Residents of Vietnam's capital Hanoi expressed their excitement and expectation for US President Barrack Obama's first visit to the country. Obama will arrive in Hanoi on Monday, 23 May, to meet with Vietnam's newly elected president, Trần Đại Quang, its new prime minister, Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, and Communist Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng. He will also deliver several speeches to the Vietnamese people.
Most Vietnamese think the visit will bring positive change to Vietnam's economy.
Nguyễn Van Loc, 29, was working through his weekend to keep the streets clean ahead of the president's visit.
"I hope President Obama 's visit will help Vietnam to progress more because as I know he comes from a very well developed country", said Loc.
Local trishaw driver Vu Van Manh also welcomed the visit. "Obama's visit to Vietnam is a closure of the past. What important is his presence. The two countries can bond more to develop both's economies," he said while sitting on his 3-wheeled vehicle waiting for customers in Hanoi.
Shops owners hung posters of Obama on their doors to welcome the third visit of a sitting US president to the South East Asian nation.
Kieu Tri Huy takes passport photos for a living at a small shop in a crowded street. He said Obama's portrait would attract more customers.
"I am very happy. If I could meet him once it would be my dream fulfilled", Huy said
Ending a 30-year arms embargo is something Vietnam has long sought, amid increasing tension with China about control over the South China Sea.
"I want the US to lift the arms embargo to Vietnam that would help us to strengthen our security," said Ngo Minh Kien, 28, who owns a tailored suit store in Hanoi's old quarter.
The White House said on Thursday (May 19) that the final decision would be linked in part to Vietnam's human rights situation.
"I want to meet with President Obama to urge him to push the Vietnamese government to implement the agreements that they have signed that would develop our democracy and human rights in Vietnam," said singer Mai Khoi, an independent candidate who sought a seat in the parliament, but was recently eliminated by the ruling party's strict vetting procedure.
Obama will also visit Ho Chi Minh City as part of his trip.
Obama's visit will come hours after Vietnam would complete a tightly controlled election for representatives of the parliament, an assembly of 500 seats in which only four are currently held by independents not nominated by the Communist Party.