Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today delivered the following statement at a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam:
“I am Senator John McCain, and it is always a pleasure to be back in Vietnam. I am joined by my colleague Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.
“We have come to Hanoi at an important time: Next year is the 20th anniversary of the normalization of our relations. For those of us involved in that process, the progress we have made in this time has been astounding. At the same time, we recognize that we can do so much more together as partners, and that we need an ambitious agenda as we head into next year, especially in light of troubling recent events in the East Sea. In short, now is the time for Vietnam and the United States to take a giant strategic leap together. That is why we are here.
“For our part, the United States is ready to meet this challenge with new thinking and action. We are ready to conclude a high-standard Trans-Pacific Partnership, with Vietnam as a full partner. We are ready, in the context of TPP, to work with Vietnam to meet the criteria for U.S. recognition as a market economy. We are ready to increase our military cooperation and ship visits as much as Vietnam permits – not by establishing bases, which we do not seek, but through agreements for increased access, as we are concluding with other countries in the region. We are also ready to increase our security assistance to help Vietnam improve its maritime domain awareness and build its capacity to defend its sovereign rights.
“To that end, I believe the time has come for the United States to begin easing our lethal arms embargo on Vietnam. This will not, and should not, happen all at once. Rather, it should be limited at first to those defensive capabilities, such as coast guard and maritime systems, that are purely for external security.
“How much we can do in this regard, as with our other most ambitious trade and security objectives, depends greatly on additional action by Vietnam on human rights. We appreciate the recent progress Vietnam has made, including signing the Convention Against Torture and registering more places of worship.
“At the same time, Vietnam's leaders acknowledge there is more to be done, for one reason above all: It is good for Vietnam – for its stability, prosperity, and success. As the Prime Minister said in his New Year's address, ‘Democracy is the inevitable trend in the development process of humankind.’ The Vietnamese regime, he said, ‘must be much better in terms of democracy, and the party must hold high the banner of democracy.’
“It is our hope that Vietnam will translate these remarkable words into bold actions, such as releasing prisoners of conscience, creating space for civil society, and ultimately by making it clear in law and policy that state power is limited and universal human rights – the freedom to speak, associate, worship, publish, and access information – are protected for all citizens.
“In this competitive century, all countries face the same question: What sets us apart? What do we have to offer? I believe Vietnam can offer a powerful answer – the example of a state that delivers on its peoples' rising expectations for democracy, good governance and rule of law, prosperity and social development, a clean environment, and the national strength to defend its independence. That is an example that would inspire others in this region, including your neighbors to the north, to ask: why can't we be more like Vietnam?
“Over nearly two decades, Vietnam and the United States have built a strong relationship based on common goals and shared interests. We hope in the years to come to be able to build a strategic partnership based on shared values as well – for that is the closest, strongest, and most enduring friendship two nations can have.”
Ảnh ông McCain thăm nơi ông bị bắn rơi năm 1967: http://instagram.com/p/rcIvGuSy_n/