Readout of Secretary Mattis' Meeting With Vietnam Minister of National Defense
Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana W. White provided the following readout:
Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis met with Vietnam Minister of National Defense Ngo Xuan Lich during an official visit to Vietnam on January 25, 2018. This is the sixth visit to Vietnam by a United States Secretary of Defense and follows Defense Minister Lich's official visit to Washington, D.C., in August 2017.
The Secretary and Defense Minister discussed the regional security environment and committed to enhance defense cooperation based on the three-year plan of action agreed upon in October 2017, with a focus on maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and peacekeeping operations.
Consistent with the growing defense relationship, both leaders agreed to work toward a visit by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to Da Nang in March 2018. They also noted recent progress on the Cooperative Humanitarian and Medical Storage Initiative (CHAMSI) and robust Coast Guard cooperation, including the arrival of a former United States Coast Guard cutter in Vietnam in December.
Secretary Mattis highlighted the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which reaffirms the United States' commitment to work with partners such as Vietnam to sustain the rules-based order in a free and open Indo-Pacific region. He said the United States would continue to assist Vietnam's efforts to deploy a medical unit to the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in the South Sudan later this year. He also expressed appreciation for Vietnam's close support to the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency (DPAA) mission in Hanoi as it works to recover U.S. personnel missing from the war. The Secretary committed to working with Vietnam to address remaining legacy of war issues.
The two leaders agreed that a strong U.S.-Vietnam defense relationship promotes regional and global security. This relationship is based on mutual respect and common interests, including freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and recognition of national sovereignty.