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The turning point of Vietnam – US relations among many intertwined interests

This trip of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh Visiting the US is expected to create a new step in the bilateral relationship between the two countries, in the context that ASEAN and the US are creating momentum to expand cooperation.

It is expected that today (May 10), Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will start to visit and work in the US and the UN. According to the plan, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will join the leaders of the countries ASEAN Attending the Special Summit to celebrate the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-US relations on May 12 and 13 in Washington DC. Also on this occasion, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will lead a Vietnamese delegation to visit and work in the US. and the United Nations from May 11 to 17, 2022.

On the occasion of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s visit, Thanh Nien interviewed Mr. Pham Quang Vinh (photo), former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs – former Ambassador of Vietnam to the US, about the relationship between the US and ASEAN and the bilateral relationship. Vietnam – America.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh speaks at the Summit business Vietnam – US in Hanoi in March 2022


ASEAN – US relations have many parallels

How do you rate this special summit to celebrate the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-US relations?

This conference has a number of highlights. First of all, the meeting took place on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-US relations as a testament to the long history of the relationship between the two sides.

On the American side, the administration of the President Joe Biden consistent policy of attaching importance to the Indo-Pacific region. In it, Washington emphasized that ASEAN plays a central role and builds a rules-based regional structure. On the ASEAN side, this bloc has entered a new stage of development, which requires strengthening both in community building as well as promoting its central role, so it is necessary to associate with major partners. And the US is one of the leading partners of ASEAN. Therefore, the ASEAN – US relationship is developing momentum and both sides have motivation to promote relations with each other.

In that relationship, what are the challenges, sir?

Now, world in general and Southeast Asia in particular are witnessing complicated fluctuations. Typically, the Covid-19 epidemic, although both ASEAN and the US have been controlled, there are still many consequences that need to be resolved.

The next outstanding challenge is competition between major powers, which requires ASEAN to have relations with both the US and China Chinaand at the same time avoid falling into the trap of competition, in order to promote the central role.

The third challenge is that many problems, both old and new, exist in the region. For example, the East Sea issue has many complicated developments, climate change, non-traditional security challenges and Myanmar… Or there are non-regional challenges that make an impact as multidimensional as the Ukraine crisis.

What about opportunities for developing ASEAN-US relations, sir?

Of course, among the challenges, there are also many opportunities for the two sides to strengthen cooperation. Typically, epidemics and competition between major countries have created fractures, leading to a shift in global supply chains, resulting in a shift of investment and financial flows to Southeast Asian countries. This is an opportunity for ASEAN and the US to strengthen economic cooperation and strengthen supply chains.

In addition, it is expected that the US will soon announce its economic framework plan Indo-Pacific (IPEF) can create many opportunities for both sides to discuss. The post-pandemic period of Covid-19 also opens up new trends in governance, economic development such as green transformation, clean conversion and digital transformation. President Biden also focused on these trends. Meanwhile, ASEAN members, specifically Vietnam, are having programs to adapt to climate change and promote the digital economy. Therefore, the relationship between ASEAN and the US clearly has many similarities.

Opportunity from IPEF

Sir, what cooperation opportunities does IPEF open up for the two sides?

IPEF is an initiative of the US to form an overall framework of factors for countries to dialogue with, with four major pillars: First, ensuring the sustainability of the supply chain; The second is climate change adaptation; The third is the digital economy and trade; Fourthly, there are a number of issues such as labor, taxes, anti-corruption, etc.

Countries can dialogue with each other on the issues in the framework above, and then seek consensus points to negotiate in detail to reach a separate agreement. When there are economic dialogues, there are more opportunities for cooperation and this is a long process. If ASEAN members take advantage of IPEF, they will not only take advantage of US resources in related projects, but also create momentum for huge private investment.

Expecting a new roadmap for Vietnam – US relations

From the above developments, how do you evaluate the relationship between Vietnam and the US in the coming time?

First of all, when the US strengthens its relationship with ASEAN, it also creates momentum to promote bilateral relations between the US and each member of the bloc.

In particular, in terms of Vietnam – US relations, after 27 years of normalizing diplomatic relations, there is momentum and basis for strong development. During the past 27 years, four US presidents have visited Vietnam. Since Mr. Biden became the US president, many high-ranking officials of this country, including the Vice President Kamala Harrisvisited Vietnam.

Vietnam and the US also achieved many milestones in trust-building, notably in overcoming the consequences of war. Although the two countries have differences in terms of institutions and economic conditions, they have also achieved fundamental principles, notably in the Declaration on the Vietnam-US Joint Vision when the General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong Visiting the US in 2015, the two countries emphasized respect for each other’s “political institutions, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity”. This is very special and the US over the years has always affirmed its support for a strong and independent Vietnam.

Regarding economic cooperation, after 27 years of normalizing relations, the trade turnover between the two countries has increased from less than 500 million USD to more than 110 billion USD, which is an increase of more than 200 times. In the last 10 years, the annual growth rate of trade turnover between the two countries has often increased at 17 – 19%, showing that there is still a lot of room and can be exploited.

During this visit by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, we also have opportunities in new economic fields. For a long time, Vietnam has mainly exported agricultural, forestry and fishery products, processed components, but now there are modern transformations such as clean transition, green transition and green transformation. digital conversion. If these transformations can be taken advantage of, it will create more development momentum and increase the space for economic development cooperation between the two countries. This visit has further enhanced the relations between the two countries by formulating a roadmap to strengthen long-term cooperation.

Thank you!



Positive attitude

Our organization will host Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh this week. The administration of President Biden supports this visit of Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh as well as supports us to welcome him. The US continues to have a positive view of Vietnam.

Dr. John Hamre (Chairman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies – CSIS)

Important meaning


The upcoming ASEAN-US Summit is of great significance as a symbol of America’s commitment to the region. One of the prominent examples of this is President Biden’s priority to organize the conference in the midst of the situation in Ukraine covering the world, proving that Washington is not distracted from the importance of the Indo-Pacific region. . Regarding the outcome of the conference, the US may announce the appointment of an ambassador to ASEAN after nearly 6 years of being vacated. I also expect the two sides to announce the upgrade of their relationship to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” as ASEAN has signed with Australia and China.

Mr. Greg Poling (Director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative – AMTI, CSIS)

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