Tuesday, August 19, 2014

US committed to ties to ‘strong' VN

General Martin E. Dempsey. — Photo thanhnien.com.vn


August 18, 2014

HCM CITY (VNS) — The US is committed to becoming a partner of a "strong, independent, and prosperous" Viet Nam, General Martin E. Dempsey, visiting chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the media in HCM City on Saturday.

Dempsey, who was on a four-day official visit, said he discussed with Vietnamese interlocutors ways to advance five areas of mutual interest and commitment — key leaders' visits, maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping, and search and rescue.



Asked about his country's role in maintaining maritime security in the East Sea, he told Viet Nam News: "A subset of maritime security is maritime domain awareness."

"So we discussed what capabilities they need in order to maintain maritime domain awareness.

"We are encouraging many of our ASEAN partners and friends to take a multi-national approach to maritime security and maritime domain awareness.

"There is a Center of Excellence for Maritime Domain Awareness in Singapore that we are encouraging our Viet Nam partners to participate in because it gives you a much broader view than just what happens to sit in your own territorial waters.

"Then there are capabilities that we are in discussion: Whether it is patrol boats or intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets. So it is a broad array of capabilities.

"We are encouraging many of our ASEAN partners and friends to take a multi-national approach to maritime security and maritime domain awareness.

"Our advice is that we look at this regionally, not simply country by country, and we are working our way forward in that spirit."

Asked how the US would ensure peace and stability in the region after China rejected a US-Philippine proposal to stop provocative actions in the East Sea, he said: "We have been very clear that we do not take sides in territorial disputes, but we do care very much about how they are resolved. They should not be resolved through the use of force.

"I think fundamentally we would all agree that a stronger ASEAN response, which is to say a stronger multi-national response, is really what is appropriate; not necessarily what the United States intend to do about it."

Asked where he sees Viet Nam-US ties headed, he said: "How do you see Viet Nam being 45 years ahead? What kind of partner do you see Viet Nam being? It is a very big nation, it is strong, it has got this big border, geographically very strategic next to China.

"Viet Nam is uniquely and importantly positioned as the 13th largest nation in the world, the second largest producer of rice and other agricultural commodities.

"It sits between Northeast Asia, it is in Southeast Asia, but it is also kind of the, let us call it the springboard into the Indo-Pacific region.

"So I do see Viet Nam as occupying a key geostrategic position in this region of the world.

"I even suggest that as goes Viet Nam, in terms of managing its maritime resources and managing the territorial disputes. As goes Viet Nam, I think as goes the East Sea.

"The United States has correctly identified that in the future the demographic, economic, diplomatic and security issues of the day will be principally in this region of the world. By 2050, if the projections are correct, there will be nine billion people on the planet. Seven billion of them will live in the Indo-Pacific region"

"Well, where the people are is where the issues are. So again, trying to be strategic and take a longer look, this rebalancing to the Pacific that we announced a couple of years ago … would be something managed over time.

Replying to a question on the ban on sales of lethal weapons to Viet Nam, he said: "For the lethal weapons ban, this is managed by our Department of State. But my military advice is that, if it is lifted, we begin with assets that would make the People's Navy more capable in the maritime domain.

"I think the maritime domain is the place of our greatest common interest right now, common security."

He emphasised that the US and Viet Nam have common interests in the East Sea relating to freedom of navigation, open and free access to markets, and international order.

"And when these things are threatened, then we have no choice as a community of nations.

"But what we are seeking to do, I think, is to encourage greater collaboration among multinational organisations for the purpose of protecting and promoting those three principles.

"And in so doing I think in my view a strong and independent Viet Nam is actually an important piece of that puzzle that happens to be the East Sea." — VNS


Source: http://vietnamnews.vn/politics-laws/258961/us-committed-to-ties-to-%E2%80%98strong-vn.html

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