U.S., Vietnam Interests ‘Aligned’ Amid Some Tensions, Says U.S. Envoy

U.S. and Vietnam have almost “completely aligned” interests over regional security and stability while tensions over human rights and trade and economic relations exist, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink said during an online talk.

“I think that our interests and our vision of the kind of region and world in which we want to live is almost completely aligned,” Kritenbrink said during a virtual talk sponsored by the Miller Center, an affiliate of the University of Virginia. “The United States and Vietnam both want to live in a stable, prosperous region where countries obey and follow international law, where large countries do not bully the weak, where countries trade freely and openly.”

U.S., Vietnam Interests ‘Aligned’ Amid Some Tensions, Says U.S. Envoy

Economic and trade relations between the two countries will remain a central focus of the U.S., he said. Washington has concerns about market access to the Southeast Asian country for U.S. companies, Kritenbrink said.

The U.S. Treasury in December designated Vietnam as a currency manipulator. Vietnam’s central bank maintains it doesn’t use the exchange rate “to create an unfair competitive advantage in international trade.”

The Biden administration is focused on protecting the interest of U.S. workers and exporters, Kritenbrink said.

Human rights, “a central part” of U.S. engagement with Vietnam, is also an area of friction between the two countries, he said.

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