Hanoi (dpa) – US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday in Hanoi
urged Vietnam toward greater freedom as he sought to boost a deeper
partnership between the United States and the South-East Asia nation.

“Every country and culture is unique, and we respect the differences
of basic structures of governance. But this idea of freedom is
universally recognized,” Kerry said.

He was speaking to civic and business leaders in Hanoi at the
conference US-Vietnam: Looking to the Future, in celebration of 20
years of restored relations between the US and Vietnam.

Later in a speech to a group of students and lecturers at America
Center, Kerry pushed Vietnam to accept more academic freedom.

Vietnam was Kerry’s final stop in a five-nation tour of the Middle
East and South-East Asia.

It was the second time Kerry has visited Vietnam since he took
office. He first visited in December 2013.

Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran, was one of the key people helping to
restore relations with Vietnam two decades ago.