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Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 08:21 (GMT+7)
Respecting each other’s political institution - foundation for Vietnam - US relations

Since the normalization of relations and the establishment of diplomatic relations (July 12th 1995), Vietnam and the U.S. have unceasingly built up and developed bilateral cooperation, and since 2013 the relations have been upgraded to comprehensive partnership, in the spirit of “setting aside the past, settling differences, promoting similarities, looking forward to the future”.

General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong meeting with President Obama
at the White House, July 2015 (photo: VNA)

To achieve that result, the two countries experienced a difficult process. History shows that the two countries experienced chances to foster relations, relating to the two great leaders. When Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President of the United States, the writer of the US 1776 Declaration of Independence, the founder of Democratic-Republican Party (the forerunner of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party), was an agriculturalist, he studied Vietnam’s agriculture and tried to bring one of Vietnamese rice varieties to his farm. Vietnam President Ho Chi Minh, the founding father of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the Communist Party of Vietnam, the writer of Vietnam 1945 Declaration of Independence, on his path to national salvation, in 1913, came to Boston - the source of the American War of Independence - to study the United States. In the beginning of the Declaration of Independence of Vietnam, reading in front of the Vietnamese people on September 2nd 1945, he quoted the US Declaration of Independence: “All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. On the basis of absorbing progressive thoughts of humankind, including the one expressed in the US. Declaration of Independence, President Ho Chi Minh and our Party defined the path of development for the nation and the political regime of the country.

History also recorded pathetic events. The U.S. and Vietnam used to be allies, fighting against fascism. During the August Revolution, Viet Minh troops saved a US pilot lieutenant shot down by Japanese troops and handed over to the US Mission in Kunming (China). The US Army also sent a special task team of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) to Viet Bac to aid the Viet Minh in tactics, the use of radio transmitters, explosives, etc., during the war against French Colonialists. After the victory of the August Revolution, President Ho Chi Minh advocated establishing a comprehensive partnership with the US. He sent 14 letters to the U.S., especially to President Truman, offering the U.S. to “support Vietnam’s fledgling independence”.

Nevertheless, that good will was not responded adequately. The reason was explained by President Obama on his visit to Vietnam (May 2016): “our common story of throwing off colonialism might have brought us closer together sooner. But instead, Cold War rivalries and fears of communism pulled us into conflict”. It was the US. in disregard of Vietnam’s  selected path that decided to support the French to fight against the Viet Minh, decimating “the national liberation movement led by the communists” and “preventing the spread of communism into Indochina”. While President Ho Chi Minh and the people of Vietnam did their utmost to unite forces and bring about peace, they still had to confront the French invaders supported by the U.S. with fund, weapons and personnel. In May 1948, when the U.S. directly aided the French troops, he still believed in the Americans: “The American people who bravely fought for independence and tolerantly acknowledged the independence of the Philippines will certainly agree with Vietnam’s struggle for independence”. When the U.S. directly deployed its troops to the South and determined to bring Vietnam back to “the stone age”, President Ho Chi Minh still believed in a peaceful means for the two countries. In his response to the US. President Richard Nixon’s letter on August 23rd 1969, he stressed: “With good will on both sides we might arrive at common efforts in view of reaching an appropriate solution for Vietnam’s issue”. After reestablishing peace and unifying the country, the people of Vietnam determined to fulfil President Ho Chi Minh’s wish: rebuilding the country “stronger and more beautiful”. With the hostile attitude towards the socialist regime in Vietnam, the U.S. and the West applied “blockage and embargo” policy against Vietnam aiming to isolate it and to overthrow its regime. However, with the sound guideline laid down by the Communist Party of Vietnam, our whole Party, Army and the people have united and succeed in getting the country out of all challenges, while successfully carrying out the cause of national reform and protection with numerous victories.

Overcoming blockade and embargo, Vietnam established diplomatic relations with increasingly increasing number of countries, including the United States. With the foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, diversification and multilateralization of international relations, Vietnam is consistent in respecting its relations with the U.S., unceasingly developing the cooperation, making contributions to peace, stability, cooperation and development in Asia-Pacific region. Over the past 22 years, with the spirit of respecting the path of development of each other, respecting independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, not intervening in internal affairs, cooperating for mutual benefits, the two countries have made breakthroughs in diplomacy with numerous visits to each other, even at highest levels. The US Presidents Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama visited Vietnam. In return, State Presidents of Vietnam Le Duc Anh, Tran Duc Luong, Nguyen Minh Triet and Truong Tan Sang visited the US. Bilateral cooperation, particular on science and technology, education and training, health, environment, defence and security, has recorded great achievements. Notably, economic and commercial relationship has experienced great development. From a zero start, the U.S. has become one of the top trading partners, the biggest investors and the largest export markets of Vietnam. There has been effective collaboration between the two countries in dealing with toxic remnants of wars, particularly handling dioxin at airports, such as Da Nang, Phu Cat and Bien Hoa.

However, there remain issues needing to be solved, especially accusations against Vietnam in the fields of ethnicity, religion, democracy, human rights, made by US organizations and individuals. In the annual Report on International Religious Freedom released by the US Department of State, there are erroneous judgments on Vietnam reality. Vietnam has refuted those with compelling arguments and evidence, but the situation has not improved yet. Noticeably, while a number of organizations located in the U.S. often ignite acts of sabotage against Vietnam’s political regime, the U.S. has not taken on its role and responsibility yet. For instance, “Viet Tan”, a terrorist organization located in San Jose (California), owes the people of Vietnam and overseas Vietnameses blood-debts, but it met no restrictions in its activities. Recently, it has accelerated acts of sabotage against the Party, the State and the socialist regime in Vietnam, such as organizing online training courses for making petrol bombs and using explosives to launch terrorist attacks. During the environmental incident in Central coast, Viet Tan focused on inciting demonstrations, riots and demolition of machines with a view to fomenting a “fish revolution”. However, it was defeated. The Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam has sufficient proof to claim that Viet Tan is a terrorist group. But the U.S., basing on erroneous information, views it as a “peaceful organization advocating democratic reform”.

What is more, the Human Rights Watch (HRW), located in New York city and partly funded by the US. government, often makes wrongful statements on Vietnam, but the U.S. still screens and nurtures it. While proclaiming itself an international organization supervising human rights, HRW does not play that role in Vietnam. It takes no account of millions of Vietnamese people exposed to Agent Orange or the problem of explosive remnants of war in Vietnam. It also takes no notice of Vietnam’s achievements in improvement of the people’s material and spiritual life, hunger eradication and poverty reduction, and the implementation of the United Nations “Millennium Development Goals”. It usually issues statements completely contrary to reality in Vietnam. It states that “Vietnam oppresses reactionaries systematically”; even presenting the “human rights award” to several figures who ceaselessly manage to sabotage Vietnam’s reform cause, and calling them “active democracy and human rights activists”.

In spite of differences between the U.S. and Vietnam, the two countries have become comprehensive partners. The U.S. first invited the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong to visit and received him with the diplomatic protocol for a head of state. It proved that the U.S. respected Vietnam’s right of self-determination. Indeed, in the Joint Vision Statement signed by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and President Barack Obama in Washington, July 2015, the two sides affirmed the principle “Respecting each other’s political system, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity”. This is both the foundation for the relations and the criteria for the two sides to resolve all differences, deepening bilateral relations for peace, prosperity, and happiness of the two peoples. That is also the basis for us to wipe out all hate of the hostile forces, which only focus on differences to undermine the US-Vietnam relations. Nevertheless, they will certainly fail if they continue their evil plots and actions.

Vinh Hien

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August Revolution – Victory of the aspiration for independence, peace and development
Despite the time, the values of the August Revolution in 1945, the achievements of the cause of national construction and defence with the aspiration for independence, peace and development are still a great motivation for our people to step firmly on the way to build Vietnam with rich people, strong country, democracy, justice and civilisation.