Clinton hails Vietnam's rising regional profile

HA NOI - Viet Nam's top leaders yesterday received US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said she saw Viet Nam's increasingly important role in the Lower Mekong sub-Region and Southeast Asia.

Clinton is on her third visit to the country in three years as America's top diplomat, before heading to Cambodia later this week for an annual security meeting that will include foreign ministers from 25 Asia-Pacific nations and the European Union.

In her meeting with Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Clinton expressed her joy to be back in Viet Nam.

Strong development between the two countries in economics, trade, education and training were encouraging American enterprises to invest in Viet Nam, she said.

The Party leader said he was also happy with the advancement of bilateral ties since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1995.

The US was an important partner of Viet Nam, said Trong, who suggested more co-operation in economics, trade, investment, technology, education and training, the environment and climate change mitigation.

In the meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Clinton spoke highly of Viet Nam's socio-economic development achievements.

The US Secretary of State said that the two sides needed to continue discussions on upgrading their relationship to the level of strategic partners.

She affirmed that the US Government pledged to respect Viet Nam's independence and sovereignty, and supported a developed and prosperous Viet Nam with an important role in regional and international arenas.

Applauding Clinton's visit, Dung expressed his pleasure with the results of the Vietnamese-US relationship, which he said had brought benefits to both nations.

He affirmed that the two sides should continue their efforts to promote bilateral ties on the basis of respecting independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, as well as contributing to peace, stability and development in the region and the world at large.

The US Secretary of State expressed her concurrence with Dung's viewpoints.

Dung and Clinton also exchanged views on recent developments in the East Sea and Greater Mekong Sub-region co-operation. They emphasised the importance of maintaining peace, stability and co-operation as well as ensuring maritime freedom, security and safety in the East Sea.

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