The President's News Conference With President Tran Dai Quang of Vietnam in Hanoi, Vietnam
Moderator. Your Excellency Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, Your Excellency Tran Dai Quang, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, ladies and gentlemen, members of the media: President Donald Trump and President Tran Dai Quang are now hosting a press briefing to announce the results of their talks. And may I now invite His Excellency President Tran Dai Quang to deliver his remarks.
President Quang. Your Excellency Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, ladies and gentlemen, members of the media: President Trump and I have had fruitful talks about the bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest. We both share the views that the bilateral relations have scored substantial results over the years, delivering enormous benefits to the people of both countries.
During President Trump's state visit to Vietnam, Vietnam and the United States issued a joint statement pledging to further deepen the Vietnam-United States comprehensive partnership on the basis of mutual respect for each other's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political systems.
Within the visit's framework, the two sides reached important agreements on economy and trade. Addressing war legacy issues will receive higher priority, and we are committed to collaborate actively on this matter. Vietnam highly values the United States decision to cooperate with Vietnam on dioxin cleanup at Bien Hoa Air Base after the two countries successfully concluded the dioxin cleanup project at Danang Airport.
The President and I discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest. We agreed to strengthen our close coordination at regional and international forums to contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region and the world at large. We also agreed on the importance of the ASEAN-United States strategic partnership. We believe that the development of Vietnam-U.S. relations ought not only benefit each country, but also contribute to strengthening ASEAN-U.S. relations for peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the Asia-Pacific and the world.
The President's state visit to Vietnam marks a milestone in Vietnam-U.S. relations, creating strong momentum for the substantive and effective and stable development of the bilateral, comprehensive partnership. I wish President Trump and members of the U.S. delegation a successful visit, and I hope that you will have good impressions of our country and our people.
I sincerely thank Mr. President, personally, and the American people for the warm friendship towards our country and people, and I appreciate the great efforts to develop Vietnam-U.S. bilateral relations. I would also like to thank all American and Vietnamese reporters who are here today. Thank you very much.
Moderator. Thank you, President Tran Dai Quang. May I now invite His Excellency Mr. Donald Trump, President of the United States, to deliver his remarks. President Trump. Thank you very much, President Quang. And thank you for your tremendous hospitality during my first visit to Vietnam. It is a pleasure to be with you right here in Hanoi. On behalf of the entire American delegation, I want to thank the Vietnamese people for their warm welcome and to reaffirm the strong friendship and growing partnership between our two nations.
Travelers from all around the world, including many Americans, come to Vietnam each year to admire your magnificent limestone mountains, cycle through your many winding hillsides, or swim in the majestic Halong Bay. Your nation's magnificence brings different people together from around the world in shared appreciation of the great beauty and splendor of your wonderful country. Over the past two decades, our two nations have come together to find common purpose based on common interests. And that's what's happening. It is those crucial bonds we are here to reaffirm today.
In May, the United States transferred the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau to the people and country of Vietnam. Named for U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr., this vessel once patrolled the coasts of Vietnam during the Vietnam war. Today, the same American vessel, a gift between partners, is sailing the waters of the Pacific on its way to patrol these coasts for the people of Vietnam.
This month, we mark Veterans Day in the United States. And out of war and conflict, we have achieved a deep friendship, partnership, and we have achieved peace. Bound by mutual respect and common experience, our veterans laid the foundation for that achievement between our nations.
Our decades-long joint humanitarian efforts with the Vietnamese people and Government to account for and recover personnel still missing—so important to us—from the war honors—these horrors of this horrendous war. We want our servicemembers support—and we give total support to the families, and we strengthen the foundation of our comprehensive partnership. That is so important to us.
In the spirit of our friendship, I want to congratulate President Quang for hosting a very successful APEC leaders meeting this week in Danang. Congratulations. You did a fantastic job. Thank you. As I stated in my address to the APEC CEO Summit on Friday, the United States is committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific, where strong, independent nations respect each other's sovereignty, uphold the rule of law, and advance responsible commerce. We want our partners in the Indo-Pacific to be proud and self-reliant, not proxies or satellites.
We look forward to achieving a bilateral trade agreement with partners who abide by the principles of fair and reciprocal trade—two very important words: fair and reciprocal. It hasn't been that way for the United States almost at all. And we're changing that, and we're changing it rapidly. For trade to work, all countries must play by the rules.
I am encouraged that Vietnam has recently become the fastest growing export market to the United States. Mr. President, I applaud your efforts to implement economic reforms and increase Vietnam's trade and investment in all directions. The United States is enthusiastic about reforms that promote economic prosperity for all Vietnamese citizens, as we look to your growing middle class as a key market for American goods and services. We just had a great discussion about American goods and services coming in to Vietnam. Two-way street.
I am confident that American energy, agriculture, financial services, aviation, digital commerce, and defense products are able to meet all of your many commercial needs, and, in fact, not only meet them, but what we do is better than anybody else. Moving forward, I welcome Vietnam's commitment to eliminating trade barriers for U.S. agricultural products. This is very important. We must ensure that American farmers and all American companies, especially those in digital services and e-commerce, can compete on a level playing field. And we look forward to working with you to combat predatory and unfair trade practices in the region.
On security issues, we continue to work with our Vietnamese partners and with partners across the region on a range of challenges, including maritime security, counterterrorism, human and drug trafficking, cybercrime, and disease prevention.
Later today I will travel to the Philippines, where I will discuss many of these issues at the U.S.-ASEAN summit and the East Asia Summit. The ASEAN summit is going to be something, I think, very, very special. I look forward to attending.
We will also discuss the growing threat from North Korea. As I said in my speech to the Republic of Korea's National Assembly: All responsible nations must act now to ensure that North Korea's rogue regime stops threatening the world with unthinkable loss of life.
Safety and security are goals that should unite all civilized nations. We want progress, not provocation. I mean, we have been provoked; the world has been provoked. We don't want that. We want stability, not chaos. And we want peace, not war.
Mr. President, thank you for being such a gracious host during my time right here in Vietnam. I toured areas of Vietnam, and it is magnificent what's happening.
Over the past two decades, our nations have continued to grow closer in advancing our shared interests. The history of our two nations reveals the possibilities for peace and progress in our world. Moving forward as partners, we will achieve great prosperity and success for the American people and for the Vietnamese people.
I thank you very much. Thank you.
Moderator. Thank you very much, President Donald Trump. And now the floor is open to your questions.
Q. President Tran Dai Quang, I'm from Vietnam News Agency. What is—can you elaborate of progresses in the Vietnam-U.S. relations over the past years?
President Quang. Well, dear reporters, over the past years, the Vietnam-U.S. relations have made very strong progress in all areas, from politics, diplomacy, economy, trade, science and technology, health, humanitarian areas, and people-to-people exchange.
And in particular, high-level contacts, meetings, and exchange of delegations on the basis of the comprehensive partnership have produced substantive and meaningful results. And among them, the visit to the United States by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in May this year and the state visit to Vietnam of Honorable President Donald Trump in the very first year of his term of office are the highlights.
Meetings between leaders of Vietnam and the President during his visit are very useful, and the meetings give us the opportunity to understand each other better and to work together on areas of mutual interests. The substantive and effective growth of the comprehensive partnership between the two countries have been, and will be, delivering benefits to our two peoples and contributing to the maintenance of peace, stability, cooperation, and prosperity in the region and the world. Thank you.
Q. I'm from VTV and have another question for President Tran Dai Quang. Can you please provide your assessment of the future outlook of the Vietnam-U.S. relationship?
President Quang. Thank you for your question. Well, during the talks that I had with the President, we acknowledged that there is still much room for further expansion of the bilateral relations, and we discussed ways and means to further strengthen the cooperation in a more substantive and effective manner in the time to come.
And the two sides also pledged to increase contacts and dialogues, especially the high-level meetings through bilateral visits and meetings at the sidelines of the regional and international forums. The two sides will also promote the momentum for development of the economic, trade, and investment relations on the basis of mutual interest, minimize the trade and investment disputes, and will continue to effectively implement the economic and trade agreements that we have signed.
We'll also strengthen cooperation in science and technology, environment, climate change, humanitarian issues, human resources development, and expanding people-to-people exchange for the enhanced comprehensive partnership, the interest of the two peoples and for the benefit of peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the region and the world.
Moderator. Well, thank you President——
Russia's Efforts To Interfere in the 2016 Presidential Election/U.S. Intelligence Agencies/Russia-U.S. Relations
Q. Thank you, Mr. President. And if I could throw a little bit of a change-up here, I'll ask both leaders a question as opposed to just one.
President Trump. Okay.
Q. Mr. President, to you, if we could first. On the way here to Hanoi, from Danang, you talked about your meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday——
President Trump. Yes.
Q. ——in which you said you received further assurances from him that he did not meddle in the U.S. election.
President Trump. That's true.
Q. There was some uncertainty that brewed back in the United States over your statement that you said, "When he says—when he tells me that, I believe that he means it." That was taken in some circles, including Senator John McCain, to think that you believe that he is saying he did not interfere in the election. Could you, once and for all, definitively, sir—yes or no—say whether or not you believe that President Putin and/or Russia interfered in the election?
President Trump. What I said there—I'm surprised that there's any conflict on this. What I said there is that I believe he believes that, and that's very important for somebody to believe. I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election.
As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with their leadership. I believe in our intel agencies, our intelligence agencies. I've worked with them very strongly. There weren't seventeen as was previously reported; there were actually four. But they were saying there was seventeen; there were actually four. But as currently led by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies.
Now, at the same time, I want to be able—because I think it's very important—to get along with Russia, to get along with China, to get along with Vietnam, to get along with lots of countries, because we have a lot of things we have to solve. And frankly, Russia and China in particular can help us with the North Korea problem, which is one of our truly great problems.
So I'm not looking to stand and start arguing with somebody when there's reporters all around and cameras recording and seeing our conversation. I think it was very obvious to everybody. I believe that President Putin really feels—and he feels strongly—that he did not meddle in our election. What he believes is what he believes.
What I believe is that we have to get to work. And I think everybody understood this that heard the answer. We have to get to work to solve Syria, to solve North Korea, to solve Ukraine, to solve terrorism.
And, you know, people don't realize Russia has been very, very heavily sanctioned. They were sanctioned at a very high level, and that took place very recently. It's now time to get back to healing a world that is shattered and broken. Those are very important things. And I feel that having Russia in a friendly posture, as opposed to always fighting with them, is an asset to the world and an asset to our country, not a liability.
And by the way, Hillary Clinton had the reset button. She wanted to get back together with Russia. She even spelled "reset" wrong. That's how it started, and then it got worse. President Obama wanted to get along with Russia, but the chemistry wasn't there. Getting along with other nations is a good thing, not a bad thing, believe me. It's a good thing, not a bad thing.
Q. And, President Quang, if I could ask a question of you. There are some people who believe that Vietnam could make an effective facilitator in bringing the United States and North Korea together to at least lay the groundwork, potentially, for negotiations. What do you believe Vietnam could bring to the table in that regard?
President Quang. On North Korea issue, Vietnam is committed to seriously observing all the relevant resolutions of the UNSC, and we support the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And we'll do our utmost and do whatever we can to contribute to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Moderator. Well, thank you President Tran Dai Quang——
Q. Mr. President, you tweeted this morning about trying very hard to be friends with Kim Jong Un. Is that really a possibility? What would it take for that to happen at this point?
And for President Quang, could you comment on the President's offer to mediate the South China Sea dispute? Thank you.
President Trump. Steve [Steve Holland, Reuters], I think anything is a possibility. Strange things happen in life. That might be a strange thing to happen, but it's certainly a possibility. If that did happen, it would be a good thing for—I can tell you—for North Korea. But it would also be good for lots of other places, and it would be good for the world. So, certainly, it is something that could happen. I don't know that it will, but it would be very, very nice if it did.
President Quang. With regard to the South China Sea issue, I have shared my thoughts with President Donald Trump on the recent developments in this area. And it is our policy to settle disputes in the South China Sea through peaceful negotiations and with respect for diplomatic and legal process, in accordance with international law, including the 1982 U.N. Convention on Law of the Sea.
Thank you very much.
Moderator. Thank you, President Tran Dai Quang and President Donald Trump. We have come to the end of the press briefing today. Thank you all very much for your participation.
Q. Mr. President, do you approve of the Philippines extrajudicial killings? Mr. President—[inaudible].
NOTE: The President's news conference began at 10:27 a.m. at the Presidential Palace. In his remarks, the President referred to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. A reporter referred to Chairman of the Korean Worker's Party Kim Jong Un of North Korea. President Quang, the moderator, and reporters spoke in Vietnamese, and their remarks were translated by an interpreter.
Donald J. Trump, The President's News Conference With President Tran Dai Quang of Vietnam in Hanoi, Vietnam Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/331366