Trump's letter to Vietnam President seeks closer ties

HANOI • United States President Donald Trump has written to Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang to promote more cooperation between the two countries, the Vietnamese government's official website cited Mr Quang as saying.

Vietnam and the US had advanced ties to a new level under the Obama administration amid a dispute with China over South China Sea issues, while Mr Trump has also expressed his hope for a stronger relationship.

Mr Trump sent a letter to Mr Quang "affirming his wishes to promote cooperation on economics, trade, regional and international issues", the Vietnamese government website said. Mr Quang made the remarks during a meeting with the US ambassador to Vietnam last Friday.

Mr Quang emphasised that Vietnam welcomes US efforts to improve cooperation with countries in the region to maintain the freedom of navigation and aviation.

US Ambassador Ted Osius was reported as saying that Mr Trump is considering attending the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam this year.

Vietnam had been expected to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal which Mr Trump pulled the US out of in January, but Hanoi has also been building links with the US amid a maritime dispute with China.

China claims most of the South China Sea, while Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei claim parts of the sea that commands strategic sea lanes and has rich fishing grounds, along with oil and gas deposits.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said last month that he was ready to visit the US to promote ties, particularly trade.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 02, 2017, with the headline 'Trump's letter to Vietnam President seeks closer ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe