President Barack Obama’s remarks at joint media appearance
VGP – The following are the remarks of President Barack Obama at the joint media appearance with Vietnamese Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong after their historic talks in the Oval Office of the White House, on Tuesday, July 7.
As you heard, I got an invitation to Viet Nam. And I think this is indicative of the remarkable progress that’s taken place in the relationship between our two countries over the last 20 years.
I want to welcome General Secretary Trong to the Oval Office for his first visit to the United States during this 20-year anniversary of the normalization of relations between the United States and Viet Nam.
Obviously, there has been a difficult history between our two countries in the 20th century. And there continue to be significant differences in political philosophy and political systems between our two countries. But because, I think, of the efforts of leaders in both parties here in the United States, as well as the leadership in Viet Nam over successive years, what we’ve seen is the emergence of a constructive relationship that is based on mutual respect, and that has benefitted the peoples of both countries.
Already in the last two years alone, we’ve made significant progress on deepening our cooperation in the areas of education, science, technology, climate change, public health, as well as security issues. And this was an excellent opportunity for us to deepen our discussions around our vision for a comprehensive partnership.
We discussed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, and the enormous potential of a high-standards trade agreement that raises labor standards, raises environmental standards, and could potentially create significant job growth and prosperity for both the Vietnamese and the American people.
We discussed the importance of resolving maritime disputes in the South China Sea and throughout the Asia Pacific in accordance with international law, to ensure that the prosperity and freedom of navigation that has underwritten the enormous economic growth that’s taken place in the region continues for decades to come.
We discussed continued people-to-people exchanges. As General Secretary Trong noted, we have more Vietnamese-Americans here and expatriate Vietnamese than any other country in the world, and they’ve made enormous contributions to our country. We want to continue to deepen those exchanges, including through the soon to be opened Fulbright University that has just been approved.
And we also discussed the importance of us cooperating on global issues, particularly climate change, which could have a profound impact on both our countries; issues of global health security and dealing with the potential of pandemic; global peacekeeping. In all these areas, Viet Nam has proven to be a very constructive partner.
There remain to be -- there remain differences in the bilateral relationship, and we discussed candidly some of our differences around issues of human rights, for example, and freedom of religion. But what I’m confident about is that the diplomatic dialogue and practical steps that we are taking together will benefit both countries, that these tensions can be resolved in an effective fashion and that not only bilaterally but also through our cooperation in multilateral organizations like ASEAN and the East Asia Summit, we can continue to make significant strides.
So I want to thank once again General Secretary Trong for his visit. I hope he has felt the warmth and hospitality that the American people feel towards all the people of Viet Nam. And I certainly do look forward to visiting your beautiful country sometime in the future./.