Pompeo to make stop in Vietnam during Asia tour - Vietnam
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Vietnam on Thursday and Friday as part of a tour of Asia, the Vietnamese government said. The visit was announced in a short statement on the government's news website and will mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the government said.Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 28-10-2020 16:14 IST | Created: 28-10-2020 15:58 IST
The visit was announced in a short statement on the government's news website and will mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the government said. The U.S. State Department has not confirmed that Pompeo will be adding Vietnam to his four-leg tour. Pompeo arrived in the Maldives on Wednesday after visits to Sri Lanka and India and is due to hold meetings in Indonesia on Thursday.
A spokesman for Pompeo declined to comment about the announcement of a Vietnam leg. Deadly foes during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and early 1970s, Vietnam and the United States have enjoyed significantly warmer relations in recent years.
But there have some trade tensions of late, with the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) confirming in August that at President Donald Trump's behest, it was investigating whether Vietnam had been undervaluing its dong currency and harming U.S. commerce. Vietnam's prime minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, this week called on Trump to have "a more objective assessment of the reality in Vietnam" with regards to the trade imbalance between the two countries.
Phuc said the exchange rate policy was not aimed at helping its exports. Both countries are also wary of an increasingly assertive China.
Pompeo said in Sri Lanka on Wednesday the Chinese Communist Party was operating as a "predator". The previous day in India, he said the Chinese ruling party was "no friend to democracy, the rule of law, transparency, nor to freedom of navigation, the foundation of a free and open, prosperous Indo-Pacific".
The United States has also been active in pushing for better resource data-sharing and disaster management projects for countries downstream of China that depend on the Mekong River for agriculture and fisheries, which include Vietnam. Environmentalists say the river has become a new front for U.S.-China rivalry.
On another front, in the South China Sea, Pompeo last month urged Southeast Asian countries to stand up to bullying by China and to reassess business deals with its state firms.