Trump invites Vietnam's prime minister to visit US

By Reuters/My Pham   April 21, 2017 | 02:13 pm GMT+7
Trump invites Vietnam's prime minister to visit US
US President Donald Trump holds a news conference at the White House. Photo by Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein

The two governments have expressed desire to further promote ties and strengthen their relationship since Trump's election win last November.

U.S. President Donald Trump has invited Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to visit the United States, Vietnamese government said on its website on Friday.

Vietnam took ties with the U.S. to a new level under former President Barack Obama, keen for the U.S. to maintain its security presence in Asia in the face of territorial claims by giant neighbour China.

The two governments have expressed desire to further promote ties and strengthen their relationship since Trump's election win last November.

U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster has delivered a letter of invitation from Trump to Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, now on a visit to the U.S., the government added.

Last month, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also said he was ready to visit the U.S. to promote ties between the two countries.

Trump will attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam in November.

Vietnam had been one of the top potential beneficiaries of the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement canceled by Trump, but it has also been building links to the U.S. amid a maritime dispute with China.

China claims most of the South China Sea, which Vietnam calls the East Sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam claim parts of the sea, which commands strategic sea lanes and has rich fishing grounds, along with oil and gas deposits.

Washington lifted a U.S. lethal arms embargo on Vietnam last May, allowing closer defense links and some joint military exercises.