Hillary Clinton to return to Vietnam during ASEAN forum

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US State Secretary Hillary Clinton started her journey Thursday to the Southeast Asian security forum and is expected to make her fourth trip to Vietnam on July 10 and 11, the US State Department announced.

An AFP report cited department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland as saying that Clinton would travel to France, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia upon leaving Washington on July 5.

She will visit Vietnam for economic and education cooperation, among other discussions, with Vietnamese government officials, after attending a talk on Syria in Paris, an Afghanistan talk in Tokyo, and a diplomatic visit to Mongolia, before attending the ASEAN Regional Forum on July 12 in Cambodia.

The East Sea dispute is likely to be a major topic at the forum, according to a Washington Post report.

At the fifth annual Vietnam-US Political, Security, and Defense Dialogue in Hanoi on June 20, the US agreed with Vietnam's position on the territorial disputes, that they should be resolved by peaceful means without coercion or the use of force.

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After the forum, Clinton will visit Laos, marking the first time a US Secretary of State officially visits the country in 57 years. She will then head to Egypt for the first time since President Mahamed Morsi took power, and then move on to Israel for peace talks and other discussions on July 16 and 17, Nuland said.

Clinton first visited Vietnam in 2000 as first lady to President Bill Clinton. She next arrived in Vietnam as US Secretary of State in July 2010, to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum; and three months later to commemorate the passage of 15 years since the US lifted its trade embargo against Vietnam.

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