US assistant secretary of state visits Vietnam, discusses nonproliferation

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US Assistant Secretary of State Thomas M. Countryman Thursday wrapped up his two-day visit to Vietnam during which he discussed nuclear nonproliferation with senior local officials.

"Vietnam has demonstrated serious commitments to cooperating with the US on nonproliferation," the Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation was quoted as saying in a press released issued by the Hanoi-based US Embassy.

He cited the country's commitments to convert a nuclear research reactor in the Central Highlands resort town of Dalat from highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium.

Vietnam's commitments to participate in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and to work with the US to build its capacity to deal with the threat of weapons of mass destruction were also highlighted by Countryman, according to the press release.

"During its chairmanship of ASEAN in 2010, Vietnam was an active leader in regional and international fora on non-proliferation, and we hope Vietnam will continue to show leadership on non-proliferation in the region and on the global stage," he said in the statement.

According to the press release, Countryman, who is on a visit to the Southeast Asian region, including Indonesia and Thailand, also spoke to the faculty and students at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam.

His trip will include bilateral discussions on regional nonproliferation cooperation, including issues related to the upcoming East Asia Summit, which Indonesia will host in mid-November.

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