). She is no longer the “new kid in school.” For perhaps the first time in my memory of her SOS tenure and in my photo archives of summits, conferences, conventions, and the like, she is NOT front and center and NOT dressed in a bright color in the class picture. She is near the end at the left, in black and looking tiny – but she usually does look tiny. I especially love the pictures of her waving. Those big blue eyes, that bright smile, and her always positive attitude look so reassuring to me. I hope our friends and allies find them so as well.

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Thanks to P.J. Crowley in today’s Daily Press Briefing, we get to see a little preview of Mme. Secretary’s schedule for tomorrow!  Here is what he outlined.

Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
October 29, 2010

Tomorrow, she will have a breakfast meeting with counterparts from the Lower Mekong Initiative Countries of Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia; discuss regional challenges in health, education, and the environment. She’ll have a couple of bilaterals as well, I believe, including the president of Korea, as well as her counterpart, Foreign Minister Lavrov. I’m going to have full clarity on her schedule tomorrow.And then she will, having attended the dinner of the East Asia Summit this evening, she’ll also represent President Obama tomorrow as a guest of the chair and the first-ever participation in the East Asia Summit. And comprehensive discussions will also follow with her Vietnamese counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Khiem. And there, we expect to get into expanded discussion and that will include the human rights situation in Vietnam.

Busy, busy, busy as a pretty little bee!

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Wow! That is all I can say! This is how the Secretary of State landed in Viet Nam today. I KNOW this impressed the Viet Namese people the way her beautiful embroidered coat impressed the Afghan people.


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