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Vietnam party chief to visit US in 2015, ministry confirms

Thursday, February 26, 2015, 09:35 GMT+7
Vietnam party chief to visit US in 2015, ministry confirms
Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong is seen in a file photo.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong will pay a visit to the United States in 2015, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to Tuoi Tre News on Wednesday.  

>> An audio version of the story is available here

There has been no confirmed date for the visit up to now, however.

A recent statement by the Vietnamese foreign ministry showed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on February 13 mentioning the Obama administration’s invitation to Party General Secretary Trong to visit the U.S. this year, while extending a New Year’s greetings to the government and people of Vietnam during a telephone conversation with his Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Binh Minh.

Dr. Jonathan London, a sociologist at the City University of Hong Kong who studies Vietnam, told Tuoi Tre News that the Vietnamese leader’s visit to the U.S. will be a significant milestone in relations between the two countries.

He added U.S. President Barack Obama is likely to pay a visit to Vietnam this autumn.

On the sidelines of an international conference on Vietnam-U.S. relationship held in Hanoi on January 26, Dr. Murray Hiebert, senior fellow and deputy director of the Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asia Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., told Tuoi Tre News that Washington is planning to bring President Obama to Vietnam this year, even though there has been no confirmation as yet.

According to Dr. Hiebert, in November President Obama is scheduled to attend an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in the Philippines and the East Asia Summit 2015 in Malaysia.

Due to the close geographical distance, it is likely that President Obama will visit Vietnam, Dr. Hiebert added.

He noted that President Obama will not come to Vietnam to “eat [a] 20th birthday cake, but pick up something for the future.”

During an interview with Tuoi Tre News last December, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius said he was optimistic about the prospect of President Obama visiting Vietnam this year. “I think both governments are interested in a series of high-level visits next year. I’m hopeful they will have those high-level visits. I don’t think I can confirm anything at this point but I’m optimistic,” he said.

On February 23, while receiving Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh at the White House, President Obama said that the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the U.S. in 2015 presents an occasion to further the two countries’ relations.

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US President Barack Obama (L) welcomes Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh at the White House on February 23, 2015. Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam

The U.S. president also expressed his hope that the two nations will continue strengthening their friendship and mutual understanding, while addressing their differences in an open and straightforward manner.

Ambassador Vinh also took the occasion to convey State President Truong Tan Sang’s invitation to President Obama to visit Vietnam this year, proposing that both sides prepare for Party General Secretary Trong’s trip to the U.S. in the coming time.

Vietnam and the U.S. normalized their relations in 1995, twenty years after the end of the war.

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Trung Pham/Tuoi Tre News

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