On 23 June, Dr. Chris Seiple, President of the Institute for Global Engagement, spoke to reporters from Vietnam Television (VTV) about the 15 years of bilateral relations between Vietnam and the United States (U.S.) and religious freedom in Vietnam.

During the interview, Dr. Seiple acknowledged the tremendous achievements made over the last 15 years between Vietnam and the U.S. towards stronger Vietnam-U.S. bilateral relations. He praised the efforts of the Vietnamese government and people for their significant improvements on poverty reduction, economic development, and integration into the international community.

Dr. Seiple recommended to the Vietnamese and the U.S. governments to seize the momentum by creating a bilateral and multi-lateral framework based on mature friendship and honest discussion on key issues of foreign trade, education, rule of law, security, defense, and human rights.

When asked about the differences between Vietnam and the U.S. on religious freedom issues, Dr. Seiple emphasized that improved religious freedom in Vietnam would enhance state development and social stability. Dr. Seiple said, “All things are inter-related and that’s why we need a framework and space for conversations on common interests and bridging the gaps on differences between the two countries.”

Dr. Seiple expressed IGE’s continued interest to work alongside the Vietnamese government on implementing religious freedom projects in Vietnam. He encouraged the government to continue to register religious groups and improve conditions for economic development to attract more foreign investments in the Northwest and Central highlands of Vietnam.

The interview is due to broadcast in Vietnam at the beginning of July.

Please direct all press inquiries to Abigail Skeans at: askeans@globalengage.org