United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis arrived in Hanoi on Wednesday to begin his official to Vietnam.
At the invitation of Vietnamese Minister of National Defense Ngo Xuan Lich, Secretary Mattis is scheduled to visit the Southeast Asian country from January 24 to 26.
According to the agenda, an official welcome ceremony was organized on Thursday morning, followed by a meeting between delegations from the two countries led by Secretary Mattis and General Lich.
General Lich plans to present the U.S. official with a photo album detailing cooperation between the two countries in dealing with war consequences and partnering for United Nations peacekeeping efforts.
The Pentagon chief is also slated to meet Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and State President Tran Dai Quang in Hanoi that same day.
Secretary Mattis is scheduled to visit the Tran Quoc Pagoda, the oldest Buddhist temple in the Vietnamese capital, during his stay in Vietnam.
|Secretary of Defense James Mattis tours the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) in Hanoi. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Upon his arrival on Wednesday, Secretary Mattis visited the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) in Hanoi, which works to recover the remains of missing American service members, and spoke with several employees at the agency.
He was accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel J. Kritenbrink.
The U.S. and Vietnam are building a positive future together, Mattis told the press on Wednesday, adding that he looks forward to continuing the productive dialogue begun during previous U.S. visits and engagements.
During his visit, Secretary Mattis is expected to address freedom of navigation in the East Vietnam Sea and the respect for international rule of law and national sovereignty.
The Vietnam visit is a continuation of the U.S. official’s trip to Southeast Asia, following an official visit to Indonesia from January 22 and 24.