Over the last few decades, the relationship between Vietnam and the United States has undergone a remarkable transformation. From a period of conflict and strain to a time of growing partnership and mutual respect, the ties between these two nations have evolved, backed by compelling data and significant milestones.
From Normalization to Partnership
The normalization of relations between the US and Vietnam in July 1995 marked a turning point in their shared history. It signified a mutual willingness to lay the groundwork for a future of diplomatic and economic cooperation.
Eighteen years later, in July 2013, another significant milestone was reached. President Truong Tan Sang of Vietnam visited the US, and the two nations announced the establishment of a comprehensive partnership. This partnership provided a framework to guide relations and cooperation across a wide range of areas.
High-Level Dialogue and Visits
In July 2015, General Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong visited the US, marking the first visit by a General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam to the US. This visit underscored the strengthening of diplomatic ties, paving the way for future high-level engagements.
In March 2023, General Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong held a dialogue with US President Joe Biden. This dialogue underscored the continued commitment of both nations to deepen their comprehensive partnership and collaborate on regional and global challenges.
Trade and Economic Ties
The US-Vietnam economic relationship has seen a steady increase in both exports and imports over the years. In 2022, trade between the two countries reached an impressive $96.2 billion, solidifying the US as Vietnam’s second-largest trade partner and Vietnam as the ninth-largest trade partner of the US.
US Investment in Vietnam
US investment in Vietnam has also grown significantly. As of June 2023, the US was the 11th largest source of foreign direct investment in Vietnam, with a total of 10.5 billion USD invested in over 1,270 projects.
The exchange of people and cultures between the US and Vietnam has also been vibrant. Pre-COVID-19, the number of US visitors to Vietnam was increasing annually, reaching a peak of 746,100 in 2019. Although the numbers dipped due to the pandemic, they started recovering in 2022.
Moreover, the number of Vietnamese students studying in the US has grown consistently. Vietnam ranked fifth for the number of students studying in the US in 2022, with 24,392 students choosing American institutions for their studies.
War Legacy Reconciliation
Efforts to address war legacy issues have been a unique aspect of the US-Vietnam relationship. Since 1988, joint efforts have led to the retrieval of the remains of over 730 missing US soldiers.
Additionally, large-scale dioxin decontamination projects have been undertaken at Da Nang Airport from 2012 to 2018 and Bien Hoa Airport since 2019. These projects, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), have significantly reduced the risk of dioxin exposure to local communities.
The evolution of US-Vietnam relations is a compelling narrative of resilience, reconciliation, and mutual growth. It’s more than a series of milestones and events—it’s a testament to the enduring power of diplomacy and mutual respect. As we look to the future, the story of US-Vietnam relations is set to continue on this path of fostering even deeper ties in trade, diplomacy, and people-to-people connections.