General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong left Hanoi on Sunday for the U.S. for a five-day visit, aiming to further foster the two countries’ comprehensive partnership, the Party’s Central Commission for External Relations has said.
The visit, which is the first ever by a general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, is taking place two years after Vietnam and the U.S. established the partnership, and when the two countries are celebrating the 20th anniversary of normalized diplomatic ties, the commission said.
Starting July 6, the trip is of great significance, as it will review bilateral relations over the past 20 years and work out orientations for deepening the comprehensive partnership in the future.
General Secretary Trong is scheduled to meet U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House, attend a reception held by U.S Secretary of State John Kerry, and receive the U.S. commercial representative Michael Froman.
The Vietnamese Party chief will also meet UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Senator John McCain and a number of politicians from both the U.S. Upper and Lower Houses.
He will also speak at the Center for Strategic and International Studies about “The Vietnam-U.S. Relations in a Changing World,” and join a workshop with American entrepreneurs.
In addition, General Secretary Trong will attend a license awarding ceremony for the construction of a Fulbright University in Vietnam and receive a group of intellectuals from Harvard University.
Meanwhile, former U.S. President Bill Clinton is expected to welcome General Secretary Trong at his private home.
During his stay in the U.S., the Vietnamese Party leader will also meet with representatives of the Vietnamese communities in the U.S.
Dr. Hoang Anh Tuan, general director of the Hanoi-based Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies, said, “U.S. Presidents have yet to receive any leader of a political party of any country, especially a communist nation
“Therefore, General Secretary Trong’s visit has proven that the Vietnam-U.S. relationship has developed very fast over the past 20 years.”
Dr. Tuan added that the U.S. side really appreciates the Party chief’s visit. “This means the U.S. treasures its relations with Vietnam as well as the country’s role in Southeast Sea and the world.”
That former President Clinton intends to welcome Secretary General Trong at his home is also a sign reflecting the deep relationship between the two countries, as Americans usually believes that personal contact can play an important role in promoting bilateral ties.
Washington wishes to expand cooperation with Hanoi as the two sides have gained important achievements in bilateral ties over the past 20 years, and there is great potential for further collaboration in the future, ex-U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Pete Peterson commented.
“Both sides need to adapt to the differences between their political systems. I think Trong’s visit is scheduled at the right moment and I expect the general secretary’s visit will be successful,” Peterson said.
Professor Carl Thayer, a Vietnam expert at The University of New South Wales, has also remarked that General Secretary Trong’s visit to the U.S. will lay a foundation for boosting bilateral relations between the two countries.
Both Vietnam and the U.S. will see a change in their leadership next year, so through this visit, General Secretary Trong and President Obama will transfer their heritage of cooperation to their successors, Prof. Thayer said.