Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc will visit the US soon and has expressed hopes to work with the newly elected US President Donal Trump, especially with regard to trade. His visit to the US therefore holds significance. Despite the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement being cancelled by Trump, Vietnam has been building relations with the US amidst a marine dispute with China. Phuc has also expressed his wish for the US to continue being Vietnam’s chief trade ally.
Former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung had visited the US in February 2016 to attend a US-ASEAN Summit, but the last official US visit was in the year 2008.
Shortly after his election last year, Trump reportedly told Phuc, over a phone call, that he wanted to further strengthen fast-warming ties between the two countries.
Vietnam strengthened ties with the US to a new level under former US President Barack Obama, and was keen on the US maintaining its security presence in Asia in the face of territorial claims by neighbouring China. China claims most of the South China Sea, whereas Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei claim parts of the sea that commands strategic shipping lanes and has rich fishing grounds along with oil and gas deposits. Washington lifted a US lethal arms embargo on Vietnam last May, allowing closer defence links and joint military exercises.