The following is a joint statement issued following the 2011 U.S.-Vietnam Political, Security, and Defense Dialogue.
Marking the fourth annual U.S.-Vietnam Political, Security, and Defense Dialogue, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro and Standing Vice Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh met June 17, 2011, in Washington D.C. to discuss bilateral and regional security issues. The talks reflect heightened cooperation between the United States and Vietnam and build upon the success of the third Dialogue that was held in Hanoi, Vietnam in June 2010.
During the Dialogue, the two sides noted with satisfaction progress that has been made in recent years in all areas of the bilateral relationship, helping consolidate the framework of friendship and multifaceted and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the bilateral relationship based on friendship, mutual respect, and shared commitments to ensure a peaceful, stable, prosperous, and secure Asia Pacific region. The participants discussed measures to further strengthen cooperation in multiple areas including nonproliferation, counterterrorism, counternarcotics, POW-MIA accounting, addressing dioxin and Agent Orange issues, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and other areas of defense and security cooperation. With regard to regional forums, the two sides exchanged ideas on the promotion of U.S.-ASEAN cooperation and issues concerning the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting – Plus (ADMM+), and the East Asia Summit (EAS).
The two sides also discussed shared interests in working toward a strategic partnership, a theme of the relationship that was reaffirmed during Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Hanoi in October 2010. Vietnam and the United States affirmed that cooperation with respect to international and regional security challenges is a natural evolution of mutual and maturing political, economic, cultural, and social ties and helps to cement the economic prosperity of both countries.
Delegates from both sides discussed recent developments in the South China Sea. The two sides acknowledged that the maintenance of peace, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is in the common interests of the international community and that all territorial disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved through a collaborative, diplomatic process without coercion or the use of force. The two sides noted territorial and accompanying maritime claims should be in conformity with recognized principles of international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982. The two sides reaffirmed the importance of the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and encouraged the parties to reach agreement on a full code of conduct. The U.S. side reiterated that troubling incidents in recent months do not foster peace and stability within the region, and raise concerns about maritime security, especially with regard to freedom of navigation, unimpeded economic development and commerce under lawful conditions, and respect for international law.
Taking place in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding, the Dialogue helped strengthen and deepen friendship and cooperation between the two countries. The fifth Dialogue will take place in Hanoi in 2012.