Remarks of Vietnam by United State’s Blinken at U.S.-ASEAN Business Council Annual Gala

SOURCE: U.S. State Department

State’s Blinken at U.S.-ASEAN Business Council Annual Gala

16 June 2015
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, D.C.
June 16, 2015
Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken
At the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council Annual Gala
June 15, 2015
Four Seasons Hotel
Washington, D.C.

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“And Vietnam, of course, has lifted millions of people out of poverty through market-oriented reforms and progress toward a more open society. Today, 22 million Vietnamese are on Facebook, 35 million connected to the internet – where, increasingly, they speak their minds and argue their opinions freely.
This, of course, is an important year in our relationship with Vietnam – the 20th since we normalized relations between our countries, thanks to the leadership of Senator McCain, then-Senator Kerry, and President Clinton. We’re looking forward to welcoming General Secretary Trong to the White House in just a few short weeks, the first time a party secretary will have visited our capital.”

“In Vietnam, GE signed a 94 million contract to provide 52 wind turbines for the first-ever wind farm in the Mekong Delta. In each of these cases and so many more, I’m proud that our embassies have played a critical role in identifying promising market opportunities and helping American companies capitalize on those opportunities.”

“For example, under the spotlight of TPP negotiations, Vietnam has ratified the Convention against Torture and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and promises to bring its domestic laws into synch with international human rights obligations.”

“And in Ho Chi Minh City, I watched teams of YSEALI Fellows produce videos about environmental challenges in their own communities. And I have to tell you, I – we watched these videos and they were extraordinary both in their creativity and their impact, and I thought these kids must have been studying film and video for years. It rivaled anything I’ve seen anywhere in the world. And we asked the folks who were running this program how long it had taken them to put together these videos, and apparently these young people had arrived at our center that week, had taken a few introductory classes in how to use the video technology, spent the weekend coming up with their screenplays and putting these videos together, and then five or six days later there they were. It was absolutely extraordinary – and to my friends in Hollywood, I have a place to point you to if you’re looking for the next generation of talent.
And in Ho Chi Minh City, I watched teams of YSEALI Fellows as well not only producing these videos but interacting with each other. And what’s very powerful about this is that these young people are building networks and they stay in touch, and that creates a tremendous strength going forward. The energy, the excitement that I felt in all of these encounters was quite literally infectious. And while barriers to economic and democratic progress remain, obviously, across the region, it’s clear that Southeast Asia’s young people are poised to break through each and every one of them and propel their nations to new and remarkable heights.”

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