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243rd US Independence Day marked early in Ho Chi Minh City

Thursday, June 06, 2019, 13:06 GMT+7
243rd US Independence Day marked early in Ho Chi Minh City
From left: U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Mary Tarnowka, Ho Chi Minh City deputy chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink, and Da Nang chairman Huynh Duc Tho raise glasses of champagne at an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

The United States Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City hosted an early celebration of its country’s 243rd Independence Day (July 4) on Wednesday in a night filled with jazz, laughter, and the exchange of warm words.

The event was held at the Vinpearl Luxury Hotel located inside Landmark 81 – Vietnam’s tallest building – in Binh Thanh District.

Guests at the event included U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink, Ho Chi Minh City deputy chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen, and Da Nang chairman Huynh Duc Tho.

Vietnamese dance crew Saigon Swing Cats kicked off the night with a lively rendition of “Lindy Hop," a classical jazz dance made popular in the U.S. during the 1930s and 1940s.

The performance was followed by a saxophone duet of jazz classic “Take Five," performed by prominent Vietnamese saxophonist Tran Manh Tuan and his daughter An Tran.

Vietnamese dance crew Saigon Swing Cats perform at an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

Vietnamese dance crew Saigon Swing Cats perform at an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Mary Tarnowka hugs Vietnamese saxophonist Tran Manh Tuan as U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink (R) congratulates Tuan's daughter An Tran after the artists' performance at an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Mary Tarnowka hugs Vietnamese saxophonist Tran Manh Tuan as U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink (R) congratulates Tuan's daughter An Tran after the artists' performance at an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

Addressing guests at the event, outgoing Consul General Mary Tarnowka appeared emotional as she remarked on how it was her last Independence Day as consul general in Ho Chi Minh City.

“I look back on my time over the last three years with a great sense of satisfaction,” said Tarnowka, who replaced former Consul General Rena Bitter in September 2016.

“I’m both honored and proud to have led the consulate team as we brought the [Vietnam-U.S.] relationship to an all-time high,” the consul general remarked, adding that the countries have continued to deepen and strengthen their comprehensive partnership by promoting mutual peace, prosperity, and people-to-people ties.

“Though my time as consul general is coming to a close, I will take away many great memories,” she reflected.

U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Mary Tarnowka addresses an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Mary Tarnowka addresses an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

Tarnowka will leave office in July to return home to take on a new position in the U.S. Department of State. Her successor, whose identity remains undisclosed, will take office in August.

Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink shared that Vietnam-U.S. relations are at a peak, as evidenced by Vietnam’s successful organization of the U.S.-North Korea Summit in Hanoi in February and President Donald Trump's two visits to Vietnam.

The relationship has also been reinforced by U.S. aircraft carriers’ visits to Vietnam in 2018, cooperation in treating dioxin (Agent Orange) contamination at Bien Hoa Airport in the southern province of Dong Nai, and assistance to Vietnam in UN peacekeeping activities, he said.

Over 30,000 Vietnamese students are now pursuing study in the U.S., the ambassador added.

U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink addresses an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink addresses an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

Revisiting the two jazz performances at the start of the night, Ambassador Kritenbrink noted how jazz, much like diplomacy, “calls for teamwork, trust, and mutual understanding."

“Jazz, at its heart, is a cooperative art form,” he said.

“I encourage all my colleagues – American, Vietnamese, and friends from other countries – to embrace this spirit of jazz in our work,” the ambassador added.

U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Mary Tarnowka (C) and Da Nang chairman Huynh Duc Tho (R) react during a speech by U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink at an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Mary Tarnowka (C) and Da Nang chairman Huynh Duc Tho (R) smile during a speech by U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink at an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

Addressing the event, Ho Chi Minh City deputy chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen expressed his belief that, with efforts made by both sides, the Vietnam-U.S. comprehensive partnership will continue to grow.

As Vietnam’s economic, cultural, scientific and technological hub, Ho Chi Minh City has worked together with the U.S. on many cooperative activities.

Trade between the two sides topped US$8.2 billion in 2018, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

The U.S. is the fourth-biggest importer of Ho Chi Minh City’s products and ranks 10th among 106 countries and territories with entities currently investing in the city, with nearly 400 projects worth a combined $1 billion.

Ho Chi Minh City deputy chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen addresses an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

Ho Chi Minh City deputy chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen addresses an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

Ho Chi Minh City deputy chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen (L) shakes hands with U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Mary Tarnowka as U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink (C) reacts at an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

Ho Chi Minh City deputy chairman Tran Vinh Tuyen (L) shakes hands with U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Mary Tarnowka as U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink (C) reacts at an event celebrating the 243rd U.S. Independence Day in Ho Chi Minh City on June 5, 2019. Photo: Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

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Tuan Son / Tuoi Tre News

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