US offers new support for Vietnam maritime security

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US offers new support for Vietnam maritime security

by AFP Videos 1:33 mins

US offers new support for Vietnam maritime security

by AFP Videos 1:33 mins

SHOTLIST: HANOI, VIETNAM, DECEMBER 16, 2013 SOURCE: AFPTV - EXTERIOR OF GOVERNMENT GUESTHOUSE/ FLAG OF VIETNAM AND THE UNITED STATES - VARIOUS OF JOHN KEERY US SECRETARY OF STATES COMING INTO THE ROOM - JOHN KERRY SHAKING HANDS WITH MR. PHAM BINH MINH, VIETNAMESE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND FOREIGN MINISTER - VARIOUS OF KERRY HANDLING A PHOTO ALBUM TO PHAM BINH MINH AT THE TALK - FLAG OF VIETNAM AND THE UNITED STATES WITH FLOWER - WS OF VIETNAMESE DELEGATION AND AMERICAN DELEGATION AT THE TALK. - CU OF PHAM BINH MINH SPEAKING - CU OF KERRY SPEAKING - A PAN OF THE MEETING ROOM - MS OF AMERICAN DELEGATION - MS OF VIETNAMESE DELEGATION - CU OF KERRY - WS OF THE MEETING ROM. - VARIOUS OF KERRY AND PHAM BINH MINH AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE SOUNDBITE 1 John Kerry (man), US Secretary of State (English,33 secs): "The United States does not recognize that zone and does not accept it. China‘s announcement will not change how the United States conducts military operations in the region. This is a concern about which we have been very very candid and we have been very direct with the Chinese. The zone should not be implemented and China should refrain from taking similar unilateral actions elsewhere in the region and particularly over the South China Sea." SOUNDBITE 2 John Kerry (man), US Secretary of State (English, 42 secs): "There is some progress that is being made and we encougage more progress to be made. There are increased number of church registrations. There have been increases within the new constitutional process of some additional rights. There are somethings that we would have liked to have seen embraced that weren't and we raised those, but this is an ongoing conversation, absolutely. I also raised individual cases of individual people and situations and we had a very direct and healthy exchange about this." SOUNDBITE 3 John Kerry (man), US Secretary of State (English, 34 secs): "In particular, peace and stability in the South China Sea is a top priority for us and for countries in the region. We are very concerned by and strongly oppose to coercive and aggresive tactics to advance tertorial claims. Claimants have a responsibility to clarify their claims and to align their claims with international law and to pursue those claims within international peaceful institution." /// -------------- AFP TEXT STORIES: US-politics-Vietnam-diplomacy US offers new support for Vietnam maritime security HANOI, Dec 16, 2013 (AFP) - Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the United States would help Vietnam better police its seas amid an ongoing territorial squabble with China, as he met with the communist country's top leaders in Hanoi. Kerry, who arrived in Vietnam on Saturday on a trip aimed at shoring up ties with Southeast Asia, said the US would provide $32.5 million to help Southeast Asian nations, including Vietnam, patrol "territorial waters". "Peace and stability in the South China Sea is a top priority for us," Kerry said, adding that "no region can be secure in the absence of effective law enforcement in territorial waters". Speaking to reporters in Hanoi alongside Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, the one-time presidential hopeful said his government's support would include training and new fast patrol vessels for coast guards. But he also carried warnings over Vietnam's human rights record. Washington is eager to underscore its commitment to Asia after its eastwards "pivot" policy was shaken earlier this year when the US government shutdown forced President Barack Obama to cancel a trip to the region, allowing China to occupy centre stage at key regional summits. The region is beset by political and territorial tensions, including bitter maritime disputes between an increasingly assertive China and a number of its neighbours including Vietnam. China and Vietnam, which fought a brief border war in 1979, are locked in a long-standing territorial dispute over the South China Sea, and frequently trade diplomatic barbs over oil exploration, fishing rights and the Spratly and Paracel Islands, which both countries claim. Vietnam's authoritarian rulers have also been struggling to control intense domestic criticism of their handling of relations with Beijing. Kerry repeated the US standpoint that it is "strongly opposed to coercive and aggressive tactics to advance territorial claims," and said the US was particularly concerned about the situation in the East China Sea. China raised regional tensions with its declaration on November 23 of an air defence identification zone in the East China Sea, which covers islands at the centre of a dispute between Beijing and Tokyo. "This move clearly increases the risk of a dangerous miscalculation or an accident and it could escalate tensions even further," Kerry said. "The US does not recognise that zone and does not accept it. China's announcement will not change how the US conducts military operations in the region," he added. However, he added the new pledge to help Vietnam's maritime security had "nothing to do with" China's move, but was in fact "part of a gradual and deliberate expansion (of support) that has been planned for some". China claims sovereign rights to the whole South China Sea, believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits. The sea is also claimed in whole or part by Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Kerry will meet with Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung later Monday. He hailed deepening trade and security ties between the former foes, but said in order to capitalise on the relationship, Vietnam "needs to show continued progress on human rights and freedoms, including freedoms of religion, expression and freedom of association." On Tuesday, Kerry will head to the Philippines, a longstanding US ally, where he will tour the devastated city of Tacloban, which was hit by a typhoon last month. -------- Vietnam-US-politics-diplomacy,2ndlead War veteran Kerry returns to Vietnam's Mekong Delta HO CHI MINH CITY, Dec 15, 2013 (AFP) - Secretary of State John Kerry returned Sunday to Vietnam's Mekong Delta, which he navigated as a wartime gunboat skipper, to highlight its vulnerability to climate change in his role as top US diplomat. Kerry, who arrived in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday on a trip aimed at shoring up ties with Southeast Asia, travelled by boat through Ca Mau, a once-dangerous Viet Cong stronghold. At the pier of the small port of Kien Vang, he spoke to officials and students -- many clad in white Ao Dai, Vietnam's traditional dress. "It is obviously amazing for me to be here today," he said, according to a copy of his remarks released by the US State Department. "Decades ago, on these very waters, I was one of many who witnessed the difficult period in our shared history. Today... I'm bearing witness to how far our nations have come together." The one-time presidential hopeful, whose political activism was inspired by his experiences patrolling the area's waterways on US Swift Boats during the Vietnam War, said he came to the Mekong "not to go into the past" but to address key future challenges. "Vietnam is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to climate change," he said, warning of "very serious impacts" if urgent action was not taken. He announced a $17 million package to help local communities adapt to climate change and warned that the future of the water-dependent region was under threat from rising sea levels and proposed upstream dam construction by China and Thailand. "That river is a global asset, a treasure that belongs to the region," he said, adding that the Mekong's resources must benefit people "not just in the country where the waters come first, but in every country that touches this great river". Kerry served with the US Navy from 1966 to 1970 as a naval lieutenant. He was decorated with three Purple Hearts, awarded for combat injuries, as well as a Bronze Star and a Silver Star for bravery. On Saturday he hailed ties between the two former foes as "stronger than ever" as he started his first official visit to the nation as the top US diplomat. Washington is eager to underscore its commitment to Asia. Its eastwards "pivot" policy was shaken earlier this year when the US government shutdown forced President Barack Obama to cancel a trip to the region, allowing China to occupy centre stage at key regional summits. "Kerry's visit to Vietnam is part of the Obama administration's policy of rebalancing," Vietnam expert Carl Thayer told AFP, adding it could be a precursor to a visit by the president to the communist country. The region is beset by political and territorial tensions, including bitter maritime disputes between an increasingly assertive China and a number of its neighbours including Vietnam. Kerry arrived in Hanoi late Sunday, and will meet Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh Monday to discuss deepening trade and security ties as part of his three-day visit. On Saturday he said he vividly remembered his time in war-torn South Vietnam, describing an evening drinking on the roof of the Rex Hotel in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) in 1969. "I can't tell you how totally bizarre it was to be sitting on top of a hotel, having a beer... while all around you, you would be seeing and hearing the sounds of a war," he said. It was on his return after two tours of duty that he became a fierce campaigner against the war, which ended in 1975. Kerry, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Wednesday, said he was excited to have returned to Vietnam, his first time back in the communist country since he joined President Bill Clinton on his landmark visit in 2000. Kerry's trip will also include a visit to the Philippines, a longstanding US ally, where he will tour the city of Tacloban which was devastated by a typhoon last month. Kerry, a Catholic, attended a mass at the French-colonial era Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday. US officials have recently welcomed some improvements in freedom of religion in the one-party state, long criticised for harassing and jailing Catholic activists.

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