New US Ambassador to Vietnam David Bruce Shear Friday said improving the strategic partnership and bilatereal trade between the two countries will be his priority during his three-year term.
During his first press conference, Ambassador Shear said the task would include increasing America's export to Vietnam through the US' export initiative and through the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement which is currently being negotiated.
Two-way trade between US and Vietnam increased from US$1.5 billion in 2001 to $18.6 billion in 2011, representing an annual increase of roughly 20 percent.
Despite some disagreements, Shear said the two countries would continue to foster "strategic partnership" in areas such as maritime security, humanitarian assistance, education, agent orange/dioxin, adoption policies, climate change, among others.
He noted that bilteral ties in national defense has improved in recent years.
However, it is still in its initial phases, so it will be some time before the US can sell anti-personnel weapons to Vietnam, he said when asked about the likelihood of such sales.
On East Sea issues, the ambassador said the US opposes the use of force, or threat to use force by any country to push its sovereignty claims.
The US doesn't stand for any side in sovereignty claims in the East Sea, but calls for related countries to follow international laws, he said.
Shear first visited in Vietnam as a tourist in 2007. He used to serve as deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and former Director of the Office of Chinese Affairs.