Ambassador Kritenbrink Remarks: Government of Vietnam Mask Donation Press Event

Thursday, April 16, 2020
Office of the Government, 1 Hoang Hoa Tham, Hanoi

Thank you for inviting me here today. Like all of you, my colleagues and I have been carefully following recommended guidance on social distancing to do our part in the fight against COVID-19. As a result, this is actually my first public event in quite a few weeks. This is of course very important, and I am pleased to represent President Trump and the American people here today.

First of all, I would like to commend the Government of Vietnam, which has done an outstanding job in leading the COVID-19 response and has been proactive, cooperative, and transparent. From the very beginning, Vietnam took a proactive approach, with nationwide efforts to identify all cases, locate and quarantine contacts, provide the necessary laboratory testing, engage the community, provide timely information to the public, and draw on dedicated human and physical resources in both the hospital and clinical settings, and in the public health fieldwork for effective response. These efforts have paid off, with substantial control and limited disease impact even more than three months into the epidemic.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of bilateral relations between our two countries. We have planned many activities and events to mark this important milestone by highlighting the breadth and depth of this relationship, and underscore how far we have come.

While today’s event was certainly not part of our original plans to celebrate the remarkable progress our two countries have made over the past 25 years, I don’t think anything could better demonstrate the strong partnership between the United States and Vietnam more than what we are doing here today.

Fighting COVID-19 together has shown the U.S.-Vietnam partnership for what it is – strong, resilient, and multi-faceted. The long-term collaboration by health officials in our two countries means that since the first days of this crisis, the U.S. and Vietnam have been working together to monitor and respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation.

I find it particularly gratifying that Vietnam’s donation of face masks includes 200,000 that were made by Hanes Vietnam’s Hung Yen factory. Hanes, a U.S.-based employer of 12,000 Vietnamese workers, quickly and efficiently re-tooled its factories to produce cotton masks for non-medical use. And chances are better than not that these masks are made of U.S. cotton!

Today, I have the great honor to receive this generous gesture of friendship from the Vietnamese Government on behalf of President Trump and the people of the United States.

To the Government and people of Vietnam, I say thank you. The United States and Vietnam have built a strong, comprehensive partnership. In times of crisis, partners stand together, and the United States and Vietnam stand together in the fight against COVID-19.