Vietnam and the US on September 25 marked the 25th anniversary of their cooperation in searching for remains of US servicemen who died during the war in Vietnam.
The commemorating ceremony was held in Hanoi jointly by the Vietnam Office for Seeking Missing Personnel and US Department of Defence’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command.
Addressing the event, Deputy Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc made it clear that the MIA search was the first field of cooperation between the two countries after the war ended, which laid the initial foundation for the normalisation of Vietnam-US relations in 1995. Cooperative activities in this fields are still contributing to the multifaceted cooperation between the two countries, he said.
He affirmed Vietnam ’s policy to put the past aside and look to the future, opening up a new chapter of friendship and cooperation in the two countries’ relations.
The senior diplomat asked the US side to increase support for Vietnam in solving war legacies such as bomb and mine clearance, Agent Orange detoxification and search for Vietnamese soldiers’ remains, adding that Vietnam appreciates the assistance the US has provided in these fields over the past time.
He said cooperation in humanitarian activities will continue to be the two countries’ priority, especially when the two sides have established a comprehensive partnership.
US Ambassador to Vietnam David B. Shear expressed thanks to Vietnamese Government for its effective cooperation over the past 25 years in searching and recovering the remains of US servicemen missing in the war, expressing his hope to continue cooperating with the country in the pursuit for the shared humanitarian objective.
He also briefed the attendees on the fine development of the two countries’ all-rounded ties, expressing wish that the two sides will deepen ties across the board between the US and Vietnam.
Major General Kelly McKeague from the US Department of Defence and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, recognised the valuable support from Vietnamese Government as well as provincial authorities and people of Vietnam in the search for missing service members from the war.
“Without extending your hand in friendship and overcoming the legacy of war, our successes of the past 25 years would not have been possible,” he said, adding that the US is not alone in this humanitarian mission, as an estimated 300,000 Vietnamese who lost their lives still remain unaccounted for.
He said the US is pleased to provide information in its possession or discovered by researchers in the US archives that could be helpful in Vietnam ’s efforts to identify the dead.
Ann Mills Griffiths, Chairman of the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, in her letter sent to the ceremony, expressed her deep appreciation for the cooperation Vietnam has provided in the humanitarian work over the decades.
She affirmed the joint success of Vietnam and the US in the field has set an example for countries to work constructively together in a spirit of humanitarian cooperation and good will.-VN