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 ONE HIGHLIGHTS
ON THE IMPACT OF US-VIETNAM RELATIONS
“It’s huge… There have been two US aircraft carrier visits to Vietnam in recent years… The volume of trade went from less than $500 million when I first was there to almost $60 billion… We’ve been collaborating with the Vietnamese on human health, on the environment, on peacekeeping… We collaborate on everything from North Korea to the South China Sea, our partnership is real… Nothing is impossible, because I think it’s amazing to think of where we’ve come in such a short time, from being such bitter enemies to being such strong partners.”
ON BICYCLE DIPLOMACY
“During that first tour when we were really setting everything up, I had the chance to ride a bicycle from Hanoi to Saigon… bumpy is a very good word for it… You could see the energy and desire to rebuild, to put the nation back together…”
ON SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN’S ROLE IN NORMALIZATION
“He was very courageous. If you think about this, the politics of the time, you had President Clinton who had not served, running against Bob Dole who was a war hero and opposed to normalization…”
ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN VIETNAM
“I wanted every single officer in my embassy to be a human rights officer… I can’t say it’s all done, there are still big differences between how we view human rights and how the Vietnamese do, but the way we were able to make progress was by showing respect…”
ON THE FUTURE OF US-VIETNAM RELATIONS
“We’ve built trust by doing things together that matter… They are going to recover quickly from COVID… Our economic relationship with Vietnam will continue to flourish, and I see no reason why the security relationship won’t flourish as well…”