ABOUT THE EPISODE
In this two-part episode, two ambassadors weigh in on the how and “so what” of the U.S. and Vietnam putting aside their post-war differences to normalize diplomatic relations 25 years ago on July 11.
In Part One, Ted Osius, United States ambassador to Vietnam from 2014 to 2017, shares what it was like to be on the ground right from the start in 1995 to implement normalization, and what the subsequent partnership forged means for the Asia Pacific and our global future.
In Part Two, the current ambassador from Vietnam to the United States, His Excellency Ha Kim Ngoc, shares the same perspective but with unique insights from his side of the partnership.
Tune in as host Luke Knittig guides a discussion you won’t hear anywhere else on the formation and impact of renewed U.S. – Vietnam relations.
EPISODE PART TWO HIGHLIGHTS
ON THE IMPACT OF NORMALIZATION FOR VIETNAM
“Our normalization with the United States really marked the end of the political isolation and embargo against Vietnam and the start of Vietnam’s integration into the world… And with the support and cooperation of the United States, Vietnam has been emerging as a key and proactive player in the Asia Pacific region and the world.”
ON HIS WORK TO IMPLEMENT NORMALIZATION
“I started my career in foreign service in 1988 as a researcher, and I read a lot about the history of our two nations and strongly believed that we could be friends, good friends…. For several years together with my colleagues, I participated in MIA joint field activity to account for American soldiers missing during the war…”
ON SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN
“Without Senator McCain’s support and efforts, the normalization would have been further delayed or even the two sides might have missed the opportunity… Sometimes I helped interpret for both sides, so I got to know Senator McCain very well. I really admire him for his vision, strong leadership and tireless efforts to move our two nations beyond the bitter history and enter a new era of friendship and partnership…”
ON VISITING ARIZONA AND CINDY MCCAIN
“In 2020, I planned to visit Arizona and meet with Mrs. Cindy McCain as the top priority for the celebration of the 25th anniversary of our diplomatic relations…I asked my wife and first son, who is also a diplomat working on U.S.–Vietnam relations, to join me so that we could have a family meeting…the trip was so emotional for me and my family… we met with some Vietnam War veterans in Phoenix…”
ON VIETNAM’S LEADERSHIP ROLE
“Vietnam is chairing ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] this year and we have been working closely with ASEAN members and partners, including the United States, to maintain peace, stability, security and rule-based order in the Indo-Asia-Pacific…We have been working very closely with the United States on the U.N. Security Council…”
ON THE FUTURE OF US-VIETNAM RELATIONS
“I’m very optimistic about the future of our cooperation in the next 25 years… COVID-19, you know, has even brought our two countries closer together, by helping each other for the common fight against the pandemic and now economic recovery… the continuation of strengthening our trade and investment will be the top priority…”
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