US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo begins official visit to Vietnam

By Huyen Le   October 29, 2020 | 07:12 am PT
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo begins official visit to Vietnam
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a news conference at the State Department in Washington, DC, on April 29, 2020. Photo by Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP.
The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Hanoi Thursday night, beginning a two-day official visit to Vietnam.

The official visit, being made on invitation from Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, is to commemorate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Pompeo is expected to meet Minh, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Minister of Public Security To Lam during his visit, according to a press release by the U.S. Department of State.

The visit also serves to reaffirm the strength of the comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and the U.S., as also their mutual commitment to a peaceful and prosperous region, it said, adding leaders of both countries will discuss issues of mutual interest during the visit.

In a July statement, Pompeo praised the growth of bilateral cooperation between both countries over the last 25 years and said he was committed to making the relationship an international model. He also lauded Vietnam for its chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year, especially in coordinating ASEAN's response to the Covid-19 pandemic and issues related to economic recovery.

On July 11, 1995, former U.S. President Bill Clinton announced the normalization of relations between the two countries, 20 years after the end of the Vietnam War.

Vietnam and the U.S. are now comprehensive partners, with bilateral trade increasing from $450 million in 1994 to $77 billion in 2019.

The U.S. is now Vietnam’s largest importer and Vietnam remains the U.S.’s fastest-growing market in Southeast Asia. Despite the strong adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, bilateral trade value rose nearly 10 percent in the first half of this year.

Pompeo's third visit to Vietnam is part of a itinerary that includes several Asian countries. He had previously attended the U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi, India, and visited Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

His first visit to Vietnam was in July 2018, when he discussed with Vietnamese leaders ways to further the two countries’ partnership as well as global and regional issues of mutual interest, including North Korea’s denuclearization. The second one was in February 2019 when he accompanied President Donald Trump to his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi.

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