People-to-people exchanges crucial to VN-US rapprochement

The cooperation between Vietnamese and US nationals plays a crucial component in the normalisation of relations between the two countries, according to outcomes from a forum held in Hanoi on January 27.

The forum is part of activities to mark the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

According to Vice President of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Marsha Four, people-to-people relationships are fundamental to increasing mutual understanding between the two countries.

The forum created opportunities for participants to review coordination programmes and initiatives from recent years, and to seek new ways to propel multi-faceted cooperation between Vietnam and the US within the framework of their comprehensive partnership, said Chairman of the Vietnam-US Association Nguyen Tam Chien.

Participants agreed that over the past two decades, Vietnam and the US have seen positive developments across politics and security, trade and investment, interpersonal exchange, education and the environment. Notably, trade between the two nations exceeded US$30 billion in 2014, 130 times that of 1994.

They reviewed the implementation of programmes and initiatives to address the aftermath of war in Vietnam , such as unexploded ordnances and Agent Orange (AO)/Dioxin contamination.

They noted that Vietnam and the US are collaborating on a dioxin clean up at the Danang Airport , a known dioxin ‘hot spot’ with high levels of soil contamination, while enacting measures to support AO/dioxin victims.

The Vietnamese Government has established a steering committee to address bomb and mine consequences and allocated significant funding to disarming unexploded ordnances and supporting victims.

However, with large contaminated surface areas and financial shortages, Vietnam hopes to receive more human, financial and technical support from global partners, including the US , to address these concerns.

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