Bilateral Meetings Mark ‘Full Day’ for Gates in Hanoi

HANOI, Viet­nam, Oct. 11, 2010 — In what he described as “a very full day,” Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates met here today with Viet­namese lead­ers and some of his coun­ter­parts who have come to the Viet­namese cap­i­tal for tomorrow’s inau­gur­al meet­ing of defense min­is­ters from the 10 mem­ber states of the Asso­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Nations and eight oth­er coun­tries with a stake in the region.

Gates spoke with reporters who trav­eled here with him to sum­ma­rize the day’s activ­i­ties.

A high­light, he said, was an invi­ta­tion from Chi­nese Defense Min­is­ter Gen. Liang Guan­glie dur­ing their bilat­er­al meet­ing for Gates to vis­it Bei­jing, sig­nal­ing an appar­ent end to the Chi­nese sus­pen­sion of its mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary rela­tion­ship with the Unit­ed States. Gates told reporters he accept­ed the invi­ta­tion, though details of the tim­ing remain to be worked out.

Sep­a­rate meet­ings with Viet­namese Prime Min­is­ter Nguyen Tan Dung and Lt. Gen. Phung Quang Thanh, the country’s defense min­is­ter, Gates said, cov­ered a full range of issues per­tain­ing to the two coun­tries’ bilat­er­al mil­i­tary ties, includ­ing ways to expand the rela­tion­ship.

Defense secu­ri­ty dia­logue, mar­itime secu­ri­ty, peace­keep­ing, human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and dis­as­ter relief, and search and res­cue capa­bil­i­ties were among the areas dis­cussed for pos­si­ble expan­sion of the U.S.-Vietnamese mil­i­tary rela­tion­ship, the sec­re­tary said.

“And then we talked about some addi­tion­al areas, such as a for­mal rela­tion­ship between the [U.S.] Nation­al Defense Uni­ver­si­ty and its Viet­namese coun­ter­part, more exchanges in pro­fes­sion­al mil­i­tary edu­ca­tion and so on,” he added.

In his meet­ing with Japan­ese Defense Min­is­ter Toshi­mi Kitaza­wa, Gates said, the two lead­ers dis­cussed areas of mutu­al inter­est in the plan for more than 8,000 U.S. Marines to move to Guam from the Japan­ese island of Oki­nawa by 2014, and for Marine Corps Air Sta­tion Futen­ma on Oki­nawa to move to anoth­er loca­tion on the Japan­ese island.

“I talked about the intri­cate con­nec­tion between Futen­ma and Guam and how they need to remain linked and need to move for­ward,” Gates said. The Japan­ese gov­ern­ment already has pro­vid­ed almost $800 mil­lion for con­struc­tion on Guam, he not­ed.

In the final bilat­er­al meet­ing of the day, Gates and Philip­pine Defense Min­is­ter Voltaire Gazmin dis­cussed ways to expand mil­i­tary coop­er­a­tion between the Unit­ed States and the Philip­pines, as well as region­al secu­ri­ty issues.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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