US defense secretary to visit Vietnam to discuss regional military ties

By Phan Anh   November 8, 2019 | 06:00 pm PT
US defense secretary to visit Vietnam to discuss regional military ties
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper in Virginia, U.S., July 8, 2019. Photo by Reuters/Yuri Gripas.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will visit Vietnam as part of a trip to Asia starting on November 13.

He would also visit South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines, a media advisory from the U.S. embassy in Vietnam on Friday said.

Esper is expected to meet his Vietnamese counterpart Ngo Xuan Lich and other key leaders to discuss the regional security environment and ways to enhance the growing defense relationship.

It is not yet known when he arrives.

Before coming to Vietnam, he will attend the 51st U.S. – ROK Security Consultative Meeting in South Korea, the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Thailand and meet his Philippine counterpart in the Philippines.

Vietnam and the U.S. would hold several activities and programs to enhance bilateral defense cooperation during Esper’s visit, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, Randall Schriver, had said last month.

Esper took over as Secretary of Defense in June. His predecessor, Jim Mattis, visited Vietnam twice last year, and, during one of them, reviewed preparations for a dioxin cleanup at Bien Hoa military airport, a former American airbase, in Dong Nai Province.

The two countries’ defense relations continue to grow based on existing mechanisms and within the framework of their comprehensive partnership, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang had said last month.

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