SECRETARY BLINKEN:  It’s very good to be with you, and thank you, Prime Minister, for being here.  I just wanted to say at the outset that we have seen a remarkable trajectory in the relationship between the United States and Vietnam, and we are now the strongest of partners, with a shared vision for security in the region we share and for the strongest possible economic ties.  And, of course, the United States very much supports a strong, independent, prosperous Vietnam.  We’re so glad to have you here, Mr. Prime Minister, for this extraordinary ASEAN meeting but also on a bilateral basis, so welcome and thank you for being here.

PRIME MINISTER PHAM:  (Via interpreter) Well, thank you very much for taking the time to come here and have a working session with me and my delegation.  Why I mentioned the mask – it is my congratulations to you for being very successful curbing – (laughter) – curbing the pandemic and to prepare for the recovery and the reopening up, and to realize the goal that you have set out.

And we are very grateful to the support of the international community, including the U.S., especially for the donation of vaccines and health care equipment.  At the moment, we have been able to put the pandemic under control, just like the U.S.  And during the visit by Vice President Kamala Harris, we asked her for the vaccines, and she – upon coming back, she has worked with President Biden and the work has been very effective with regard to the vaccine, and we are very thankful.

And through the COVID-19 pandemic, we see that global issues or whole-of-people issues requires global approach, and international solidarity, and the promotion of multilateralism.  And it is very important that we address the issues that are – that concern the whole of people.  It (inaudible), but I’m being very sincere here with you…

(Ends in progress.)



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