Vietnam-US defense cooperation is stronger than ever: US official

(VOVWORLD) - Vietnam-US defense ties are at their strongest point, said Reed Werner, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in an interview with VOV on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Vietnam-US diplomatic ties. 

Vietnam-US defense cooperation is stronger than ever: US official - ảnh 1

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Reed Werner. 

Mr. Werner said the COVID-19 epidemic has again shown that Vietnam and the US have a strong partnership, the result of diplomatic efforts over the last 25 years. He said the US wants to build an effective defense partnership to help Vietnam grow stronger and, with the US, ensure regional security and prosperity.

“We are committed to building a strategic partnership with Vietnam by increasing cooperation areas such as maritime security peacekeeping operations, certainly in areas of priority for your government, humanitarian assistance in disaster relief, professional military education and military medicine," said Mr. Werner.

"And we certainly want to find new ways to help Vietnam to enhance its territorial security, ensure its access to natural resources, particularly in the South China Sea. And contribute to the regional maritime security in the South China Sea." 

"What's important also is this is Vietnam's chair year of ASEAN and we very much appreciate ASEAN centrality and we want to be as supportive as possible to Vietnam,” he added.

Mr. Werner said the US largely benefits from stability in the South China Sea (called the East Sea in Vietnam) and countries’ compliance with the region’s regulations.

“We and many countries around the world are concerned by recent Chinese activities to coerce ASEAN neighbors and deny them access to natural resources and fishing in the South China Sea, particularly while all these countries remain focused, even preoccupied in COVID response," he said.

"Beijing should be more aware that its global diplomacy and pursuit of increased participation in international organizations is actually undermined by coercive actions in the South China Sea. The world and the regions are watching and taking notes.”

Mr. Werner said that the US Department of Defense will continue to condemn coercive behavior, especially those that harass economic activities legally carried out by other claimants in the South China Sea.

He emphasized that the US will maintain a continuous military presence in the South China Sea, conduct regular mixed maritime operations and maritime exercises and drills with partners and allies, conduct regular patrols by strategic bombers in the Western Pacific and the South China Sea, and coordinate with allies and partners like Vietnam to protect sovereignty and maintain rules-based order and maritime security.

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