U.S. President Trump wrote a letter to Vietnam’s President Quang, which was delivered by U.S. Ambassador Ted Osius at a meeting on March 31st.
The letter affirmed Trump’s wishes to promote cooperation on economics, trade, regional and international issues. Osius also informed Quang that Trump is considering participating in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit scheduled to take place in Da Nang in November.
Ambassador Osius said Quang expressed Vietnam’s desire to work more closely with the United States and its neighbors to maintain freedom of navigation and aviation in the region. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam stated last month he was ready to visit the United States to promote ties, particularly on trade matters.
Vietnam counts the United States as its top export market, with a trade surplus last year on exports worth $38.1 billion and imports of $8.7 billion. Vietnam was expected to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the TPP trade deal which the U.S. exited out of in January. Since then, Hanoi has been working on building ties with the United States to maintain the mutually beneficial economic relationship built in the past years.
The budding renewal of US-Vietnam relations comes as Vietnam and China are in a regional maritime dispute, with China claiming most of the South China Sea, while Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei claim parts of the sea that command strategic sea lanes with rich fishing grounds and oil and gas deposits.