U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is hailing the U.S. relationship with Vietnam in a national day message to the people of the Southeast Asian country.
Vietnam celebrates its national day on Friday, the anniversary of the day on which Ho Chi Minh officially declared Vietnam's independence from French colonial rule in 1945.
In a statement released Wednesday, Clinton praised "the dynamic spirit and optimism" she witnessed in Vietnam during her two visits there in 2010.
She said Washington and Hanoi have increased cooperation on a number of issues, such as human rights, environmental protection, trade and shared security.
Clinton said the U.S. will continue to be "Vietnam's friend and partner" as they create a new future of regional and global cooperation.
The United States has been seeking closer strategic relations with Vietnam, its one-time enemy, in spite of serious concerns about Hanoi's harsh restrictions on free speech and a crackdown on dissidents.
Vietnam, for its part, has been seeking U.S. support in a dispute with China over territorial claims in the South China Sea. The American aircraft carrier USS George Washington visited Vietnam in August, making its second visit to the country in two years.