A U.S. Congressional delegation led by Senator Patrick Leahy (Democrat-Vermont) visited Hanoi on April 17 – 18. The delegation discussed war legacy issues, trade relations, human rights, and regional security matters with Government of Vietnam officials and members of civil society.
Sen. Leahy and the delegation met with Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Truong Tan Sang, Chairman of the National Assembly Nguyen Sinh Hung, and Minister of National Defense General Phung Quang Thanh to discuss a broad range of bilateral and regional issues.
Accompanying Sen. Leahy were Sen. Richard Shelby (Republican-Alabama), Sen. Mike Crapo (Republican-Idaho), Rep. Jim Cooper (Democrat-Tennessee), and Rep. Peter Welch (Democrat-Vermont).
In a speech to more than 100 students at Vietnam National University School of Law on April 17, Sen. Leahy said, “Recently, your government carried out a consultative process on your own constitution. I expect you will study the words in your constitution, and debate their meaning and the importance they hold for you and for Vietnam’s development. I hope you will use what you learn at this great university and from interacting with your peers in other countries, to give real meaning to those words.”
Sen. Leahy first visited Vietnam in 1996 to address the needs of victims of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) that continue to kill and injure civilians. Sen. Leahy met with UXO stakeholders to discuss ways the United States can further support Vietnam’s efforts.
The delegation concluded the Hanoi portion of the trip with a visit to the new American Center to engage in a frank discussion on the Vietnam of today with U.S. Government exchange program alumni and civil society members.
The delegation will continue on to Danang to observe USG efforts to remediate dioxin and assist persons with disabilities.
For pictures from the delegation’s visit, please click here.