Carter Signs Joint Vision Statement In Vietnam

During a stop in Vietnam, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter signed a “joint vision statement” with his Vietnamese counterpart, and promised to expand the nascent defense trade between the two nations. After last year’s decision to partially lift the ban on arms sales to the country, Carter said both countries are now committed “for the first time to operate together, step up our defense trade, and to work toward co-production.” He said the joint vision will help with this process. Carter, who noted that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with Hanoi, said his meetings with Vietnamese officials centered on legacy issues related to the Vietnam War, support for Vietnamese “peacekeeping training and operations,” and cooperation on matters such as search and rescue training and humanitarian assistance capacity building. Carter reiterated his calls for “all countries” to cease militarized reclamation activities in the South China Sea, and promised to continue US support for Vietnamese maritime security capabilities. During the visit, Carter said the US will provide $18 million to assist the country in purchasing American Metal Shark coast guard patrol vessels.