Thank you for joining us aboard the USNS Mercy this afternoon and for being a part of today’s historic collaboration between the Governments of the United States and Vietnam. During the sixth iteration of Pacific Partnership in Vietnam, we have together rebuilt medical clinics, shared medical expertise and best practices and, today, witnessed and participated in a joint disaster assistance drill on land and here at sea.
If you don’t know this already, let me clearly state that these cooperative activities are unprecedented and most certainly unimaginable when I first served in Vietnam nearly 20 years ago!
That said, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief is and will remain a priority of both of our countries. In a year during which we mark the 20th anniversary of normalized relations, we have advanced our partnership further by enhancing our capacity to jointly respond to crises, to care for the injured and to protect our communities and families. In this region, we must talk about when – and not just if – a natural disaster strikes.
Based on everything I’ve witnessed and participated in today, I am convinced that we have translated lofty words and ideals into concrete actions from which many Vietnamese have and will continue to benefit.
Lastly, let me extend my appreciation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Health and, especially, the Danang People’s Committee for their support, participation and cooperation. As I often say and based on what I’ve seen today, nothing is impossible!