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FOREIGN MINISTER SON:  Mr. Secretary, it is really a good moment in the relationship to welcome you back to Hanoi, your first official visit as Secretary of State to Vietnam.  We attach a great importance to your visit and worked very hard, closely with your team, and ambassador here to prepare for the visit, especially when you come when we are now preparing for the celebration of 10 years of Comprehensive Partnership.  I know it’s with great pleasure that the progress we have made in the past 28 years of our relationship (inaudible) key areas of our Comprehensive Partnership, and including high-level visits, trade, economic ties, advancing world leadership, people-to-people exchanges, and addressing digital and international issues. 

Vietnam stands ready to work closely with you to enhance the (inaudible) substance, as well as effectiveness of our ties in accordance with the guidelines that our two top leaders have agreed.  And once again, warmly welcome you Secretary – your Excellency to Vietnam.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, thank you very, very much to my friend, Foreign Minister Son.  It’s particularly good to be with you.  It’s wonderful to be back here in the ministry.  I remember so well being here as deputy secretary of state back in 2015 and 2016, but it’s a particular pleasure to be back as Secretary of State and to be able to spend time with friends, especially at a time of, I think, such importance in our relationship – as you’ve mentioned, 28 years but also 10 years now of our Comprehensive Partnership, where together we have built a very strong foundation for relations between Vietnam and the United States.  And we now have an opportunity, I hope, to take it to an even higher level in the weeks and months ahead.

The work that we’re doing on climate, on energy, on digital transformation, science and technology, education, so many other areas, offer tremendous promise for both of our people.  And our shared commitment to a rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific and around the world is of ever greater significance when that rules-based order is being challenged, but we both stand forthrightly together for it.

We’ve had a wonderful opportunity just a short while ago together to break ground on the new embassy.  I can’t tell you how pleased I am to be able to take part in that.  It really is two things.  It’s symbolic of the importance that we attach to the relationship.  It’s also going to be a very practical manifestation of the work we’re doing together because we are working together across so many different areas.  Having an even more robust embassy here will facilitate that work, and we look forward to that.

But in the meantime, thank you for today.  Thank you for the incredible warmth of your hospitality and that of your colleagues.  We look forward to getting down to work. 

FOREIGN MINISTER SON:  Thank you very much.

U.S. Department of State

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