The online talks between US Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink and VietNamNet readers

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Vietnam-US diplomatic relations, VietNamNet invited the US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink to join an online talks with our readers.

Journalist Dieu Thuy: Twenty-five years ago, on the night of July 11, 1995, US President Bill Clinton declared the normalization of relations with Vietnam. On the next morning of July 12, Vietnamese Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet read the statement on establishing diplomatic relations with the US.

Over the last 25 years, leaving behind hatred and suspicion, the US-Vietnam relationship entered a completely new period with outstanding developments in many fields. The two sides have been looking for a common voice on many issues, including sensitive issues that are barriers in bilateral relations, to strive for mutual benefit and development.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of establishment of Vietnam - US diplomatic relations, VietNamNet invited to this online talks a very special guest, the US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink.

Thank you for joining us!

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: Xin chao cac ban, toi ten la Daniel Kritenbrink. Toi la Dai su My tai Vietnam (Hello, my name is Daniel Kritenbrink. I’m American Ambassador to Vietnam). I’m so honored to be here today, thank you for having me!

Chi tiết cuộc giao lưu trực tuyến giữa Đại sứ Mỹ và độc giả VietNamNet

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink at VietNamNet's studio. Photo: Pham Hai

Dieu Thuy: We have received many questions from readers inside and outside the country. This is the first question from reader Tuan Anh, Hanoi: What were you doing when US President Bill Clinton declared the normalization of relations with Vietnam? What did you think at that time?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: I had just started my career. I joined the US State Department as an American diplomat in 1994 and at the time of normalization I was actually serving as a consulate in Japan. I remember watching the news of normalization with great excitement and great interest. It was such a historic event and all of us were aware of it.

Dieu Thuy: Readers Tran Van Phu (Ho Chi Minh City) asked: The Vietnam-US diplomatic relations have made extraordinary developments in the past 25 years. What are the most important factors for both sides to promote bilateral relations?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: I do think that the US-Vietnam partnership is the strongest it has ever been and we are closer than we have ever been. I think that there are several factors that have helped bring about this extraordinary achievement and I want to emphasize the most extraordinary achievement is that today we are partners and friends. I think the most important factor is leadership on both sides were committed to overcoming our past, focusing on our future and advancing our common interests.

Dieu Thuy: Many readers have been interested in Vietnam-US relations over the last 25 years and the future of relations. Reader Nguyen Van Dung has a question: Do you think that Vietnam-US relations will be upgraded to a strategic one in the near future?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: I do, and I agree with your viewers and readers who think that the relationship is the best ever and has exceeded our expectations.

But I want to emphasize that what we achieved together was not a miracle as the first American ambassador to Vietnam – Pete Peterson - told me: “It was not a miracle, it was not an accident and it was not an act of God. What we have achieved together is the result of hard work, courage and good will by leaders and average people in both Vietnam and the United State”. I am very proud of that and I think that is what we should be celebrating during this 25th anniversary.

Dieu Thuy: In 2020, we are going through very special times as the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic is upsetting everything. Many readers are concerned about how the Covid-19 pandemic will affect the prospects for cooperation between the two countries. Readers Le Phat asked: How does the Ambassador see Vietnam's efforts to control Covid-19?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: I do think Covid-19 has been a tremendous challenge and it has impacted some of the events that we had hoped to hold this year to celebrate the relationship. But ironically, I think that Covid-19 has also demonstrated just how close our partnership is and how well we worked together. We have been proud to be Vietnam’s partner for 20 years in promoting the development of Vietnam’s Health Sector. We provided 700 million dollars in assistance to develop to the health sector and 13 million dollars specifically to help Vietnam fight Covid-19. But just as importantly, Vietnam has also helped the US. I have been so moved that the Vietnamese government and the Vietnamese people have donated millions of masks and other medical protective equipment to help save American lives. Both the US and Vietnam are helping each other with Covid-19 so I think it has been a great example of how our partnership has flourished.

Dieu Thuy: Thank you, Mr. Ambassador, for your objective evaluation of Vietnam's efforts to fight the covid-19 pandemic. I would like to share with VietNamNet readers that, at a recent press conference, the ambassador said the words that touched me very much: "A friend in need is a friend indeed. And when the covid-19 pandemic occurred, we found that Vietnam is a very good friend of the US”.

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: Thank you for saying that! It is one of our best known sayings. It means that “when we are facing a difficulty, when we are in the time of great need is when we find out who our real friends are”, and I think we found out that the US has no better friend than Vietnam. I have been so moved to see thousands of Vietnamese people donated masks and other equipment to the US. It is a beautiful thing and we are forever grateful because this assistance has saved lives in the US.

I think that Vietnam’s response to Covid-19 has been the best in the world and we are very impressed by the work Vietnam has done to control Covid-19 within Vietnam. And because of that we can now meet face to face and I am confident that we will be able to celebrate the 25th anniversary in the right way during the rest of 2020.

Chi tiết cuộc giao lưu trực tuyến giữa Đại sứ Mỹ và độc giả VietNamNet

Dieu Thuy: I myself and many readers wish that the United States will soon be able to control the disease so that life can return to normal, so that we can develop together, cooperate, and implement projects together.

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: I am confident that the US will get Covid-19 under control. As you have seen in many countries around the world, it is a very serious disease and the challenge is great, but I am confident that the American people will overcome this and I know when we do, we will always remember the assistance from our friends, including our many friends in Vietnam.

Dieu Thuy: A reader named Huy has a question: Does the epidemic in the US have any impact on economic, health and social cooperation with Vietnam?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: I think that the impact on cooperation and health has been very positive. I think the Covid-19 challenge has demonstrated just how well we worked together in Vietnam and it has been made public that our single largest team in the US diplomatic mission to Vietnam is our Health Team: we have more than 100 people working full time on health and we have a great partnership on health.

I think the challenge that we face together is how do we collectively get our individual economies and our regional and global economies restart to overcome the shock caused by Covid. I think we have a very good dialog with the Vietnamese Government together with other regions around the world and I am very confident that we will work together to overcome the economic challenges that are posed by Covid as well.

Dieu Thuy: As a journalist in charge of foreign affairs news, I had the opportunity to attend some events held by the US Embassy in Vietnam. I was really moved when seeing you play with disabled children in Soc Son district (Hanoi) or making lanterns and banh deo (Vietnam’s traditional cake for the Autumn Festival) with autistic children in Hanoi.

I also know that you are the first American ambassador who burned incense for martyrs at the Truong Son National Martyrs' Cemetery. I’m sure that you have a lot of emotion and impressions about the country and people of Vietnam?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: I love Vietnam, I love the Vietnamese people. Everywhere I go I have been so moved by how gracious, warm, welcoming and friendly everyone in Vietnam has been to me and to my family.

We have a very important partnership now and I regularly talk with Vietnamese leaderships and senior officials across your government on many important issues from trade to security to energy to health issues and all of that was very important. But I think it is at least as important and probably more important to make sure that we do everything we can to grow the friendship and the ties between the American and Vietnamese people. Here in the US mission we said that we are here to support a strong, prosper, independent Vietnam. We want Vietnam to succeed. We try to demonstrate that through all of our activities including our outreach activities to the Vietnamese people.

You mentioned my visit to Truong Son Cemetery. I have to say I think that is the most personally meaningful and moving thing that I had the honor to do as the ambassador here. My hope is such an activity can make a small contribution to our friendship.

Dieu Thuy: Readers Tran Khanh asked: I am very impressed by the Ambassador's visit to the Truong Son Cemetery and Hien Luong Bridge in Quang Tri Province? Could the ambassador share your feelings when you visited these places?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: It was a deeply moving experience for me both personally and professionally as the ambassador. My objective was in the spirit of reconciliation and mutual respect to honor all of those who made such great sacrifice in the name of patriotism on all sides and to demonstrate that the USA and I as the ambassador are committed to overcoming our past and further strengthening the partnership we have today.

Your question makes me thing that what we believe is that we are building this partnership for the benefit of our people today and in for our children in the future. But to do that we still believe that we have to deal responsibly with the issues of the past and I think that is why we continued to invest such effort in things like accounting for soldiers from both sides, cleaning up dioxin Agent Orange, remediating on unexposed ordnance and treating Vietnamese  with disabilities  because I think that work on those legacies of the past builds trust between us and helps us do more together for the future. We can’t change our tragic past but we are committed to doing everything possible to try to overcome it and to try to make people’s lives better.

Chi tiết cuộc giao lưu trực tuyến giữa Đại sứ Mỹ và độc giả VietNamNet

Journalist Dieu Thuy

Dieu Thuy: Reader Le Chi Na asked: The people of Quang Tri in particular and the Vietnamese people in general appreciate the ambassador's visit to the Truong Son cemetery. Over the past 30 years, with aspirations for peace and reconciliation, the US and Vietnam have been actively seeking missing people during the war. Could you tell us about the projects to further promote activities to heal the wounds of war and to cooperate in resolving the consequences of war?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: First of all, thank you for the question and thank you for the kind comment from your reader. We really do remain committed to doing everything possible to address responsibly the issues of the past because we think they are important to building trust and expanding our cooperation related to the future.

As you know, these issues are foundational in many ways for our relationship. Vietnam’s assistance in helping us locate missing American soldiers was the first issue on which we cooperated after the war that is the issue we called “the bridge to normalization” that brought us back together. We are very grateful to Vietnam’s assistance that allowed us to account for 727 missing American soldiers.

Last year Defence Secretary Esper announced during his trip to Vietnam that the US was going to increase its assistance to Vietnam to help Vietnam locate its missing soldiers. In fact, I’m going to participate in a signing late today in which we are going to witness a new agreement between USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and Vietnam to help Vietnam develop its DNA capacity so that we can better identify the missing soldiers that we are able to locate.

Our work in cleaning up dioxin Agent Orange is really important. In 2018, I was honored to participate in the ceremony marking the completion of our remediation project at Danang National Airport, and last year I was honored to go with nine sanitors from the US to launch a similar but much larger project at Bien Hoa Airbase in order to clean up Agent Orange there.

We are very proud of our work cleaning up unexposed ordnance and bombs and mines in Quang Tri province where there has been no injuries and no deaths for almost the last 3 years. Yesterday we announced that we are going to expand that work to the 2 neighboring provinces: Quang Binh and Thua Thien-Hue. And finally, last year we announced that an expansion in our assistance to Vietnamese with disabilities, particularly with the 8 provinces in Vietnam that were most heavily sprayed by Agent Orange during the war.

We believe that this work on the legacies of war is vitally important and we are committed to continuing it.

Dieu Thuy: Reader Nguyen Hoang Chuong wanted to ask about the image of Vietnam in the eyes of Americans before and after 1995?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: I think there is a huge difference between American’s perceptions of Vietnam from 20-30 years ago compared to today – dramatic transformation.

When I think back to 1985 or even 1995 and even after that, I think that if you were to ask the majority of Americans about Vietnam, most Americans would immediately think of the war. Now I think what is happening in the US is when Americans hear the word “Vietnam” they don’t think about the war. And they know what I know, that Vietnam is a beautiful country with beautiful people that is becoming one of America’s closest partners.

 And I think that we achieved that because there are hundreds of thousands of American tourists and business people that come here, 30 thousands of Vietnamese students that travel to the US every year.

I think that is a great accomplishment that when Americans hear the word “Vietnam” they don’t think about our past war but they think about what a wonderful country Vietnam is. And I want to add that in February 2019, when Vietnam hosted the Hanoi Summit between President Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un. Vietnam did a brilliant job and your diplomacy is fantastic.

But I think just as important that that summit changed the image that the world and many Americans have about Vietnam. And I had so many American friends during that time who wrote to me saying that: “Wow! Vietnam is so beautiful! We really want to visit it.” Again I think that as our partnership has grown and as Vietnam’s leadership’s role on the world stage has grown, it has introduced Vietnam to many people around the world including many Americans and I think that is a very positive thing.

Chi tiết cuộc giao lưu trực tuyến giữa Đại sứ Mỹ và độc giả VietNamNet

Dieu Thuy: Another part of the question: Do you have an idea to introduce Vietnamese food, including pho and banh mi - two famous Vietnamese dishes, to your friends?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: I don’t know if we are going to have any official initiatives but every American friend I talk to, I tell them about how wonderful Vietnamese food is. As your readers probably know, Vietnamese food is really popular in the US.

We are very proud that we have more than two million Vietnamese Americans. I think they did a great job of introducing Vietnamese cuisine to the US. And I should say that my home in Washington DC area, North of Virginia is very close to a shopping center where there are dozens of Vietnamese restaurants. I am looking forward to going back there and having their food again. I have to say I really love Banhmi and Pho, but I think my two favourite dishes in Hanoi are actually Bun cha and Cha ca.

Dieu Thuy: Reader Bui Thanh Mai asked: I was impressed with your recent visit to Thanh Hoa province with veterans. It seems that you paid special attention to Vietnamese veterans. May I ask the Ambassador that July 27, the Day of War Invalids and Martyrs, has great significance for the veterans and their families and do you plan to meet veterans on this day?

 

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: I did not realize that it was the day for war veterans and martyrs - July 27th – but I think it is a brilliant idea to do something, so I think we should do that! Thank you for the suggestion!

I want to highlight that we think that our engagement with Vietnamese veterans is incredibly important. When I arrived in Vietnam almost 3 years ago, I had both some Vietnamese friends and some Vietnamese officials who suggested that a good way to promote reconciliation and friendship between the US and Vietnam would be for us to increase our engagement with the Vietnam Veterans Association. I have been really honored to meet several times with the Vietnam Veterans Association here in Hanoi and the Veterans Associations in many of the provinces that I have traveled to.

Some of them involve exchanging views and activities designed to promote reconciliation. For example, when I was in Thanh Hoa, we went to the Ham Rong Bridge, which is a sight of many fierce battles set during the war. It was so moving that we held hands together: the Vietnamese veterans and the American veterans along with myself and my colleagues walked to the middle of the bridge. It was an incredibly moving experience for me.

We also tried carrying out some assistance activities for veterans as well. A few months ago I went to Friendship Village and was able to witness the donation of some medical equipment that would help the Vietnam veterans.

I hope we can expand our engagement with Vietnam veterans even further and I really appreciate the idea of July 27th. We will do something with that, thank you!

Chi tiết cuộc giao lưu trực tuyến giữa Đại sứ Mỹ và độc giả VietNamNet

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Dieu Thuy: In many fields of cooperation between Vietnam and the US, cooperation in the field of education is highly focused and promoted. Currently, Vietnam is the leading country in Southeast Asia in the number of international students going to the US. Education-related stories as well as international student policies are of great interest to readers in this online exchange.

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: I think educational exchange is one of the most important things that we can do to contribute to Vietnam’s development and to build the US-Vietnam partnership.

We think that education in the USA is a great investment and I am so impressed by all of the great things that Vietnamese students who had studied in the US have done when they came back to Vietnam. They make tremendous contributions to Vietnam’s future development.

And I think it is also an important investment in our friendship. I often say that those 30 thousand Vietnamese students are 30 thousand new cultural ambassadors for the US-Vietnam friendship that we are creating every year. And I am a personal believer in the impact of international exchange because I was an exchange student when I was in college back in ancient history (laugh). And it really changed my life for the better. So we really do encourage as many Vietnamese students as possible to study in the US.

I think it will give you great education and it will be a great experience. But wherever you want to study, I really encourage Vietnamese students who have the opportunity to study abroad. I think you will learn a lot about yourself and your own country and your host country, I think you will develop a lot of skills that will help you in the future. For me, my studying abroad experience helped inspire me to be a diplomat.

Dieu Thuy: I would like to repeat the question of reader Nguyen Hoang Chuong. What would you wish for Vietnam’s education if you had a magic lamp like Aladin’s? And could you share with us how should Vietnam do to develop education and to attract international students in the future?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: That is a great question, a hard question! I really look forward to seeing Fulbright University in Vietnam develop because I think that is one way that our Vietnamese friends can get world class education right here in Vietnam.

The USA is committed to assisting the development of Vietnam’s education sector in every way possible, including by helping Vietnam develop its English language capability including its teaching capacity. We sent a lot of teacher and English teaching assistants, Full bright scholars to help Vietnam with its English language capacity. I am hopeful that some day we are going to bring the US Peace Corps to Vietnam to help assist Vietnam with English language education as well.

If I could rub that magic lamp and have any wish at all, I would love to see Vietnam develop more capacity for hosting international exchange students at its universities. For example, we have 30 thousand Vietnamese students in the US, but I think we have less than 2,000 American students in Vietnam. Even though that number is growing, it is still pretty small. But I would love to see it grow even more. Someday I would love to see us to have 30 thousand American exchange students in Vietnam, wouldn’t that be great? Because then, every year we would have 30 thousand new, young American students who would know Vietnam, love Vietnam and would go back to the US and they would contribute to the US and contribute to our friendship.

It reminds me, last night I had the honor of hosting 4 former Vietnamese ambassadors to the US for dinner at my home. And one of the former Vietnamese ambassadors said to me that the more Americans and Vietnamese understand one another, the more we would like one another and respect one another. I agree with that and I think educational exchange and bringing more students to both of our countries will help promote that friendship and mutual understanding.

Chi tiết cuộc giao lưu trực tuyến giữa Đại sứ Mỹ và độc giả VietNamNet

VietNamNet chief editor Pham Anh Tuan presents flowers to Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink

Dieu Thuy: Reader of Vo Huy Thai had a question: I want to apply for a visa to study and work in the US during the time of Covid epidemic. Could you tell us if the visa is suspended? If it is suspended, when can it be removed?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: That’s a great question. Yes, it is true that Covid-19 has had a number of impacts including on our Visa operation here in Vietnam. For a while we had suspended issuance of most Visas. We have now started to resume issuance of some Visa categories and all along we have been issuing Visa renewal by mail. Covid-19, as we have discussed today, is a great challenge. There is a lot of uncertainty. But we know how important educational exchange is and we know what a great investment in American education is. So I’m confident that we will be issuing new guidance in the coming weeks that will provide additional clarity to the visa situation for perspective students in the US.

My advice would be as follow: If you are interested in studying in the US, follow us on Facebook, check out our website for the latest information on studying in the US including student’s visa.

Give our education USA advisors a call either here at the Embassy in Hanoi or at the Consulate General down in Ho Chi Minh City. Our education USA advisors have only one job, and that is to help assist Vietnamese who want to study in the US to determine the best way for them to do so.
And finally, if you have identified the school in the US at which you want to study, be in touch with them as well. They will obviously know the latest information regarding conditions and visa regulations for their school.

Dieu Thuy: Thank you for sharing useful information, not only for the readers who wish to study and work in the US.

Mr. Ambassador, the Vietnam-US relations have not only obtained outstanding achievements in bilateral fields. On the multilateral level, the two countries have also cooperated in many areas. Reader Pham Xuan Quy had a question: How do you assess the role of Vietnam in the US Indo-Pacific strategy?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: We think that Vietnam is central to our Indo-Pacific strategy. I think it’s important to note that in November 2017, when President Trump paid his first visit to Vietnam, he delivered a speech in Danang that outlined America’s vision for the Indo-Pacific.

The reason why I say Vietnam is central to our strategy is it’s not just Vietnam; if you look at our strategy, our former policy it was predicated on the belief that America is stronger, more prosper, more secure if we have strong, successful, independent partners, allies and friends around the world. That is why we said we are interested in Vietnam’s success: a strong, sovereign Vietnam is an America’s interest and I think it makes us all better off.

But it’s not just Vietnam, it’s the 10 countries of ASEAN. We very much believe in ASEAN. It’s our partner across the region whether it’s Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries.

We believe that together we can advance to our shared interests in peace, stability and respect for international law. So we really look forward to working with Vietnam both to help Vietnam to succeed, and then to working with Vietnam and all of our other friends in the region to advance our shared interests in peace and stability and prosperity.

Dieu Thuy: At a press conference you said that the US delegation is here to help Vietnam, and your success is our success, your prosperity is our prosperity.

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: We really believe that. We don’t think that any of us can survive just on our own. “America first” does not mean “America alone”, it’s the opposite. I think you said it very well - “Your success is our success” - when we both succeed, we both help one another and then we can work with our likeminded partners around the region and the world to contribute to peace, stability and prosperity.

I should also add that the principle that we believe in are not designed to exclude anyone, our cooperation is not aimed at anyone. Rather, it’s aimed – as I said – at supporting a rule-based international system that rooted in international law in which all countries, large and small, play by the same rule. We think Vietnam has an important role to play in that. Vietnam is Chair of ASEAN this year and is doing a brilliant job. Vietnam has a two-year term on the UN Security Council and is playing a very responsible role. We are very proud to support Vietnam’s deployment of its first peacekeepers to South Sudan. So, again, we think Vietnam is central to our strategy in the region.

Dieu Thuy: Reader Nguyen Minh Duc would like to have some questions for the Ambassador.

Vietnam wants to be friend with all countries in the world. Do you think the US can become one of the friendliest and closest friends of Vietnam? In your view, what should the international community do to ensure security, safety and freedom of navigation in the East Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea)? As the leading economy in the world, why the US has not been the biggest investor in Vietnam yet?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: Absolutely I think we already are close friends. And I think particularly, if you think about all we that achieved in the last 25 years, it is really extraordinary, it makes us very optimistic about what we can achieve in the next 25 years. I see no limits on our partnership and friendship.

About maritime security: This is a great question! We believe that maritime security is vital to the regional and global economy and it’s also vital to each individual country’s security as well. We think that perhaps the most important thing we can do is ensure that international law is respected and that all countries act in accordance with international law. We also think it’s important that countries do not use force or coercion or bullying to try to advance their interests. We also oppose the efforts by some countries in the region to try to interfere with long-standing energy exploration including Vietnam in long-established fields in the East Sea.

Maybe the best way for me to explain what we should do is to explain the main elements of our East Sea strategy. The first pillar of our strategy is diplomacy. We think it’s important for all countries in the region who believe in international law and peaceful resolutions of dispute to work together within the ASEAN and within other institutions to promote freedom of navigation, freedom of overflight, freedom of commerce and diplomatic resolutions of dispute.

Secondly, we think it’s important that all countries have the ability to understand what is happening in their territories and have the means to defend their own interests. That is why we continue to work with partners like Vietnam and many others in Southeast Asia and across the region to help increase your maritime capacity, because we think that the more countries can defend their own interests, the more stable the region is and the less likely conflict will be.

And then thirdly, the US will continue to develop our own capabilities and we will continue to exercise them regularly. That’s why you regularly see US naval assets and air assets operating in the East Sea either doing routine presence operations or conducting freedom of navigation operations. These activities are designed to demonstrate our commitment to the region, our commitment to the principles that I talked about here, particularly respect for international law. And they are also designed to show that the USA will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere that international law allows and we think it is a right that all countries in the region and the world should enjoy as well.

Dieu Thuy: This is a question from reader Hoang Hoa: Recently, US President Donald Trump decided to stop granting green cards until the end of. Will this policy last until next year, and if so, how will it affect the Vietnamese community in America?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: I have to confess that I don’t know much about the details of the issuance of the green cards in the US, but I think if you do have concerns and questions about those issues, I’d suggest the following: You can always to our Consulate Sections at the Embassy and the Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City. And you can always be in touch with the US Citizen and Immigration Services – USCIS – in the US.

Dieu Thuy: Reader Tran Tuan was very interested and impressed with your greeting in Vietnamese at the beginning of the talks. I know that you have learned Vietnamese. In your opinion, which part is the most difficult to learn Vietnamese?

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink: First of all, my Vietnamese is very bad. I’m embarrassed by that and I wish it were better. But I have had very little time to study since I’ve been here, so that has been the number one challenge.

I will say, though the little bit that I’ve studied, Vietnamese really is a beautiful language. I don’t know how Vietnamese people feel when they hear English, but I think, as an American, every foreign language gives you a different feel when you hear it.

When I hear Vietnamese, it’s a very soothing and pleasing language. I know like all languages, it too is a very rich and has many historical influences that make it very rich with extensive vocabulary. The single hardest part of Vietnamese for me is pronunciation. My staff will often suggest that I say something in Vietnamese and they will give it to me on a piece of paper and they will say it to me and then I say it out loud and they say “No, wrong!” and sometimes when I’m out on the street or traveling I will say something to a Vietnamese friend in Vietnamese but they don’t understand me.

I had the pleasure in my life and my career to live for a long time in Japan and China. What I learned through those two experiences is that the key to learning a foreign language is long-term investment, you just have to keep working on it over the long run. I lived in Japan for 8 years and China for 8 years and my Japanese and Chinese are both okay so hopefully, the longer I stay in Vietnam and the more I study, the better I will get. But right now I’m not very good, I have to stay.

What I have been most impressed by is the English language capability of so many Vietnamese friends, particularly young Vietnamese students: they speak beautiful, perfect English and I always ask them: “Have you studied overseas?”, and the answer is almost always “No” and that they’ve studied exclusively in Vietnam. I hope my Vietnamese friends can give me some advice for your success in studying English and maybe I can apply that to my Vietnamese study.

Dieu Thuy: That’s a good idea!

The US-Vietnam relationship over the past 25 years has been a story full of ups and downs, from war, hostility, embargo, to reconciliation, trust and development beyond expectation.

The online talks with the US Ambassador today helps readers better understand the width, depth and prospects for Vietnam-US relations in the coming years.

Thank you Mr. Ambassador for joining us today!

VietNamNet

What would the US Ambassador to VN wish for if he had a magic lamp?

What would the US Ambassador to VN wish for if he had a magic lamp?

“If I there was a magic lamp, I would wish that Vietnam has more capacity to carry out educational development activities,” said the US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink during an online exchange with VietNamNet readers on July 8.

 
 

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RCEP benefits on horizon for ASEAN
FEATUREicon  02/07/2020 

With the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership scheduled to be signed this November, doors will soon open to attract more investment and swell Vietnam’s trade with international partners.

Ancient Chinese books say Hoang Sa, Truong Sa belong to Vietnam
Ancient Chinese books say Hoang Sa, Truong Sa belong to Vietnam
MARITIME SOVEREIGNTYicon  21/09/2019 

Many ancient Chinese bibliographies, recorded by the Chinese themselves, directly or indirectly, recognize Vietnam’s sovereignty over the two archipelagos of Hoang Sa (Paracel Islands) and Truong Sa (Spratly Islands).

To pave the way for attracting giants
To pave the way for attracting giants
FEATUREicon  01/07/2020 

Many international institutions, investors and economic experts have noted that Vietnam is having an opportunity to attract the huge international capital flow. 

Big relief for businesses’ concerns
Big relief for businesses’ concerns
FEATUREicon  30/06/2020 

On May 8, the National Assembly approved the Eurpopean Union-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), with 460 out of 461 deputies (95.65%) voting yes for the pact. 

Massive IP development worrisome
Massive IP development worrisome
FEATUREicon  29/06/2020 

In anticipation of the investment shift driven by the Covid-19 epidemic and the Sino-U.S. trade war, multiple industrial real estate developers are rolling up sleeves with their investment. 

Major businesses undergo slow recovery after Covid-19
Major businesses undergo slow recovery after Covid-19
FEATUREicon  28/06/2020 

Despite the positive business results witnessed in the early months of the year, many listed companies have been cautious with their pre-tax profit targets.

Patient 91: How Vietnam saved a British pilot and kept a clean Covid-19 sheet
Patient 91: How Vietnam saved a British pilot and kept a clean Covid-19 sheet
FEATUREicon  27/06/2020 

Stephen Cameron spent 68 days on a ventilator but beat the odds to survive coronavirus.

Chairman’s Statement of 36th ASEAN Summit
Chairman’s Statement of 36th ASEAN Summit
FEATUREicon  27/06/2020 

The following is the full text of the Chairman’s Statement of the 36th ASEAN Summit, which was held on June 26 in the form of video conference.

Hanoi Plan of Action on Strengthening ASEAN Economic Cooperation
Hanoi Plan of Action on Strengthening ASEAN Economic Cooperation
FEATUREicon  27/06/2020 

The following is the full text of the ASEAN Plan of Action on Strengthening ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Supply Chain Connectivity in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, which was adopted at the teleconferenced 36th ASEAN Summit on June 26.

ASEAN Leaders' Vision Statement on A Cohensive And Responsive ASEAN
ASEAN Leaders' Vision Statement on A Cohensive And Responsive ASEAN
FEATUREicon  27/06/2020 

ASEAN leaders adopted the ASEAN Leaders' Vision Statement on A Cohensive and Responsive ASEAN at the end of the 36th ASEAN Summit on June 26.

Chairman Press Statement of ASEAN leaders' special session at 36th ASEAN Summit on Women's Empowerment in Digital Age
Chairman Press Statement of ASEAN leaders' special session at 36th ASEAN Summit on Women's Empowerment in Digital Age
FEATUREicon  27/06/2020 

The ASEAN Leaders’ Special Session at the 36th ASEAN Summit on Women’s Empowerment in the Digital Age, held on June 26 via videoconferencing, has adopted a Chairman’s Press Statement. The following is the full text of the statement.

EVFTA promises an enhanced Vietnam
EVFTA promises an enhanced Vietnam
FEATUREicon  25/06/2020 

The National Assembly has passed the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement, ushering in a new economic, trade, and investment co-operation outlook for both Vietnam and the EU.

Office segment resilient amid health emergency struggles
Office segment resilient amid health emergency struggles
FEATUREicon  25/06/2020 

In the first months of 2020, the office segment remained resilient in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City admit the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 
 
 
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