US President Barack Obama landed in Hanoi late Sunday at the beginning of a three-day visit aimed at building stronger economic and security relations with Vietnam.
Air Force One touched down at Noi Bai International Airport at 9:30 p.m. Secretary of State John Kerry had arrived earlier at around 6:40 p.m.
US President Barack Obama walks down from Air Force One at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport on May 22, 2016. Photo: Ha Hai/Thanh Nien
The US president was greeted by the head of the Presidential Office, Dao Viet Trung, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ha Kim Ngoc and US ambassador to Vietnam, Ted Osius, before he left for the JW Marriott Hotel on Do Duc Duc Street in Tu Liem District.
Many people had gathered along the streets and cheered when Obama and his delegation passed by.
People gathered along Do Duc Duc Street near the JW Marriott Hotel where US President Obama will stay. Photo: Le Nam/Thanh Nien
A young man carries a banner on Do Duc Duc Street. Photo: Le Nam/Thanh Nien
The US leader will meet his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang Monday morning and then National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan before holding a joint press conference with Quang.
In the afternoon Obama will meet Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.
On Tuesday morning he will make a speech at the National Convention Center in Tu Liem District before leaving for Ho Chi Minh City at noon.
On Tuesday afternoon Obama will visit Ngoc Hoang (Jade Emperor) Pagoda in HCMC's District 1 to “pay tribute to and admire the cultural traditions of Vietnam,” according to the White House.
Following that visit, he will meet young entrepreneurs at Dreamplex Co-working Space in the same district.
Michael Froman, US Trade Representative, said America is keen to tap into Vietnam's middle class, a demographic expected to double between 2014 and 2020.
“As middle class consumers emerge, they want more of everything that the United States is well-positioned to make and to export. But we face significant barriers to those exports," AFP quoted him as saying.
He cited examples: 70 percent tariff on automobiles, 34 percent on beef products and 59 percent tariff on machinery parts.
But all are set to be eliminated under the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), of which Vietnam is a signatory.
On Wednesday morning Obama will host a town hall meeting with members of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative in District 1 before leaving for Japan for a trip that will include a G7 summit and a visit to Hiroshima, where the US dropped a nuclear bomb, killing 140,000 people.