Thursday, March 5, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Tien Sa Port, Danang
[Insert VNG and Danang VIP names], Admiral John Aquilino, Rear Admiral Stuart Baker, and other distinguished guests, good afternoon. My name is Daniel Kritenbrink and I am the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam.
It is a true honor to join you today to welcome the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group to Danang. This visit follows on the historic 2018 visit of USS Carl Vinson, the first U.S. aircraft carrier to visit Vietnam in more than 40 years. It also comes at an important time in our bilateral relationship as we mark 25 years of U.S.-Vietnam diplomatic relations.
It is remarkable to consider the progress the United States and Vietnam have made over those last 25 years. When relations were normalized in 1995, our two countries had nearly no trade and very limited people-to-people connections. Today, the relationship is the strongest it has ever been. We enjoy a strong and mutually beneficial comprehensive partnership, with our bilateral relationship on an increasingly positive trajectory.
Ship visits are a powerful symbol of the robust relationship our two countries share. They are also evidence of the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific where strong, independent nations respect one another’s sovereignty, and uphold the rule of law.
Of course, defense cooperation is not only about security. Freedom of navigation ensures the free flow of trade in the Indo-Pacific sea-lanes, which is vital to the economies of the United States, Vietnam, and the region as a whole.
Our partnership with Vietnam is a crucial element of our Indo-Pacific Strategy, especially as Vietnam assumes an increasingly larger role in regional and global issues.
As we celebrate 25 years of partnership in 2020, let us renew our commitment to work together to ensure a bright future full of peace and prosperity for the American and Vietnamese people. We have a slogan for celebrating the 25th Anniversary of U.S.-Vietnam relations: “Trusted Partners Prosper Together.”
Thank you to all who helped make this visit possible, including our colleagues at the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I would also like to give special thanks to the Danang government, who has so warmly welcomed numerous U.S. ships to its port.
Thank you again. I look forward to your questions.