Oct 18, 2019 / 10:10

US defense minister will visit Vietnam: Spokeswoman

The Hanoitimes - Hanoi affirmed the visit of US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper but gave no details about it.

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will visit Vietnam at a “suitable time”, a spokeswoman of the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday [October 17]. 
 
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Photo: AFP
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Photo: AFP

The visit will be made at the invitation of Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich, Spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said at a press conference. 

“The defense relations between Vietnam and the US are thriving within the comprehensive partnership,” Hang said in a statement. 

News on Mark Esper’s visit has been revealed during the visit to Vietnam early this month by Randall G. Schriver, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs.

 
Former US Defense Secretary James Mattis and Vietnamese counterpart Ngo Xuan Lich in Hanoi in 2018. Photo: AP
Former US Defense Secretary James Mattis and Vietnamese counterpart Ngo Xuan Lich in Hanoi in 2018. Photo: AP

The latest visit to Vietnam given by a US defense minister took place in October 2018 by James Mattis who came to the country twice last year. His visits to Vietnam were called “rare” and “unusual” by international media but easy to be explained in the context that the two countries strengthen ties amid growing tensions with China in the South China Sea.

“Secretary Mattis’ visit demonstrates continued U.S. support for a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam that contributes to international security. “It also shows our commitment to addressing war legacies, which serves as the bedrock of the U.S.-Vietnam bilateral defense partnership,” US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink said in a statement released by the US Embassy in Hanoi.