PRIME MINISTER NGUYEN: (Via translator) Mr. Secretary, it’s a great pleasure to welcome you back to Vietnam. I wish you another successful trip on behalf of the government and people of Vietnam. And on behalf of the government and people of Vietnam, I’m very much thankful to you for your many (inaudible) and contributions that you have made to move the bilateral relations forward in the past several decades.
The people of Vietnam will always remember you as a steadfast friend who has made many efforts to heal the relations that has undergone many ups and downs (inaudible), and to bring our relationship to the comprehensive partnership as we have today.
And I’d say that the Vietnam-U.S. relations have expanded with greater substance over bilateral, regional, and national frameworks, and this has benefited both nations and contributed to maintain the peace, stability, cooperation, and prosperity in this region.
I had a telephone conversation with the President-elect, Donald Trump, and I congratulated him, and we discussed ways to move the relations forward in the time to come, and on the basis of what we have achieved together. Vietnam will continue to cooperate with the new administration to make sure that (inaudible) with greater substance (inaudible), under a stable and long term framework.
And in this reception I’m joined by the minister and chairman of the office of the prime minister, and from the ministry of foreign affairs, and several other relevant agencies.
So, Mr. State Secretary, once again, I would like to warmly welcome you back to Vietnam as a big friend (inaudible).
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very much. Thank you to all of your team, and thank you for a generous welcome back to Vietnam. Let me begin by wishing all of you and all the Vietnamese people a very happy new year.
Mr. Prime Minister, you mentioned the number of decades that I have worked on this issue. And I want to thank you and your predecessors for moving the relationship between the United States and Vietnam to a very different place.
Our countries have worked hard to put the past into the past and to define a different future. We are now cooperating on security issues, we are cooperating tremendously on economic issues, and just today a $5 million agreement was signed with Exxon to explore and develop gas and fuel possibilities. In addition to that, we have worked very hard on our trade agreements and I’m confident that the next administration is going to look for ways to increase the economic cooperation between our nations.
Before the press — could I ask the press just to stay one minute, please? Just — I want to make sure — there is one comment I want to make and I wanted them to be clear about it. One of the most important things we are doing is the development of the Fulbright University. And this is a huge sign of the change in the relationship with the United States. And one of the principal reasons that I’m here in this last visit as Secretary is to take the next step in the development of that university, which is really the primary example of the way in which our countries are now cooperating and moving to a very different place.
So, Mr. Prime Minister, I certainly intend to continue as a citizen after I finish this job shortly to continue to work on our relationship. And I thank you very, very much for the decisions your government has made to try to improve the strength of the partnership between us. Thank you.
Source: U.S. State Department.