Việt Nam suggests cooperation with US in COVID-19 vaccine production

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Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Hà Kim Ngọc. — Photo from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Hà Kim Ngọc held phone talks with Ami Bera, a Democratic congressman representing California and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on April 5.

Ngọc congratulated Bera on his re-election as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation, highly valuing the latter’s contributions to the development of the US’ ties with Việt Nam and other ASEAN countries.

Both sides noted with satisfaction the great strides in the Việt Nam-US Comprehensive Partnership and expressed optimism about the outlook for bilateral relations in the future.

Ambassador Ngọc proposed the US increase support for Southeast Asian countries to access COVID-19 vaccines, cooperate with Việt Nam in transferring vaccine production technology and licensing and manufacturing vaccines, and promote cooperation to ensure effective and sustainable supply chains.

For his part, Bera applauded the Vietnamese Government and people’s success in the fight against COVID-19 and agreed to foster ties to keep supply chains stable.

The congressman said as a doctor, he understands the need for vaccine access for all people, adding that he will discuss with the US administration about the possibility of cooperation in vaccine production as suggested by Việt Nam.

He agreed with Ngọc that the two countries should maintain constructive dialogue to resolve outstanding problems, including the US Trade Representative Office wrapping up the “Section 301” investigation and not taking any action unfavourable to bilateral trade and investment.

Voicing his concern about the escalation of violence and discrimination against people of Asian descent, including Vietnamese, Ngọc asked Bera and all-level administrations and parliaments, especially those in California, to carry out effective measures to ensure security, safety, and access to healthcare, education, employment, and other social welfare services for the Vietnamese community.

Bera noted that he opposes racial discrimination and pledged to keep working with Việt Nam and other countries to deal with this issue.

During the talks, the two sides also discussed the enhancement of the ASEAN-US Strategic Partnership in some regionally important issues.

The Vietnamese diplomat applauded the US’ commitment to maintaining the fundamental principles to secure rules-based maritime order, including the adherence to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

He called on the US administration and congress to pay more attention to and reserve more resources for effectively implementing the Mekong-US Partnership.

Affirming the importance of the East Sea (known internationally as the South China Sea), Bera expressed his concern over the recent developments in the East Sea, showing support for ensuring navigation freedom, maritime security and safety, the rule of law, as well as regional peace and stability.

The congressman also affirmed that his country advocates efforts by ASEAN, including Việt Nam, to seek peaceful solutions to the Myanmar issue.

In response to Ambassador Ngọc’s invitation, he noted the wish to visit Việt Nam and the region once the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control.

The phone talks followed an array of recent discussions between the Vietnamese Embassy and the administration of President Joe Biden and the 117th Congress of the US. — VNS

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