Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said on Friday (10 March) that is ready to visit the US to meet President Donald Trump in hopes of strengthen bilateral ties further. He also expressed his eagerness to work with the new administration, particularly towards trade.
"Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc affirmed he is ready to visit US to promote Vietnam-US tie," the government wrote on its official Facebook page. He also hoped that Washington would continue to be the leading trade partner for Hanoi, according to Reuters.
The two leaders held a telephonic conversation in December soon after Trump's historic win in the US presidential elections. Speaking to Phuc for the first time, Trump had expressed his desire to boost ties between the two countries.
Trump and Phuc had then discussed ways to promote economic relations, trade and investment, even though Trump's trade proposals were reported to be running counter to Hanoi's interests.
Vietnam was one of the top prospective recipients of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal, which the Potus has cancelled. It is said to have caused a major setback for Hanoi, which is the biggest exporter to the US from Asia Pacific.
Vietnam is reportedly preparing for the post-TPP era by looking for new markets in China, Russia and the EU.
In 2016, Washington lifted a full lethal arms embargo on Vietnam that paved the way for closer defence deals and joint military exercises. Vietnam too responded by promising to support the US in maintaining its security presence in Asia.
Both the countries have been against China's growing assertiveness in the region, especially over its territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
The last time a Vietnam leader embarked on an official state visit was in 2008, although former prime minister Tan Dung visited the US in February 2016 to attend a summit between the US and members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean).