Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung left Hanoi Sunday for the ASEAN-US Summit to be held at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California, the United States.
His attendance at the event on February 15-16 was made at the invitation of US President Barack Obama, according to the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry on Saturday.
The Prime Minister's entourage includes Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh, Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang, and Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Pham Quang Vinh.
This unprecedented gathering, the first hosted by the US with the ASEAN leaders, builds on the deeper partnership that the US has forged with ASEAN since 2009 and is expected to further advance the US’s rebalance to Asia and the Pacific, the White House said in a statement on December 30, 2015.
For nearly 40 years, the US and ASEAN have worked toward stability, prosperity, and peace in Southeast Asia, it said.
U.S. President Barack Obama (C) joins hands with leaders, including Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung (2nd, L), during a group photo for the 2nd ASEAN-U.S. Summit in Naypyitaw in November 2014. Photo: Reuters
This summit will provide leaders a forum to strengthen cooperation under the new US-ASEAN strategic partnership, launched in November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, on political, security, and economic issues, according to the White House.
ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Last year, ASEAN leaders created the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), aiming to increase trade, investment and economic ties among the 10 nations.
The summit is expected to focus on how the US can facilitate the establishment of the AEC through innovation and entrepreneurship.
The participating leaders will also discuss peace, security, maritime, trans-border crimes and terrorism issues during the two-day meeting.
With a population of over 626 million people and an economy valued at $2.4 trillion. ASEAN represents the third-largest economy in Asia, behind China and India, and the seventh-largest economy in the world.