Secretary of State
August 7, 2015
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Date: 08/07/2015 Location: Hanoi, Vietnam Description: Secretary Kerry delivers remarks on U.S.-Vietnam: Looking to the Future at the Daewoo Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam. - State Dept Image
Well, good afternoon and welcome, everybody. (Applause.) This is an really historic moment as we mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of normal diplomatic relations between the United States and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. And what a journey it has been. And I congratulate all those of you who have helped to make this happen.
I am really delighted by the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phan Binh Minh. Thank you so much for your partnership and efforts. We really appreciate what you do. (Applause.)
And I’m very pleased to be here with – the president just said to me, pointed to Ted Osius, our ambassador – he said, “He’s Vietnamese; he’s not American.” (Laughter.) And I said, “You’ve converted him.” But the truth is he’s one of our finest diplomats, Ambassador Ted Osius. Thank you for what you do. (Applause.)
I have to tell you that seeing Ted, I am reminded – perhaps a little bit painfully – of when we first met. It was about 17 years ago, and I was then a U.S. Senator. And I came here to participate in a bike ride with American veterans, particularly a number who had been wounded during the war, who were doing this ride. And the heat and the humidity, obviously, made it a challenging ride. But even worse, every time that I eased up on my pedals and I’d look ahead, there was Ted Osius cruising away like he was on some kind of lazy Sunday afternoon jaunt. And I later found out why he looked so good. Ted was what we in the United States would call a “ringer” – that is, someone who makes it look like he’s riding a bike for the first time, but he’s really pretty expert. And I learned that he once rode the full 1,200-miles between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City – and unlike some people that I know, he cycled a great distance without falling off his bike, folks. (Laughter.)
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