Vietnam’s prime minister starts first US visit

By VnExpress   May 29, 2017 | 09:17 am GMT+7
Vietnam’s prime minister starts first US visit
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) with U.S. Trade representative Robert Lighthizer in Hanoi on May 20. Photo by Vietnam News Agency

The visit will include a meeting between PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and President Donald Trump.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc left Hanoi Sunday night for a three-day visit in the United States, his first as the head of the government, to further boost relationship with one of the country's top trading partners, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

The official visit from May 29-31 will also be the first time a Vietnamese senior leader will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Following Trump’s official invitation last month, Phuc's visit aims to further Vietnam’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, integration and diversification of foreign relations, the report said.

He will be accompanied by Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Minister of Public Security To Lam, Minister of the Government Office Mai Tien Dung, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong.

Hanoi has invited Trump to attend the APEC Summit in Da Nang in November this year.

Vietnam and the United States established diplomatic ties in 1995.

Over the past years, the United States has become one of the leading trade partners of Vietnam. Trade has been growing about 20 percent each year. U.S. exports to Vietnam in 2016 soared 77 percent from the previous year while its imports increased 15 percent, according to Vietnam's customs data.

With 815 projects with a combined registered capital of $10 billion, the U.S. is now the eighth largest foreign investor in Vietnam, according to official data.

The two nations also have a strong education bond, with more than 28,000 Vietnamese students studying in the U.S., making Vietnam the sixth among countries with the most students at American educational institutions, according to a recent U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Program report.

American tourists to Vietnam increased 12.5 percent to nearly 552,700 in 2016, according to the General Statistics Office.