HANOI, Vietnam, Aug. 7 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry noted the economic ties between Vietnam and the United States as he visited Hanoi, Vietnam, Friday.
Marking the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries after a costly and divisive war that ended in 1975, Kerry said bilateral trade increased to $36 billion, from $451 million in 2001, and expressed hope a Trans-Pacific Partnership deal between 12 countries can be reached by the end of the year.
"Standing here today, I'm reminded of conversations I've had recently with people who talk almost casually about the prospect of war with one country or another. And I'm tempted to say: 'You don't have the first idea of what you're talking about.' For sure, there are times when one may have no choice but to go to war, but it is never something to rush to or accept without exploring every other available option. The war that took place here half a century ago divided each of our countries and stemmed from the most profound failure of diplomatic insight and political vision," Kerry, a Vietnam war veteran, told a meeting of business and civic leaders in Hanoi.
In the speech he was critical of Vietnam's human rights record, noting Vietnam must uphold international standards to receive the protections of international regulations.