Commander of United States Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris Visits Hanoi

Vietnam People’s Army, Chief of the General Staff and Deputy Minister of National Defense, Lt. Gen. Phan Van Giang, left, and Adm. Harry Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, render honors during an honor ceremony at the Ministry of National Defense.

HANOI, October 27, 2016 – Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, met with Vietnam People’s Army Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Phan Van Giang, Vice Chairman of the Communist Party External Relations Commission, Tran Dac Loi, and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Le Hoai Trung while in Hanoi on October 26.

During his meetings, Adm. Harris reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to strengthening bilateral relations and enhancing Vietnam’s capability and capacity, particularly in the areas of maritime security and law enforcement.

Admiral Harris praised recent U.S.-Vietnamese military cooperation for humanitarian aid and disaster relief training and support to multinational peacekeeping.  Adm. Harris also praised U.S.-Vietnamese cooperation in continuing to address war-legacy issues including accounting of missing service personnel, and continued efforts to reduce the threats of unexploded ordnance.

During the remainder of the visit, Adm. Harris will travel to Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, and inaugurate a Vietnamese Coast Guard maintenance and boat haul-out facility in Command Region 2, Quang Nam, developed in coordination with the United States.

Background on U.S.-Vietnam Military Cooperation:

Pacific Partnership: Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. The visit by the USNS Mercy to Vietnam saw improved U.S. and Vietnamese military cooperation during a live search and rescue training event on the Han River in Danang, which also included Vietnam People’s navy ship Khanh Hoa (K-123) and crew members from JDS Shimokita. Pacific Partnership underscores the deepening relationship between the United States, partner nations and Vietnam.

Naval Engagement Activity Vietnam: Naval Engagement Activity Vietnam (NEA) is a multi-day bilateral naval engagement ashore and at sea.  NEA 2016 included the participation of destroyer USS John S. McCain and submarine tender USS Frank Cable and focused on non-combatant events and included symposia in military medicine and maritime law, subject matter expert exchanges in navigation, shipboard medicine and damage control, and community service events including multiple performances by the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet rock band, Orient Express.

Pacific Angel: Pacific Angel supports capacity-building efforts to ensure that the region’s militaries are prepared to work together to address humanitarian crises in case of natural disasters. During Pacific Angel 16-2, U.S., Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian and Australian medical professionals carried out humanitarian assistance/civil-military activities by working together to bring medical care to Kampot, Cambodia.

Joint Personnel Accounting: Since 1985, U.S.-Vietnamese joint personnel accounting cooperation, through the Defense Prisoner of War / Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Accounting Agency and its predecessors and the Vietnam Office for Seeking Missing Persons, has helped account for over 700 Americans from Vietnam and over 1,000 in total from Southeast Asia.

Dioxin Remediation: The United States and Vietnam jointly commemorated the start of the second and final phase of thermal treatment at the Danang Airport on October 18.  This phase will remediate a second batch of approximately 45,000 cubic meters of dioxin-contaminated soil and sediment. President Obama pledged to make a significant contribution to dioxin remediation efforts at Bien Hoa Airport during his May visit to Vietnam.

Humanitarian Mine Action: With programming across the country that supports a wide range of activities from victims’ assistance, risk education, capacity building, and survey and clearance of unexploded ordnance, the United States is the largest single donor to address the threats posed by unexploded ordnance in Vietnam and has contributed over $92 million since 1993.