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May 11, 2022 / 16:17

Prime Minister takes week-long trip to US

The Vietnamese Prime Minister will deliver a speech at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in the lead up to the US-ASEAN Summit.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has arrived in the US on a week-long visit starting on May 11 until May 17 at the invitation of US President Joe Biden to attend the US-ASEAN summit, paying an official visit to Washington, D.C, and the United Nations headquarters in New York.

 Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh leaves Hanoi for the US trip on May 11-17. Photos: VGP

Chinh will join other leaders of ASEAN member states in the US-ASEAN Special Summit, which will take place on May 12-13, to commemorate 45 years of relations between the US and the 10-member bloc, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

This is Chinh’s first visit to the US since he took office in February 2021.

The US-ASEAN Special Summit is the bloc’s first foreign affair activity outside of the region since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020.

 Vietnam-US relations in the spotlight

 Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh delivers a speech at the Vietnam-US Business Summit held in Hanoi on Mar 

PM Chinh’s upcoming visit to the US is expected to be a “catalyst” to further the comprehensive partnership, in which economic relations become the most thriving pillar.

US Ambassador to Vietnam Marc Knapper said the Chinh-led delegation’s tight schedule represents the importance to both countries, with a focus on health, education, defense and security, trade, and development.

In addition, separate meetings with the US private sector will result in further cooperation in digital transformation, innovation, and green growth.

He stressed the importance of economic ties, saying it’s one of the key pillars in bilateral relations. In 2021, the two-way trade rose 26% on year to US$113 billion.

Meanwhile, billions of dollars are being poured into healthcare, energy, technology, infrastructure, and climate adaptation, not to mention the digital economy, Knapper said in a recent interview with the Vietnam News Agency.

He highlighted the role of the digital economy, saying it made up 5% of Vietnam’s GDP in 2020 and would increase to 30% in 2030 as the Government of Vietnam set target, affirming that the US will continue to share its experience in this field.

Mark Knapper gave reasons for the enhanced relations, taking the exchange of top leaders’ visits as an example. In 2021, US Vice President Kamala Harris came to Vietnam following the visits paid by President Donald Trump to the Southeast Asian country in 2017 and 2019. In 2017, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc visited Washington, D.C., one year after Barack Obama came to Vietnam.

“Our two countries have moved from a history of conflict and division to a Comprehensive Partnership that spans political, security, economic, and people-to-people ties, as well as efforts to address the legacies of war,” Knapper said.

He emphasized: “It is a partnership that is strengthening each day, and we sincerely hope to upgrade it to a Strategic Partnership. We believe that “strategic” more accurately describes the work we are already doing together. Our Indo-Pacific Strategy and Indo-Pacific Economic Framework make clear that this partnership and Vietnam are central to our engagement in this vital region.”

Meanwhile, Vietnamese Ambassador to the US Nguyen Quoc Dung said PM Chinh’s visit is of great importance as it covers both bilateral and multilateral relations.

His busy schedule includes activities promoting bilateral relations through meetings with top government and congress leaders, friends, scholars, US leading firms, and overseas Vietnamese.

Notably, Chinh will offer his remarks on the state and future of the US-Vietnam relationship in a moderated conversation at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). Chinh is the only ASEAN leader to deliver a speech at CSIS on this occasion.

The Vietnamese ambassador said the visit aims to implement Vietnam’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation, multilateralization, diversification, and international integration to make active and responsible contributions to ASEAN’s processes, including ASEAN-US relations.

He believes that PM Chinh and his American partners will have substantive exchanges, set cooperation orientations, and promote the relations and cooperation in handling regional and international issues.