Speech by Ambassador Daniel J. Kritenbrink
Completion Announcement and Land Handover Ceremony
USAID Environmental Remediation of Dioxin Contamination at Danang Airport Project
VIP Terminal, Danang International Airport
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
I’m Dan Kritenbrink, American Ambassador to Vietnam, and I am deeply honored to participate in today’s historic event.
To Vice Minister and Senior Lieutenant General Nguyễn Chí Vịnh, Major General Bùi Anh Chung, and other representatives from the Ministry of National Defense,
Vice Minister Lê Đình Thọ and representatives from Ministry of Transportation,
Vice Director General Hoàng Văn Thức and representatives from Vietnam Environmental Authority,
Vice Chairman Nguyễn Ngọc Tuấn and representatives from the Danang People’s Committee,
Col. Thân Thành Công and representatives from Office 701,
Distinguished guests and members of the Press:
Good morning and thank you for your contributions to this historic achievement and to making today’s ceremony possible. I particularly want to thank Vice Minister Nguyễn Chí Vịnh for co-hosting this event so that we can celebrate our remarkable joint achievement.
We are proud to announce the successful completion of dioxin remediation at Danang Airport. Approximately 90,000 cubic meters of contaminated soil is now clean of dioxin, as tested and verified by scientists from both the United States and Vietnamese Governments. As a result, over 30 hectares of airport land has been made safe for use in ongoing airport expansion.
Successful completion of this project is a significant milestone in the expanding partnership between our two great nations. As the monument outside this terminal will commemorate, “We did this in partnership, learning from each other, to accomplish an historic scientific and diplomatic achievement.” This Project truly is a hallmark of our countries’ shared vision to be honest about the past, deal responsibly with remaining legacy issues, and turn a point of contention into one of collaboration. Working together to resolve issues of the past builds strategic trust, and enables us to further strengthen our forward-looking partnership that advances shared interests and strong people-to-people ties.
Today, I am exceptionally proud to be a part of the final return of Project land and treated soil to the Ministry of Defense and onward to the Airport Corporation of Vietnam. This will enable additional expansion of the airport and bring additional economic opportunity to the great city of Danang.
Looking ahead, USAID and the Ministry of National Defense will use lessons learned in Danang and continue close collaboration to remediate the final major dioxin hot spot at Bien Hoa Airbase.
In the spirit of friendship and mutual respect, the United States Government remains committed to collaborating with the Government of Vietnam to put to rest this legacy of war, freeing our people’s hearts and minds to focus on our shared future together.
The United States of course looks forward to continuing to being Vietnam’s partner, as we work toward our shared goal of supporting a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam.
Thank you very much.