US President Barack Obama will pay his first official visit to Vietnam between May 22 and 25, with economic and security issues expected to be high on the agenda.
Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry affirmed the schedule in a statement Tuesday night, adding that Obama will deliver speeches in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City regarding the US-Vietnam bilateral ties and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an ambitious trade pact which is set to finalize later this year.
He will also meet with representatives from the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative and members of business communities operating in Vietnam.
The Vietnam visit will be followed by a stop in Japan, where the US President will attend his final G7 Summit.
A statement by released by the White House Tuesday said Obama’s tenth trip to Asia will highlight his "ongoing commitment" to the US rebalance policy to Asia and the Pacific.
“[It is] designed to increase US diplomatic, economic, and security engagement with the countries and peoples of the region,” the statement said.
Obama’s visit comes at the end of his presidency. But Daniel Russel, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said during a press briefing in Hanoi Tuesday that US’s policies for Vietnam will remain the same with the new administration.
Russel said comprehensive cooperation with Vietnam is important to US’s rebalance policy in the region, and the new leader will be committed to enhance that.
He said regional security will be carefully discussed to find solutions to escalating tension in the East Sea.
Obama will also discuss cooperation to deal with global challenges including climate change, infectious diseases and terrorism, Russel said.
He said the US has not made any final decision on completely lifting the arms embargo on Vietnam.