Relations between the United States and Vietnam entered a new era in July 2013 with the conclusion of the U.S.-Vietnam comprehensive partnership agreement announced by President Barack Obama and President Truong Tan Sang. The U.S.-Vietnam comprehensive partnership is an overarching framework for strengthening and deepening cooperation across nine sectors: political and diplomatic relations, trade and economic ties, science and technology, education and training, environment and health, war legacy issues, defence and security, protection and promotion of human rights, and culture, sports and tourism. It has been four years since the U.S.-Vietnam comprehensive partnership was officially launched. It is, therefore, time to assess this comprehensive partnership.

The article will begin with a brief literature review which demonstrates the needs to produce a dedicated analysis of U.S.-Vietnam comprehensive partnership before examining the U.S. and Vietnamese concepts of a comprehensive partnership. It also seeks to explore what have motivated Hanoi and Washington to elevate their bilateral relations to a new height. The article goes on to evaluate developments in the U.S.-Vietnam relations from July 2013 up to July 2017 on five main sectors: economic ties, security cooperation, people-to-people ties, cooperation on humanitarian and war legacy issues, cooperation on regional and global challenges. It will demonstrate that the U.S.-Vietnam relationship has achieved important progresses since the announcement of the U.S.-Vietnam comprehensive partnership. Last but not least, the article will look at the possible shapes of the United States and Vietnam in the future.