Vietnam, US to further cooperate in war legacy relief

Vietnam-US cooperataion in dealing with war consequences has contributed to promoting solidarity and mutual trust between the two countries,
July 03, 2021 | 07:34
Vietnam, US to further cooperate in war legacy relief
At the reception. Photo: Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence

Deputy Defence Minister Senior Lieutenant General Hoang Xuan Chien has highlighted Vietnam-US coordination in searching for US MIAs, and dealing with consequences of war-left bombs, mines and unexploded ordnances as well as dioxin detoxification,

The collaboration has contributed to promoting solidarity and mutual trust between the two countries, Chien told Paul Cheremeteff Grove, Senior Assistant for the Appropriations Committee of President pro tempore of the US Senate Patrick Leahy, on July 1.

He affirmed that Vietnam has always prioritised the development of relations with the US in its foreign policy, according to People’s Army Newspaper.

Over the past time, the bilateral relationship has been built and expanded within the framework of the comprehensive partnership, including cooperation in overcoming war-left consequences, the officer said.

On this occasion, via the US guest, Chien sent his thanks to Leahy and the committee members for their support in performing the tasks above.

Vietnam, US to further cooperate in war legacy relief
Deputy Defence Minister Senior Lieutenant General Hoang Xuan Chien (right) and Paul Cheremeteff Grove, Senior Assistant for the Appropriations Committee of President pro tempore of the US Senate Patrick Leahy. Photo: Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence

Chien also hailed the close cooperation between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Vietnamese Defense Ministry during the completed dioxin contamination remediation project at Da Nang airport and in in implementing the dioxin contamination remediation project of phase 1 at Bien Hoa airport, and improving living standards of Vietnamese people with disabilities in provinces affected by Agent Orange during the war.

In the coming time, Chien urged the two sides to work together to fulfill the aforementioned tasks.

For his part, Paul Grove thanked Chien for his warm reception, affirming that in the coming time, both sides should effectively conduct US assisted-projects on overcoming war-left consequences in Vietnam as well as carry out cooperation contents in accordance with bilateral interests, for peace and development in the region and the world.

U.S. service members conduct a ceremony to repatriate remains of two U.S. soldiers killed in the Vietnam War at Da Nang International Airport, September 17, 2019. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Consulate in HCMC.
US service members conduct a ceremony to repatriate remains of two US soldiers killed in the Vietnam War at Da Nang International Airport, September 17, 2019. Photo courtesy of the US Consulate in HCMC.

US aims to remove all UXOs from famous Vietnam battlefield by 2025

A member of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) detects unexploded ordnances in Quang Tri Province, October 2019. Photo by VnExpres
A member of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) detects unexploded ordnances in Quang Tri province, October 2019. Photo: VnExpres

The US has set a target of removing all unexploded ordnance (UXO) left in the central province of Quang Tri from the Vietnam War by the end of 2025, said Jerry Guilbert, chief of Programmes for Weapons Removal and Abatement under the US Department of State,

"Vietnam has been a tremendous partner for the US when it comes to addressing legacies of war, not just, obviously, the unexploded ordnance issue, but also the issues of those who've been missing in action as well as dioxin and Agent Orange," Guilbert was cited by VnExpress as saying.

Guilbert said one of the greatest accomplishments in Vietnam-US cooperation in dealing with war legacies is the fact that there have been no deaths from unexploded ordnance in Quang Tri province for the past few years.

He also praised the efforts of provincial authorities in pioneering many new and innovative technologies and techniques for addressing UXOs.

A 227kg bomb was found and safely handled by a mobile bomb and mine clearance team from PeaceTree in Hướng Hóa District, Quảng Trị Province
A 227kg bomb was found and safely handled by a mobile bomb and mine clearance team from PeaceTree in Huong Hoa district, Quảng Trị province. Photo: VNA

"We're actually on track to making Quang Tri free from the impact of UXOs by the end of 2025," Guilbert stressed, adding the central province was the most heavily contaminated by UXO in all of Vietnam.

Between 2014 and 2019, the province had attracted $100 million in foreign non-governmental aid, receiving an average 38 new projects a year. It has cooperated with 67 foreign NGOs and international organizations from countries like Ireland, South Korea, the UK and U.S.

Quang Tri was the stage of the Tet Offensive in 1968 and Easter Offensive in 1972.

A total 391,000 hectares of provincial land, accounting for 83.3 percent of its total area, remains infested with mines and other explosives from the war, according to official statistics.

According to Quang Tri's Legacy of War Coordination Centre, 8,540 people in the province have fallen victims to UXOs since 1975, with 3,431 fatalities. Many were collecting scrap when detonating an explosive./.

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