Trump invites Vietnam's prime minister to visit US

Trump invites Vietnam's prime minister to visit US

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is invited by US President Donald Trump to visit the United States. (Reuters photo)

HANOI – US President Donald Trump has invited Vietnam’s prime minister to visit the United States, the Southeast Asian nation’s government said on its website on Friday.

Vietnam took ties with the US to a new level under former US President Barack Obama, keen for the US to maintain its security presence in Asia in the face of territorial claims by giant neighbour China.

The two governments have expressed desire to further promote ties and strengthen their relationship since Trump’s election win last November.

US national security adviser Herbert “H.R” McMaster has delivered a letter of invitation from Trump to Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, now on a visit to the US, the government added.

Last month, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also said he was ready to visit the US to promote ties between the two countries.

Trump will attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam in November.

Vietnam had been one of the top potential beneficiaries of the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement cancelled by Trump, but it has also been building links to the US amid a maritime dispute with China.

China claims most of the South China Sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam claim parts of the sea, which commands strategic sea lanes and has rich fishing grounds, along with oil and gas deposits.

Washington lifted a US lethal-arms embargo on Vietnam last May, allowing closer defence links and some joint military exercises.

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