US defense secretary to visit Vietnam

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US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will make an official visit to Vietnam this October 11, Vietnam's Deputy Minister of National Defense Nguyen Chi Vinh said Thursday.


Vinh added that, during Gates' visit, the two countries will discuss their cooperative efforts to search for the remains of US MIAs, overcoming the war's consequences and developing international trainings, including teaching each other Vietnamese and English.


On September 29, Vinh returned from a three-day visit to the US where he met with leaders about the first-ever ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM+) to be held this October 12 in Hanoi.


"Vietnam-US's national defense relationship has made progress recently," he said, attributing it to the development of the two countries' general relationship and US interest in the region.


The advances were highlighted by various events like the Minister of National Defense's visit to US last year and US efforts to promote cooperative initiatives in adressing human rights issues and the consequences of the war - such as Agent Orange mitigation.


ADMM+ was expected to be attended by defense ministers from ten ASEAN countries and eight other partners Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, and US.


Asked if the East Sea matter will be discussed at the forum, Vinh said ASEAN countries agreed that the meeting would deal with "most general problems," but that individual countries have a right to voice their viewpoints when representing their security policies.

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