Posts Tagged ‘Viet Nam’

When President Obama first asked Hillary Clinton to be secretary of state, she not only declined, she immediately suggested that Richard Holbrooke would be a much better choice.  Like Bill Clinton, who had to propose three times before she would accept marriage, Barack Obama had to ask several times before she accepted the cabinet position.  But she had conditions.  One was that at-risk regions required special attention and needed special advisers.  Holbrooke was brought into the administration as special adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Holbrooke died during Hillary’s tenure at DOS, and his son, David, has made a documentary about his father’s remarkable life and career called The Diplomat.  It premiered tonight on HBO and is excellent.  Both Bill and Hillary Clinton were interviewed extensively along with many who worked with Holbrooke.  I give it five stars. Don’t miss it!  It is a must see!

Read more about this award-winning documentary here at the website >>>>

One of the diplomatic tragedies of Bill Clinton’s administration depicted in this documentary occurred when Holbrooke was attempting to broker peace in the in the Balkans.  A vehicle carrying three members  of our negotiation team rolled off a very dangerous road on the way to Sarajevo.  It tumbled down a mountain, hit a land mine, caught fire, and killed the occupants.

Hillary was asked a question this week in Iowa about our ordinance left over in Laos.

A candidate who knows exactly what’s going on in Laos.

At a campaign stop in Iowa, Hillary got asked an unexpected foreign policy question about unexploded bombs in Laos—leftovers from the Vietnam War.

Hillary’s answer shows exactly what it would mean to have a former secretary of state in the Oval Office.

See the video and hear her response >>>>

The documentary emphasizes Holbrooke’s belief in the lessons of history.  We should remember these going forward.  There is much unfinished business from our engagement in Southeast Asia.  We may call it the Viet Nam War, but it was larger.  Incursions into Cambodia, which Richard Nixon announced saying it was “not an invasion,”and carpet-bombing in Laos are witness to the breadth of the conflict and damage left behind.  Hillary Clinton knows and respects the lessons of Viet Nam.

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Meets with Staff and Families of Embassy Hanoi


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


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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Mme. Secretary’s day at UNGA today was packed with bilaterals.  We see her in these pictures with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati,  Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi,  Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh,  Brunei’s Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah, and  Colombian Foreign Minister Angela Holguin.  It was a productive day, but much too busy for her to make any press statements.   For those who would like details, please see the following links.

Memorandum of Understanding with Ukraine on Nuclear Security Cooperation

Background Briefing on China, Lebanon, and Georgia

Background Briefing: Secretary’s Bilateral Meetings on Colombia, Vietnam, and the Ukraine

Here are the pics.  Enjoy!

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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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As our globetrotting Secretary of State wrapped up her Asia tour today, the solemn mood and muted colors on the tarmac in Hanoi contrasted starkly with the explosion of exuberance and color that we saw in Seoul just a few days ago.   In what was,  I believe, a precedent, the Secretary of State accompanied, on her plane, the repatriated remains of American MIAs from Viet Nam.

These pictures of the repatriation ceremony could be mistaken for black-and-white but for the one splash of color – Old Glory draping the coffin.  A few more guys are coming home with her.  It is a good time to remind everyone:   We were against the illegal war.  We were NEVER against our soldiers!   Welcome home, men, and thank you for your service and sacrifice.

Thank you, Mme. Secretary for your service as well.  This is a fitting ending to your visit to Hanoi.

UPDATE: h/t to Jo Anne Odell at Team Hillary Clinton who found this video. It appears the remains were loaded onto a military transport and the the Secretary’s plane. You can see the emotion on her face. Thanks again, Jo Anne!

Vodpod videos no longer available.
raw video, posted with vodpod

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Hillary Rodham Clinton wrapped up the last day of her fifth trip to Asia as Secretary of State by attending day two of the 17th ASEAN Regional Forum in Hanoi, Viet Nam and signing the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation with participating nations. For those of us old enough to remember the Viet Nam War, these are amazing pictures. Amity, yes. There are other “hot spots” on the planet, but in Southeast Asia, Hillary Clinton has extended her hand, with its perfect nail beds, for a firm handshake as the nations forge agreements to move into this century on very different footing than in the past.

Mme. Secretary, beautiful job! Well done! What beautiful pictures of peace! (Our Secretary of State totally rocks!

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This is from yesterday, but worth sharing. When I was a kid,  and we were getting into the Viet Nam War, we used to ask, “What if peace broke out tomorrow?” It is lovely and heartening to see Hillary Rodham Clinton, my anti-Viet Nam War sister, over there making love, not war. Flower Power returns, and Hillary Rodham Clinton is the flower.

Thank you Mme. Secretary! Great work!

Vietnam: Furthering Our Bilateral Relationship

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Government Guest House
Hanoi, Vietnam
July 22, 2010

MODERATOR: (In Vietnamese.)

MINISTER KHIEM: (In Vietnamese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much. It is a real pleasure for me to be back in Vietnam. And I have had the good fortune of observing the evolution of our relationship over the last 15 years ever since my husband, President Bill Clinton, took steps to normalize our relations. And we came on our first visit 10 years ago, which was a wonderful opportunity for me to see so much of the progress that was taking place. And now upon my return, I am looking forward to seeing even more.

My meetings today are very important to furthering our bilateral relationship. I think that Minister Khiem and I had candid and productive discussions on issues, as he said, ranging from trade and investment to health and education, to good governance, human rights, humanitarian and security issues. The Obama Administration is prepared to take the U.S.-Vietnam relationship to the next level on these issues and in new areas of cooperation. We see this relationship not only as important on its own merits, but as part of a strategy aimed at enhancing American engagement in the Asia Pacific and in particular Southeast Asia. We spoke about a range of challenges affecting regional security, including Burma, North Korea, territorial disputes in the South China Sea, and we welcome Vietnam’s constructive leadership and its excellent contributions to ASEAN, including its very important role as ASEAN chair. We also discussed our growing cooperation on civil nuclear power and counter-proliferation efforts. Vietnam is an active partner in both areas.

In the past three months alone, Vietnam participated in President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit, endorsed the global initiative to combat nuclear terrorism, and signed a memorandum of understanding with the United States on civil nuclear cooperation. Now, as with any country, we do not agree on everything. We have different experiences historically and culturally, but we had candid discussions about the issues we do view differently. The United States is committed to working with nations everywhere to help strengthen civil society as a fundamental ingredient of political, economic, and social progress. And Vietnam, with its extraordinary dynamic population, is on the path to becoming a great nation with an unlimited potential. And that is among the reasons we express concern about arrest and conviction of people for peaceful dissent, attacks on religious groups, and curbs on internet freedom.

We look to work in a spirit of cooperation and friendship to support efforts to pursue reforms and protect basic rights and freedoms. And we are particularly seeking to promote economic progress in Vietnam through broad-based growth built on Vietnam’s integration into the regional and global economy. We discussed our shared interest in expanding trade to create jobs in both countries. And I am very much supportive of Vietnam’s participation as a full member in the Trans-Pacific partnership. As Vietnam embarks on labor and other reforms, the American businesses that are investing in Vietnam can provide expertise that will aid Vietnam’s economic and infrastructure development.

Mr. Minister, we have a full and formidable agenda. But I believe our discussion today has helped lay the foundation for continued progress in our relationship. So again, let me thank you for the warm hospitality and the discussions that we’ve enjoyed on this auspicious occasion. Thank you, Minister.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much, Madam Secretary of State and with that, I would like to invite journalists to ask questions. We have only two questions for the journalists; one from Vietnam and one from the U.S. side. I invite VTV.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter) May I introduce myself? I’m (inaudible) from the Television of Vietnam News. My question goes to Madam Secretary. What is the specific plan for the U.S. in cooperation with Vietnam to deal with the consequences of the wars in Vietnam?

SECRETARY CLINTON: The minister and I discussed the concern that both Vietnam and the United States have about Agent Orange and the consequences that it produced in the people here. As you know, we have been working with Vietnam for about nine years to try to remedy the effects of Agent Orange and I told the minister that I would work to increase our cooperation and make even greater progress together.

MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) I invite the question from other journalist. Kim Ghattas from BBC, please.

QUESTION: Question to the Secretary first. I would like to ask you about Burma. You’ve expressed in the past concerns about the possibility that Burma is pursuing a nuclear program, that it has connections with North Korea on that front. I was wondering whether you were planning to present any evidence to members of ASEAN about your suspicions. And if you could tell us a little bit more about how you feel one year on or ten months on about how your efforts to engage Burma are actually going.

And to the minister, the Secretary said that she’d raised the issue of human rights and I was wondering what your response was.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first with respect to problems in Burma and the impact not only on the people of that country, but on the neighbors as the outflow of refugees continues and the consequent instability because of that. I believe that the ASEAN nations correctly raised yesterday in their meeting their concerns about Burma and particularly the planned elections that Burma has said will be held, but without providing any details, even the date, raising questions about their commitment to such elections. I’ve also shared with the minister our concerns about the exporting by North Korea of military materiel and equipment to Burma. We know that a ship from North Korea recently delivered military equipment to Burma and we continue to be concerned by the reports that Burma may be seeking assistance from North Korea with regard to a nuclear program. So this is a matter that is of concern to ASEAN and it is of concern to the United States. And we will be discussing further ways in which we can cooperate to alter the actions of the government in Burma and encourage the leaders there to commit to reform and change and the betterment of their own people.

MODERATOR: (In Vietnamese.)

MINISTER KHIEM: (Via interpreter) With respect to human rights issue, we discussed this matter and this is, I think, that the difference between Vietnam and the U.S. I believe that the best way to have – enhance the mutual understanding is through promoting the dialogues. This is a very positive way and let me enter some more points that human rights have common values, but it also has its typical features, because it depends a lot on the cultural and historical backgrounds. And it is very important to work closely together to share the views and (inaudible) together during our talk. I appreciated very much the opinions of President Obama regarding human rights. He said that there’s no perfect way and each country should select their own ways, depending on the circumstances of the nation and the human rights values shouldn’t be imposed from the outside. And I also value very much the observation from Madam Secretary at the university in 2009, that the human rights should (end of audio)

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Remarks at Press Availability

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State

National Convention Center
Hanoi, Vietnam
July 23, 2010

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well good afternoon everyone. Today I complete my fifth trip to Asia since becoming Secretary of State. Yesterday, I arrived in Vietnam and I was honored to be here to help celebrate the 15th anniversary of the normalization of our diplomatic relations. The day before, I was in Seoul, my third visit to Korea as Secretary. Together, Secretary Gates and I have sent the strong message that 60 years after the outbreak of the Korean War the U.S.-Korea alliance is strong, helping to underwrite peace and security and create the conditions for economic growth throughout the region.
And now I’ve just completed two days of intensive consultations with my ASEAN colleagues and with the other partners who have come here to pursue a common endeavor: strengthening security, prosperity, and opportunity across Asia.
Yesterday, I participated in the annual U.S.-ASEAN post-ministerial meeting where we discussed my country’s deepening engagement with Southeast Asia and the opportunities we see ahead on so many fronts – from expanded trade investment, to greater cooperation on peace and security, to joint efforts to confront transnational challenges, like climate change, human trafficking, nuclear proliferation, and so much else.
And today I’ve joined the annual meeting of the larger ASEAN regional forum to continue and expand our discussions. As I stated when I attended this forum last summer in Thailand, the Obama Administration is committed to broad, deep, and sustained engagement in Asia. And as I discussed in a speech in Hawaii last fall, we are focused on helping strengthen the institutional architecture of the Asia Pacific.
Over the last 18 months we have signed the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, announced our intention to open a mission and name an ambassador to ASEAN in Jakarta, and held the first U.S.-ASEAN summit. And we have pursued new sub-regional efforts like our new Mekong Delta partnership.
To build on that progress I conveyed to my colleagues our interest in engaging with the East Asia Summit as it plays an increasing role in the challenges of our time. And I announced that President Obama had asked me to represent the United States in an appropriate capacity at this year’s EAS in Hanoi to continue a process of consultations with a view toward full American participation at the presidential level in 2011. Through these consultations we will be working with EAS members to encourage its development into a foundational security and political institution for Asia in this century. The President also looks forward to hosting the second U.S.-ASEAN leaders meeting in the United States this coming autumn.
Today we discussed a number of urgent challenges including North Korea and Burma. I encouraged our partners and allies to continue to implement fully and transparently UN Security Council Resolution 1874, and to press North Korea to live up to its international obligations. I also urged Burma to put in place the necessary conditions for credible elections including releasing all political prisoners, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, respecting basic human rights, and ceasing attacks against their ethnic minorities. And as I said in our meetings today, it is critical that Burma hear from its neighbors about the need to abide by its commitments, under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, to fulfill its IAEA safeguards obligations and complies with Resolutions 1874 and 1718.
We also discussed a number of other important topics: climate change, trading and economic integration, democracy and human rights. And I took the opportunity along with a number of my ASEAN and ASEAN Regional Forum colleagues to set forth my government’s position on an issue that implicates the security and prosperity of the region, the South China Sea.
I’d like to briefly outline our perspective on this issue. The United States, like every nation, has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime commons, and respect for international law in the South China Sea. We share these interests not only with ASEAN members or ASEAN Regional Forum participants, but with other maritime nations and the broader international community.
The United States supports a collaborative diplomatic process by all claimants for resolving the various territorial disputes without coercion. We oppose the use or threat of force by any claimant. While the United States does not take sides on the competing territorial disputes over land features in the South China Sea, we believe claimants should pursue their territorial claims and the company and rights to maritime space in accordance with the UN convention on the law of the sea. Consistent with customary international law, legitimate claims to maritime space in the South China Sea should be derived solely from legitimate claims to land features.
The U.S. supports the 2002 ASEAN-China declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea. We encourage the parties to reach agreement on a full code of conduct. The U.S. is prepared to facilitate initiatives and confidence building measures consistent with the declaration. Because it is in the interest of all claimants and the broader international community for unimpeded commerce to proceed under lawful conditions. Respect for the interests of the international community and responsible efforts to address these unresolved claims and help create the conditions for resolution of the disputes and a lowering of regional tensions. Let me add one more point with respect to the Law of the Sea Convention. It has strong bipartisan support in the United States, and one of our diplomatic priorities over the course of the next year is to secure its ratification in the Senate.
So this was a very full agenda with candid and productive discussions of critical issues. The theme of this year’s ministerial was: Turning Vision into Action. And I think that’s the perfect summary of what we’re trying to do through these institutions. We have a shared vision and ambitious goals. But as always, the truest measure of our success will be at how well we turn our vision into action by making concrete consistent progress for our goals for a better future. And so it is now time for us to get to work and for me to take some of your questions.
MODERATOR: We have time for a few questions. The first is from Ms. Ha from VTV.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Hillary Clinton. My question is that what is your comments about how the South China Sea or East Sea issue was brought about in the AF this year, and into the – the way how to deal with this issue (inaudible).
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. I think that 12 participants raised the South China Sea and general maritime navigation and claim issues in our discussion. Because if you look at a map of this region, there are many countries that are increasing their trade, their commercial maritime traffic. There is a lot of activity. This is some of the busiest sea lanes in the world, and there’s a concern that we all abide by the international rules in order to determine how to proceed and certainly, the 12 participants including the United States, that raise this issue would want to see the application of the principles agreed to previously by ASEAN, the existing international laws and regulations and the custom of how all these countries in this region can share this common space of the oceans. And I thought it was a very productive conversation.
MODERATOR: The next question is from Mark Landler of the New York Times.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. I wonder whether I could ask you to take a step back at the end of this trip. In the past, we – you’ve been in countries that represent American wars past, present, and one hopes not future. But I’m wondering as you go home, whether there’s a common thread or a lesson from Vietnam, South Korea that can be applied to our current and very difficult campaign in Afghanistan.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I hope that some time in the future, Afghanistan is doing as well as South Korea and Vietnam are. The extraordinary economic progress, the strengthening of institutions that we’ve seen over the last 60 years in South Korea, and certainly the last 35 years in Vietnam, are encouraging to anyone who hopes for the best for Afghanistan. But I think you also recognize that this is hard work, that it takes a lot of patience and persistence.
The history of democracy and prosperity in South Korea was one that was very hard fought, not only the Korean War, but years and years of trying to overcome the difficulties of establishing democratic institutions that would be strong enough to really get rooted in society, of overcoming all kinds of challenges. And as I said yesterday in a speech that I delivered here in Hanoi, one of the lessons that are very important for all of us is to see how 15 years after the normalization of relations between the United States and Vietnam, 35 years after the end of a war, the partnership and cooperation between the United States and Vietnam is increasing by the day.
I travel all over the world as some of you travel with me now. And one of the biggest challenges I face as Secretary of State are the many places in the world today that cannot overcome their own past, cannot put aside the pain and the anguish of the conflicts and disappointments, the oppression, and despair that they experienced or their grandparents experienced.
So both South Korea and Vietnam are very important models for other countries around the world. And I certainly expressed, in Afghanistan, my hope that Afghanistan will be able to build a stronger government, deliver results for the people, demonstrate that democracy can work, provide an inclusive society with a growing economy, and overcome its legacy of war and conflict as well.
MODERATOR: And our last question from Elise Labott of CNN.
QUESTION: Thank you, Madam Secretary. You talked today a little bit about North Korea’s – your concern about North Korea’s nuclear program and today the North Korean, threaten, I quote, “physical response” to your planned exercises with South Korea. Are you worried about an escalation? And as you talk about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, you’ve raised concern today about Burma’s nuclear ambitions and it’s trying to seek a nuclear weapon. You have some very protracted negotiations with South Korea over civil nuclear programs. Are you concerned that all of this activity will spark an arms race in Asia where other states feel that they’re going to have to develop a nuclear program to keep up? Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Elise, the threat of a nuclear arms race is one of the greatest dangers facing the world today. As I said in my participation during the ASEAN Regional Forum, we regret and condemn the actions of North Korea, the belligerence, the provocation, the sinking of the South Korean ship Cheonan, the destabilizing effect that that has in Northeast Asia, the proliferation of both conventional arms and nuclear technical knowhow. Because we do consider it to be a very serious problem, not only in Northeast Asia, but unfortunately, consequences throughout the rest of the world.
Yet at the same time, and I have said repeatedly and said again today, the door remains open for North Korea. If they are willing to commit themselves as they did five years ago in 2005 to the irreversible denuclearization that would make the entire Korean Peninsula, not just the South, but the North as well free of nuclear weapons, we are willing to meet with them. We’re willing to negotiate, to move toward normal relations, economic assistance. We want to help the people of North Korea. We would love for them to have the same opportunities that the people of South Korea have been able to enjoy during the last 60 years.
So it is distressing when North Korea continues its threats and causes so much anxiety among its neighbors and the larger region, but we will demonstrate once again through our military exercises as we did when Bob Gates and I visited in Seoul together two days ago – that the United States stands in firm support of the defense of South Korea and we will continue to do so.
But we of course would welcome the day when there is peace on the Peninsula and when the leaders of North Korea are less concerned about making threats and more concerned about making opportunities for all of the North Korean men, women, and children. I would very much like to see that come to pass and, as I say, we stand ready to do so. But under these circumstances, it appears unlikely that we’ll be able to make any progress in the near term.
MODERATOR: Thank you all for coming.
# # #

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Celebration of the 15th Anniversary of United States-Vietnam Relations

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Hanoi, Vietnam
July 22, 2010

Thank you so much, Hank. And the recitation of what I am doing in my travels while trying to help organize my daughter’s wedding should prove to all of you that I may be lacking in common sense, not that I have it, because there is just lots going on in the world. But right now I am very focused on this trip to Vietnam, and then I will return home and enjoy one of the most wonderful events that any family can experience.

But it’s such a pleasure to be here with you in this historic city to celebrate 15 years of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and the United States. And I want to thank Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Khiem for the excellent meeting that we had earlier today. And thanks to the American Chamber of Commerce and the Vietnamese Union of Friendship for sponsoring this event.

It is an understatement to say that we have accomplished so much together since 1995. We have made an intensive effort to rebuild ties that increase engagement on issues as diverse as health and human rights, energy, security, defense, and most certainly business, trade, and investment. Our investment in Vietnam has contributed to the momentum of Vietnam’s rise and expanded opportunity for a generation of young people eager to find their place in the world.

And we have also worked together on the solemn, painstaking task of finding and identifying the remains of soldiers, both American and Vietnamese, who died in the war. And, in so doing, we have helped to bring solace to families in both nations. And I am personally very grateful to the Vietnamese Government’s support for these efforts.

Now, today we celebrate what has made all of this possible, the willingness on both sides to accept the past, move beyond it, and join together to build a better common future. History has shown how difficult this can be. In many parts of the world, the end of conflict has not led to cooperation or lasting peace. Simmering hatreds and tensions are passed on from one generation to the next, leaving young people with little room for optimism about what a future relationship could look like. Often progress is frozen, leaving a status quo in which no one benefits. I spend a lot of my time as Secretary of State working with and traveling to countries where this is the norm, where the failure to move beyond the past has stunted the future.

Well, Vietnam and the United States have chosen a different course. Thirty-five years ago we ended a war that inflicted terrible suffering on both our nations, and still remains a living memory for many of our people. Despite that pain, we dedicated ourselves to the hard work of building peace. We have consistently moved in the direction of engagement and cooperation. Even on those issues where we disagree, we still reach for dialogue.

This has not been easy, but it has been worth every bit of effort, that so many people in both countries have decided to invest in it. That is evident in the partnerships formed between our businesses, the thousands of students who are participating in educational exchanges, the hundreds of thousands of our citizens who cross the ocean each year to explore the other’s country and culture. These ties enrich us, and are proof of a peace that exists not only on paper, but is rooted in the minds and hearts of the American and Vietnamese people. And it is a credit to both our nations that this progress has been possible.

Yet our work continues. And we are prepared to take the U.S.-Vietnam relationship to the next level of engagement, cooperation, friendship, and partnership. It is true that profound differences exist, particularly over the question of political freedoms. And the United States will continue to urge Vietnam to strengthen its commitment to human rights, and give its people even greater say over the direction of their own lives. But this is not a relationship that is fixed upon our differences. We have learned to see each other, not as former enemies, but as actual and potential partners, colleagues, and friends. This tradition of cooperation is bringing great benefits to us both.

For me, personally, and for my husband, this anniversary is especially poignant. Ten years ago we came here together at the end of his presidency. He had announced the normalization of our relationship with Vietnam five years earlier, standing together with American veterans of that war, including Senator John Kerry and Senator John McCain. This was an effort not only to restore the relationship between the United States and Vietnam, but also to heal our own wounds, the divisions that the war caused among Americans.

Bill became the first U.S. President ever to visit Hanoi, and the first to come to Vietnam since the war. And, frankly, we weren’t sure exactly what to expect. But as we drove into the city, the people of Hanoi were on the streets, waiting to greet us. We went to Hanoi National University, and throngs of students gathered, many of whom had never known a time when our countries were not at peace. Everywhere we went, we felt the warmth and hospitality of the Vietnamese people.

For us, this had a profound impact. It was a reflection of the good will that had developed between our countries in the span of a single generation. And it was an outward expression of a belief we share: the belief that our past does not need to determine our future, that indeed, the future is ours to build.

Now I have come back to Hanoi as Secretary of State. And I can see the dynamism of the extraordinary progress that has occurred within the last 10 years. The optimism I felt 10 years ago is palpable. The good will between us is strong. And while we cannot ask anyone to forget the past, we remain focused on the future.

As Secretary of State, I have a personal commitment to this relationship. I believe, as we have found, there is so much that the Vietnamese and American people share: a hard work ethic, a pragmatism, a fundamental belief in our ability to chart a different future. So, let us commemorate this anniversary by pledging to ourselves and to each other that we will do everything we can together to sustain and deepen this relationship. We will continue to choose engagement and cooperation over isolation and division. We will continue to be inspired by our young people, who look ahead with confidence, eager to seize the opportunities of this time.

And let us rededicate ourselves to the difficult but profoundly rewarding work of building a lasting friendship between two great nations and two great people who deserve nothing less. Thank you very much.


Now, I was told that it’s my privilege to invite the deputy prime minister back to the podium for a toast. I don’t have anything to toast with. But I think that, between the two of us, we will demonstrate the ingenuity of the Vietnamese and American people.


To the friendship and partnership between the Vietnamese and American people, as a model for what is possible for all people everywhere in the future.

(They toast. Applause.)

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