The US and Vietnam will work through differences over the Southeast Asian country’s currency and timber practices, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink said during a Hanoi briefing.
The two nations are managing their differences “in a responsible way” and have common views on the South China Sea, he said.
Vietnam’s currency had become a target in the Trump administration even as the former enemies continued to become closer to counter China’s rising military and economic might in the region. The U.S. has refrained from hitting Vietnam with punitive tariffs even after the U.S. Treasury designated the Hanoi government as a currency manipulator and the U.S. Trade Representative labeled Vietnam’s currency actions unreasonable and restrictive to American businesses.
The U.S. has also expressed concerns about alleged illegal timber practices.
The U.S. opposes the actions of other countries in the region, particularly China, whose intentions appear to be set on “intimidating, provoking and threatening other countries,” he said.
“I am confident that progress in our relationship will continue under the Biden administration,” he said. President Joe Biden has reiterated that it’s in the national interest of the U.S. to support a “strong and independent Vietnam,” Kritenbrink added.
Kritenbrink, ambassador since 2017, has been nominated by Biden to be assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.